Nasrallah's Next Move: Not In Terms Of Avenging Himself Against Israel But Rather In Terms Of Saving Face
22 January 2015
By Tariq Alhomayed
A few days ago, Hassan Nasrallah vowed that the axis of resistance—Iran,
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and Hezbollah—will not stand idly by in the
face of Israeli strikes against Assad's regime. What is Nasrallah's position
now after the painful and humiliating Israeli airstrikes targeting leaders
from his very own group in Syria?
Nasrallah has found himself in an increasingly difficult position. It is not
just the question of Tel Aviv embarrassing Nasrallah in front of Arab public
opinion, particularly when the extent of the crimes that Hezbollah has
committed in Syria in defense of the Assad regime is something that all Arabs
are well aware of. Rather, Nasrallah is facing a predicament within Hezbollah
and among his followers. This is certainly the greatest humiliation that
Israel has dealt Nasrallah in recent history. Tel Aviv's targeting of senior
Hezbollah and Iranian commanders in the Golan Heights, including Imad
Mughniyah's son, can only be viewed as a provocation. The timing of this
operation, just days after Nasrallah threatened to retaliate against any
Israeli attack, is particularly striking. The intelligence that Israel used
to carry out the attack, which targeted a number of senior figures, proves
that Tel Aviv has infiltrated Hezbollah more than anyone could have imagined
and comes despite the group's earlier announcement that it had uncovered an
Israeli agent operating within its ranks.
So what will Nasrallah do now, not in terms of avenging himself against
Israel but rather in terms of saving face in front his group and followers?
Will he swallow this bitter Israeli strike which resulted in the death of the
son of Imad Mughniyah, who himself was killed at the hands of Israel? Can he
possibly pretend to not have issued those defiant threats just days ago?
Will he simply sit back and accept his defeat in front of Hezbollah and his
followers, or will he launch a new war against Israel, knowing deep down that
no one is now willing to come and rescue him? At this point we should
remember that despite all the propaganda speeches in which he accused Arab
countries of treason, Nasrallah came out in 2006—during Hezbollah's war with
Israel—to beg those who ''love Lebanon'' to stop the war, which, once it came
to an end, he dubbed a ''divine victory.''
What will Nasrallah do now, given his limited options and the fact that Iran
is keener to negotiate with the US than place these nuclear negotiations in
jeopardy by helping him?
Nasrallah said that any Israeli airstrikes on Syria represented a strike
against the entire ''axis of resistance.'' He stressed that any strikes would
not go ''unanswered,'' claiming to speak not just for Hezbollah but the
entire so-called ''axis of resistance.'' So, now that the airstrikes have
fallen, we must await Nasrallah's next move . . .
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.