Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hezbollah to Syria: pull your head in

Juan Cole is reporting on Hezbollah's snub to Syria:

[...] Hizbullah declined to adopt the position of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad in accusing the reformist politicians of standing against Hizbullah and the resistance in Lebanon. (Bashar has a feud with the 14 March group, but Hizbullah joined it in a national unity government.) Husayn al-Hajj Hasan, a Hizbullah member of parliament said, "we reject the idea of considering the 14 March group to be agents of Israel and America."

In an emotional speech in Beirut Thursday morning, shown on LBC, Saad Hariri said that the 33-day long Israeli campaign against Lebanon had inflicted profound damage on the country. He went on to say that it was painful to find a sibling Arab leader adding insult to injury by instigating division and infighting among Lebanese. Hariri was referring to Tuesday's speech by Bashar al-Asad of Syria in which he accused Hariri and other members of his coalition of being agents of foreign powers and urged Hizbullah to stand up to them. Hariri said that Lebanon had seen nothing from Syria but hatred, hypocrisy and lies. He accused Syria of trading for its own advantage on the blood of Arab children at Qana, in Gaza and in Baghdad. He said he sympathized with the suffering masses of Syria who labored under a tyrannical regime that denied them the possibility of free elections. He reminded Damascus that steadfastness in the face of Israeli attacks was a famed Lebanese product, stemming from Lebanese national unity. (Asad had said that the 14 March group was a product of Israel.)

This is a good sign for Lebanon, and further evidence that Hezbollah is becoming a responsible, serious player in the region, not merely a tool of Syria and/or Iran, and is trying hard to avoid a disasterous return to the civil war. Looks like Syria is rapidly becoming irrelevent.

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