Will Nasrallah Invite Assad To Beirut?
The Hezbollah Leader Has Ignited A Sectarian Fire
03 June 2013
By Tariq Alhomayed
If you think the title of this piece is ironic, you
are mistaken. Following a speech by the leader of
Hezbollah on Saturday evening, Hassan Nasrallah is now
protecting Bashar Al-Assad—not the other way around.
Nasrallah's speech was a complete coup against the
Lebanese state and the political balance in the region
that has been in place since the founding of
Nasrallah proclaimed in his latest speech, which was
addressed to all the Lebanese, that he "is" Lebanon.
He also announced that Lebanon is a Shi'ite
protectorate, and divided the region into two camps in
precisely the same manner that Bin Laden did.
Nasrallah considered himself to be leader of a velayat-e
faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist) axis, confronting a
takfirist axis allied to the US and Israel—meaning the
Sunnis in Syria and Lebanon and regional Sunni states,
particularly Saudi Arabia.
Interestingly, in an attempt to distance himself and
his party from suspicions of sectarianism, Nasrallah
noted that Hezbollah had acted in defense of the
Sunnis by participating in "jihad" in Bosnia. He seems
to be forgetting that those he now describes as "takfirists,"
"grave-robbers" and "heart-stabbers" also took part in
the Bosnia jihad.
Nasrallah has divided the Middle East into two axes;
he has announced that the toppling of the Assad regime
would be to stab the "resistance" in the back. In
doing so, he has nullified the historic political
balance in Hezbollah's relationship with Syria.
In the days of Hafez Al-Assad, Nasrallah would be
invited to Damascus—even disciplined, if necessary, as
if he were any other politician. Today, the situation
is different. Hezbollah—not Iran—is now the official
protector of Assad and it is publicly promoting itself
According to Nasrallah's speech, Assad is under his
protection. He lauded this position, claiming that he
is able, with just two words, to mobilize a larger
number of Hezbollah fighters without needing to call
for jihad in Syria. All this, of course, could ignite
a sectarian war throughout the region, whether Assad
stays or goes.
Nasrallah's speech was a suicidal one. He has lost his
popularity among those who were deluded by him, and
the party has now become shrouded in sectarianism and
is completely without legitimacy. Therefore, the part
of the speech directed at his followers was emotional
and laced with a tone of supplication, unlike the
condescending tone he used when talking about Lebanon
and Syria, and even Assad. This could be seen when
Nasrallah said that "the man is offering you reforms":
he did not say "president," but rather "the man."
As such, it is not surprising that Nasrallah may
invite Assad to the southern suburbs of Beirut in
order to tell him what actions must and must not be
taken. This is similar to what Assad senior did with
some Lebanese politicians, including Hassan Nasrallah
himself. The Hezbollah leader has ignited a sectarian
fire in the region that he will, by no means, survive.
Tariq Alhomayed is the
Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the youngest
person to be appointed that position. He holds a BA
degree in Media studies from King Abdul Aziz
University in Jeddah, and has also completed his
Introductory courses towards a Master's degree from
George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is
based in London.