Friday, March 28, 2008

Hezbollah exchanges "favors" with Syria and Iran

Hassan Haidar-Al Hayat

As both regimes arm and finance it, Hezbollah executes their strategy and harmonizes its positions with their current tactics. When one of its senior commanders, with strong ties to Tehran, is assassinated in the heart of Damascus, Hezbollah raises its voice with threats of an open war, and later suddenly switches to appeasement and reassurance when Damascus wishes to keep the Lebanese issue quiet as the date of the Arab Summit, which it is hosting, draws near.

When Damascus considers Lebanon's crisis and presidential vacuum just another bullet-point on the summit's agenda - while it is in practice the dominant issue, which prompted the two most prominent Arab countries to lower their level of representation and prodded Lebanon, a founding member of the Arab League, to boycott the summit in an unprecedented move - its Lebanese ally shifts to a language of "reconciliation" on the internal front and rushes to announce its passionate desire for political settlement, firmly certifying what Syria likes to hear, namely that Israel will soon cease to exist. The evidence supporting this claim consists of statistics and studies which were used by Hezbollah's Secretary-General in his latest speech, two days ago.

But what is the purpose of certifying the "capability to overthrow the Zionist regime"? A clear indication comes from the recent attempts by Syrian, Algerian and Yemeni delegations, during the summit's preliminary meetings, to ratify a motion to withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative, which was sanctioned during the Beirut Summit of 2002, considering that it could not remain "on offer" indefinitely.

Will the initiative be subjected to further attacks during the summit itself? In clearer words, will the coup be completed? That coup which began with Hariri's assassination and the disruption of Lebanon's equilibrium, followed by the July 2006 war and subsequent occupation of Downtown Beirut, and persisted as Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and Iran repeats the same theory of the coming end of Israel every time it seeks to confront Arab political discourse in its own home.

The Lebanese have discovered, in Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's latest speech, that they have unknowingly given him "custody" of the mission of "working to overthrow the Zionist regime." Indeed, he stated in his speech that the majority of them had responded positively to a question to that effect, according to a study by an unknown research institution, whose "conclusive" results clearly show that the Lebanese of all sects have "unanimously" agreed on the validity of such an option and the necessity of pursuing it.

And when Nasrallah considered that this was not a Lebanese mission, what he meant was that he wouldn't do it by himself, but rather in the context of a wider alliance, extending from Tehran to Damascus and Beirut, reaching into Gaza.

Hezbollah has therefore replaced the consent of the actual majority, which came out on February 14th and demanded it to cease its regional outbidding and adhere to Lebanese sovereignty, with that of a paper majority, and accepted "custody" on its behalf without even allowing for a margin of error.

Nasrallah did not fail to support the inclination revealed by his other ally, Nabih Berri, who intends to invite all Lebanese parties to another round of the National Roundtable Dialogue.

What a coincidence that his invitation would come at such a time, when the Lebanese, and the rest of the world, fear the outbreak of a new war, one that would be caused by the promises to avenge the assassination of Imad Mughniyyeh. The panic that such a prospect has caused among the Lebanese inhabitants of the South and the Beqaa has spread rumors of an anticipatory wave of migration. As if it was to remind the Lebanese that when the July war erupted, that very Roundtable Dialogue was in session, and that the next probable war may similarly require internal appeasement and a cover of dialogue. (Dar al-Hayat)


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