Nasrallah’s dubious achievement

Sunday 29/05/2016
Embracing Palestinian cause has run its course for Hezbollah

Hezbollah Secretary- General Hassan Nasrallah has given the strongest hint yet that his party considers Saudi Arabia — not Israel — the enemy.

Nasrallah said: “Yes, my comrades and I fought Israel but my proudest achievement is the speech I made the day following the Saudi invasion of Yemen.”

Since its creation in 1982, Hezbollah has been engaged in a heated debate with its critics about the party’s purpose: Is it a local movement that receives innocent Iranian support aimed at liberating Lebanese territories from Israel or is it a tool fashioned by Iran to serve its own agenda?

Nasrallah’s declaration all but seals the debate in favour of his critics.

Nasrallah now tells us that the sacrifices of thousands of Leba­nese who paid with their lives to drive Israel out of their country as well as to free a single Lebanese prisoner in 2006 are out­weighed by a speech that he made to assail Saudi Arabia for its “invasion” of Yemen.

Why? “Because the people of Yemen are oppressed,” he declared in a stern voice.

What about the Palestinians? For decades, the propaganda appara­tus of Hezbollah has bombarded us with the need to liberate the Palestinians from their Zionist op­pressors. Worse yet, the party has used the tragedy to condemn Arab leaders for failing to come to the aid of the Palestinian people.

Exploiting the Palestinian cause was vital for Iran and its organ Hezbollah. It allows Tehran to win the hearts and minds of the Arab masses, Shias in particular. It also permits it to capture the moral high ground of Arab politics while concealing its real policy motives.

More important is that embrac­ing the Palestinian tragedy allows it to set the criteria for determining who is a patriot and who is a traitor of the Arab cause. This goes a long way towards explaining Iran’s and Hezbollah’s frequent condemna­tions of Arab leaders for failing to do enough to help the Palestinians, while Tehran comes out smelling like a rose.

The fact is that Saudi Arabia, not Israel, is considered by Tehran to be the enemy. This was the case since the current regime took over in Iran and remains so today. The repeated disturbances during the haj by Iranian pilgrims and bomb­ing campaigns in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, which began soon after the new regime gained control in Tehran, are a testimony to Iran’s true intentions.Embrac­ing the Palestinian cause has run its course for Hezbollah, hence the change of emphasis on the enemy from Israel to the Saudi kingdom.

Following the agreement with the United States over the nuclear issue, and in view of Washington’s reduced interest in the Middle East, the ruling mullahs in Tehran saw an opening to undermine Sau­di Arabia by meddling in the affairs of Yemen. However, the Saudi response took them by surprise.

Most surprised it seems was Nas­rallah. This prompted him on the following day to make the speech to condemn the Saudi “invasion” and to later describe the speech as his proudest achievement, thus revealing his real enemy.