Zuhair Al-Harthi

Lebanon and the Gulf: Nasrallah and the Minister’s Statements

Perhaps the worst thing anyone in the upper echelons of government can do is fail to distinguish between their personal opinions and convictions and between those of their country, creating a great deal of confusion. Why are some Lebanese so keen on ruining their country's relationship with its Arab brothers?

The resigned Lebanese foreign minister's statements undoubtedly and blatantly demonstrate his way of bullying and slander of the Arabs. These statements are also an attempt to demean the people of the Gulf, and they expose a chauvinistic view of the origins, legacy and history of Arabism. They were preceded by an advisor to the president of the republic attacking Saudi Arabia, which indicates that the Kingdom is being singled out by an effort to harm Lebanon's ties to it.

An old clip is circulating on Twitter of Hassan Nasrallah attacking Saudi Arabia after Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen was launched. Among the statements he makes is a claim that "real jihad is not against Israel, but Saudi Arabia, and if you asked me about the most honorable thing I have done in my life, the best and greatest thing, I would answer: Refer to the speech I gave on the second day of the Saudi war on Yemen... I feel that this is genuine jihad, that this is greater than the July war (Lebanon's 2006 war with Israel)."

Hassan Nasrallah is accustomed to infuriating those who disagree with him and his extremist speeches and provocative rhetoric, but this is not the place for ridicule or slander. Rather, the goal is to analyze and explain, and this requires neutrality and objectivity. Their speeches are founded on cynicism, vulgarity, mockery and aggression, which have been their bread and butter for some time. The important thing is that wary Arab listeners are no longer fooled by such nonsense and obsolete allegations. Nasrallah's militia killed Syrian Arabs, supported the Houthi coup against the legitimate authorities in Yemen and exploited the Palestinian cause profusely.

And when tragedy befell our Palestinian brothers, there was total silence.

The Lebanese foreign minister made an unforgivable mistake, and some tried to call it a slip and a lapse in judgment. This is inaccurate; the man's position demands that he be diplomatic, rational and sensible; nonetheless, he went on a tirade, directing unfounded accusations at Saudi Arabia, which has supported Lebanon politically and financially since its independence, and the evidence is documented and known. The ministers’ words were not godsent but prepared for him, and he took the opportunity to spread his toxic rhetoric, affirming his insistence on targeting Saudi Arabia in whichever way he can in order to please his masters. The resigned minister's rhetoric is evidence of his subordination to foreign dictates and the defense of Iran's interests at the expense of Lebanon's Arabism. It also shows his indifference to his country's ties with others, as he behaves as though he is unaware of the tens of thousands of Lebanese working in the Gulf.

We don't need a crystal ball to tell us that there is a politicized systematic campaign against Saudi Arabia. Other Gulf states are also being targeted, and this was apparent in several instances and stances. Unfortunately, a segment of the Arabs in the Levant are full of envy and hate; of course, they do not represent the majority, whom we have a deep appreciation and respect for, seeing them as our dear brothers.

The Gulf position was important and noticeable, and the message was clearly received. The Gulf is a single block, and it does not compromise on its security and dignity. The minister is affiliated with an indoctrinated faction that puts its factional and partisan interests ahead of those of their homeland. Unfortunately, the list figures to whom this characterization applies to is brimming with names from our Arab world.

Saudi Arabia is a regional force to be reckoned with, and it has an ample supply of tools, capacities, influence and interests in many countries across the globe. It used all of this strength to further the interests of Arab states, including Lebanon, which benefited greatly from Riyadh's decades-long support for it. Saying “Taif Accord” suffices (Taif is a city in Saudi Arabia where all the political forces came together under Saudi auspices and the National Accord that ended the civil war was issued).

Insulting Saudi Arabia and distorting its image are their aims, as shown by their attempts to pour fuel on the fire. After confronting and curtailing the Iranian project in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, and thwarting the aspirations of the Brotherhood's project, it is not surprising to see this overblown hostility, cheap media campaigns and anti-Saudi discourse. Successive campaigns, in the traditional media and on social media, have been funded by these parties as they strive to undermine the reform and development project, hiring cheap writers with negative views of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is being targeted because it has been and remains a political and ideological barrier to Iran, a bulwark to the realization of its aspirations and the expansion of its influence. This has led the latter to resort to every possible means to tighten the chokehold on the country, as it is aware that its expansionist project will not succeed so long as Saudi Arabia plays its moderate and balanced role. Thus, it found no alternative to playing the sectarian card.

The difference between the two countries is in the nature of their political interventions, with one positive and the other negative. Saudi Arabia always stands with legitimacy and national self-determination, as its priority is this or that country's stability, with its own interests secondary. Meanwhile, Iran's interference is firstly and lastly intended to fortify its influence, further its interests and build its expansionist project by supporting its followers, solidifying their position and achieving its agenda, regardless of the national interests of this or that state.

Hassan Nasrallah knows what the Kingdom has given his country better than anyone else, and yet he denies this and attacks the Kingdom, with all the factions in Lebanon criticizing him. The Kingdom has always been by Lebanon's side, materially and sentimentally; it supported all the Lebanese by building Lebanon and achieving a political settlement to the country’s war without favoring one group over another. The Kingdom also strived to prevent the country from heading to civil war despite the arbitrary campaign it has been subjected to and the slander of some. It met these insults with patience, maintaining neutrality because what it wants is to see a safe, independent and sovereign Lebanon.

Hassan Nasrallah knows that Saudi Arabia is the Islamic world's reference and that it is a roadblock to Iran's aspirations. The means are attacking and distorting Saudi Arabia's role by fabricating damaging stories in the hopes that it will hit a chord with the mob. These methods are wrong and an unacceptable means that speak to a moral, intellectual and cultural bankruptcy. They are shameful acts that expose a deep-rooted, unjustified grudge. Nasrallah has forgotten or is pretending not to know that forces of reason in our Islamic world are extremely familiar with the Kingdom's stances, initiatives and the positive role it has played since its establishment.

We are facing explicit propaganda composed of fabrication, rumor and cheap exploitation. It aims to apply pressure on and blackmail the Kingdom, always coinciding with an intersection of interests amongst individuals, factions and groups. It cannot remain anonymous with its stances against Saudi Arabia. For Iran and its subordinates in the region, the Muslim Brotherhood and associated media, and the global left are all making every effort to achieve their goal. Distorting matters, leaking inaccurate information, hurling insults, looking down and mocking the country, as well as downplaying the achievements that are discussed by the media from time to time - the goal of all these actions is to disrupt the status quo in the Kingdom, downplay the major transformation it has undergone, weaken it or distract it with other marginal issues or conjuring up crises. However, time always exposes those who are hostile to the Kingdom.