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Riyadh Season and Nasrallah!

Riyadh Season and Nasrallah!

Sunday, 22 January, 2023 - 08:30
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Hassan Nasrallah came out with a televised address in which he tried to incite his followers and Lebanese people against Saudi Arabia by saying Riyadh could pay a sum of money to help Lebanon out of its crisis, the same way it spends on the Saudi national football league or bring in players like Cristiano Ronaldo to Al-Nassr.

Nasrallah’s statements are evidence that he has not realized the changes taking place around him, He believes that the region, specifically Saudi Arabia, is still affected by populist speech. Meanwhile, everyone, including the Lebanese people, sense the change and can see them with their own eyes along with other peoples of the region, along with the Iranians.

What Nasrallah and his like fail to realize is that yes, football is more important, because it means that there exists a complete economic, political, social and health system that is working for the interest of the citizen and the nation. It is a system of life, work, investment and wellbeing, not a system of backwardness followed by Nasrallah and Iran’s supporters.

Football, through the Iraq-hosted Gulf Cup, reminded us of and introduced young generations to Iraqis who long for their Gulf surroundings. The Iraqis are generous and hospitable people. Everyone who has seen videos pouring in from Basra cannot but show love for Iraq and the Iraqis.

What we have seen from the Iraqis, specifically from Basra, has touched the hearts and minds in spite of two decades of extremist rhetoric by militias and parties seeking to stoke sectarian strife, most notably the Iranian media machine, whose most important branch lies in Beirut’s southern suburb of Dahieh, where Nasrallah resides.

The truth is that Nasrallah’s statements remind the Lebanese people and others that we are following the right path. The enemy has realized this even before the friend. Saudi Arabia has managed to win hearts and minds through internal reforms.

Saudi Arabia has managed to grab the attention of the world through hard work, social and economic reforms and wise political leadership. All this success has culminated in the establishment of a complete system that is founded on developing the country and not being distracted by foreign factors and affairs.

Therefore, the Riyadh Season football match, which brought together the stars of the Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr clubs with Paris Saint Germain, shifted the attention of the world’s youth to Riyadh. This was achieved through football, not politics. This is a product of the leadership’s focus on developing the country.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah told Davos that by confronting economic challenges and investing in their countries by focusing on development, Saudi Arabia and others in the region, especially the Gulf Cooperation Council, are sending a strong signal to Iran and others in the region that there is a way to overcome traditional conflicts and move towards joint prosperity.

Based on this rational and very correct Saudi statement, I advise Nasrallah to first, continue to enjoy Riyadh Season and the Saudi league and second, you can help Lebanon without paying a single dollar or beg for a hundred million.

Everything Nasrallah – and Hezbollah by extension - has to do is allow the election of a president that falls in Lebanon's favor, not just the party or Iran, and facilitate the process of choosing a prime minister. Only then will you see how stability will bring money to Lebanon and restore the authority of the state.

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