Hezbollah's Support Strengthens Syrian Resistance, Not Assad

Article Summary
Despite Hezbollah's attempts to weaken the Syrian opposition by claiming victory for the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Abdel Wahab Badrakhan argues that it has achieved the opposite. Hassan Nasrallah’'s unpopular stance of placing Iran’s and Assad’s interests above the suffering of the Syrian people is actually aiding his political rivals in Lebanon.

As usual, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah tried to weaken the resolve of the Syrian people, but succeeded in achieving the opposite. His speech last Friday was incredibly contradictory. He spoke on Land Day [March 30], which the Palestinians view as a day against injustice and as an opportunity to demonstrate for freedom. However, Nasrallah used the occasion to preach that the tens of thousands of Syrian dead and wounded, and the over 50,000 prisoners and missing, died or disappeared in vain. They cannot aspire to freedom or dignity because the Syrian regime, in Nasrallah's view, has “won.”

He told the Syrian people that "there is no second solution” because foreign interference is “over,” the idea of sending Arab troops has "failed" and “the international community has overcome the idea" of arming the opposition and overthrowing the regime due to the realities on the ground. He added that the minute Kofi Annan arrived in Syria, it was clear that the demands for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down had been dropped. Nasrallah has rushed to conclusions. His main concern is the regime’s maintenance of control rather than the end to the killing, and he envisions a "political solution" based on the degree of the regime’s control. Nasrallah is convinced that the regime will be able to impose this solution through its tight grip on security.

Nasrallah was pleased that his expectations and advice regarding the need to hold a national dialogue in Syria hit the mark. However, he knows better than anyone that what he claimed is over, is not actually so. He may have forgotten that a year and a half passed before he was even able to announce such conclusions. He is mixing his analyses with his wishes, which represent the interests of Iran and Hezbollah rather than with those of Syria and its people. It is unclear which political solution he is talking about. Nasrallah is a veteran politician and certainly knows that the conditions necessary to reach any solution have yet to be met. This is true unless he is basing his assessment of the Syrian situation upon his actions in Beirut on May 7, 2008, or on the "public-commissioned" solution his party supported to end the dispute over the electricity between his ally Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun and his Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

In contrast to the isolation that Hezbollah is facing due to its dependence on Iran and Syria and its position against the Syrian people, we find — in Beirut, no less — that the Lebanese Forces party, once the epitome of isolationism, is opening up to the Arab world. In its latest ceremony, the party welcomed personalities from Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria, the capitals of the "Arab Spring," all currently overwhelmed with the hardships and obstacles of the post-dictatorship eras. In earlier stages, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea’s name was associated with the displacement of Christians in Lebanon. Today, Geagea calls on oriental Christians to hold onto their land. He also makes a distinction between the Takfiri Islamists (Muslims who accuse others of apostasy), who are a limited phenomenon, and the majority of moderate Muslims. Geagea’s voice is reaching a larger audience, simply because he sided with the Spring of the Arab peoples and not the Autumn of Tyrants.

Found in: syrian crisis, syrian, samir geagea, lebanese forces, isolationism, hezbollah, hassan nasrallah, bashar al-assad

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