Amputation of Lebanon from Arab world gives victory to Iran
The ridiculous Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib’s dismissive response to the GCC’s proposals to deal with the latest crisis was: “If they just want Hezbollah’s head on a plate, we can’t give them that.” He also ridiculously accused Saudi Arabia of flooding the Gulf states with narcotics by Hezbollah. Such was BouHabib’s flurry of abuse that he may have to serve his own head on a plate if there is to be any hope of saving this broken relationship.
The logic of abandoning Hezbollah and Lebanon and drowning together, as advocated by some Arab opinion leaders, may seem appealing. However, that would be catastrophically counterproductive. Gaza was abandoned to Hamas; the economy collapsed and people starved to death, but Hamas strengthened its monopoly. The Gulf states disassociated themselves from Iraq after 2003, ceding it to Tehran. The Arab abandonment of Syria has made it a hellish playground for Iranian-Hezbollah-Russian interests. Lebanon would be the icing on the cake of Iranian domination over the Arab world. And once it’s donated, getting it back won’t be easy.
Hezbollah is Tehran’s Trojan horse to colonize the Arab world. We must dismantle it, not welcome it. The Houthis in Yemen prospered thanks to the training and support of Hezbollah. Hezbollah has waded through a river of Syrian Arab blood to keep Tehran’s puppet in power, with Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassim now threatening to return additional Hezbollah forces to Syria. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is the idol of thousands of bearded Hashd thugs in Iraq – and after their recent electoral annihilation, Tehran wants Hezbollah to play an even more direct role.
The international community is wrong to view Lebanon in isolation. Against the backdrop of escalating stakes in Iran’s nuclear scam game, Hezbollah is only one of the cards in Tehran’s efforts to dominate the region, reinforced by nuclear and ballistic weapons. If we are to abandon Lebanon, we might as well go all the way and recognize Ayatollah Khamenei as the supreme leader of the entire region.
Iran and Hezbollah only made inroads thanks to the eclipse of Arab nationalism – the belief that Arabs should stand together locally and on the world stage. From Jerusalem to Sanaa, Baghdad to Beirut, we should treat every inch of Arab territory as sacrosanct and worthy of a fight, especially when United Nations institutions, international law and multilateral forums are constantly under attack. Every piece of land we give up only makes our enemies hungry for more. With the powerful collective resources of the Arab world, the challenges posed by little Lebanon and Iran’s hostile encroachment should be well within our capabilities.
Letâs not tear our hearts out. The Arab world without Beirut – without the Lebanon of Khalil Gibran, Mikhail Naimy, Fairuz – is inconceivable. Generations of Khaleejis have flocked to Lebanon and fell in love with the country and its people, which is why so many people are lucky enough to have Lebanese mothers! The largely Kuwaiti-owned town of Bhamdoun near Beirut is a microcosm of this harmonious Lebanese-Khaleej relationship. Generations of Arabs have grown up thanks to Lebanese films and television, art, music, poetry and limitless creativity.
Lebanon’s cultural renaissance since the civil war has been achieved through extensive investments from the GCC. Its economy has thrived on millions of Arab visitors each year, with tens of billions of dollars invested in banking, telecommunications, media, infrastructure, culture and the military. Diaspora remittances are about $ 7 billion per year, of which $ 2.2 billion is for Saudi Arabia alone and Lebanese assets in Saudi Arabia are worth about $ 100 billion. Eighty percent of Lebanese fruit and vegetable exports went to Saudi Arabia until Nasrallah turned Lebanon into a narco state.
This is not gratitude, but rather a stubborn understanding of the foundations of Lebanon’s past and future prosperity. The transformation into an Iranian appendage was still doomed to failure. Besides lavishing funds on Hezbollah, would Tehran provide – or could it – any fraction of the Gulf’s investments in Lebanon? The net of Iranian tourists encouraged by Hezbollah have miniscule purchasing power compared to their Gulf predecessors.
Apart from the land of the Houthi, where George Kordahi is hailed as a hero (his family must be so proud!), The hapless Minister of Information of Lebanon is no one who has had a stroke of luck via a television channel. Saudi Arabian. The problem is infinitely larger than his fanatic views. Vicious anti-Gulf propaganda has been broadcast for decades by Al-Manar and dozens of other Iranian-sponsored Beirut media channels. The damage is done entirely to Lebanon, cutting off his nose to thwart his face in gratuitous self-harm against Lebanon’s Arab identity.
The political and intellectual leaders of the GCC I speak to are not so angry as they are puzzled and saddened. They have long-standing ties to Lebanon and instinctively want to help. But how can you help someone who is destroying himself and does not want to be rescued?
Lebanon’s criminal leaders are irrecoverable (not just Hezbollah – kullun!), But Lebanese citizens – Christians, Shiites, Druze, Sunnis – are Arabs to the bone. They know where their interests lie. They know what the severing of ties with the Arab world has cost them. They all have brothers, uncles, sons in the Gulf and in the Arab States, and thus maintain intimate material and emotional ties with the Arab world.
Lebanon is drowning but it is not lost. Particularly with an election a few months away and a vigorous wave of progressive anti-sectarian independents emerging from the 2019 movement, there is everything to do. Hashd’s electoral losses in Iraq show how public anger can translate into political losses for Iranian proxies. In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s political domination rests entirely on shattered Christian factions whose base of support has grown.
Lebanese citizens who have lost everything are desperate for a savior. Arab states can use elections to give Lebanon a lifeline. If citizens elect new, undiscredited leaders who can marginalize Hezbollah, the GCC will fully re-engage, while encouraging international donors such as the IMF to bail out the economy.
It is a vision around which any patriotic Lebanese citizen can rally, simultaneously giving him a reason to participate in the democratic process, offering him a way out of his hellish situation and sweeping aside these ridiculous and hated figures who have dominated Lebanese politics for decades as well. long.
The Lebanese Arab nation is now taken hostage, Hassan Nasrallah pointing a gun to his head. Will the Arab world rush to help Lebanon?
- Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and UK. She is the editor-in-chief of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed numerous heads of state.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors of this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News