We know how the crisis began but it is difficult to predict how it will end.
This crisis was revealed at first by the Egyptian authorities. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah later gave his explanation for the Hezbollah cell that appeared to be operating on Egyptian territory, the details of which are unfolding day by day.
Official bodies have not refrained from spreading their own explanations, criticisms, attacks and threats; but the most prominent attack that has been launched came from the Egyptian media. Its verbal attack on Hezbollah and its Secretary General was unprecedented as part of a campaign by state television programs, newspapers, anchors and websites, all replete with disdain and accusations that crossed the media line.
The action carried out by Hezbollah and what Nasrallah himself admitted are extremely dangerous issues, which will have a bad impact on Lebanon and the Lebanese before Egypt. Apart from violating the sovereignty of another state, which in actual fact was the case in spite of what is said about supporting the Palestinians and providing them with weapons, Hezbollah is dragging itself and Lebanon more importantly, into a regional conflict that Lebanon could not handle. Hezbollah is dragging the Lebanese people into an exclusive “conflict” by forcing Lebanon into a military confrontation with Israel. Hezbollah, which is standing in the upcoming parliamentary elections, will embroil Lebanon in a great dilemma if it wins and will take over the reins of government by officially placing Lebanon at the forefront of a regional confrontation – the consequences of which will undoubtedly be catastrophic.
The step taken by Hezbollah is a dangerous one by all means. Yet the attack launched by Egypt’s state media is not helping to contain and confront the danger of Hezbollah’s action. On the contrary, cursing, blatant sectarianism and the attacks against minorities by officials and commentators as a way of dealing with such an ultra-sensitive and dangerous issue are as much at fault as Hezbollah’s action itself.
The failure to think about the consequences of certain actions, such as Hezbollah’s venture in July 2006 and its recent one in Egypt, must not be confronted by the “buffoonery” to which some Egyptian reporters have resorted. Moreover, the different forms of media are involving themselves in issues that are not related to the nature of the media, especially considering the fact that Egypt is in possession of a weapon that prevents it from sinking to an even lower level, which, unfortunately, it is likely to do. The violation of Egypt’s sovereignty, territory and interests is enough for Egypt to gain the support of others; it does not need to evoke illusions about the Shiafication of Egypt or to use street language describing others as “monkeys”, which only adds to the tension. The issue is more dangerous than where it has already reached. There is a need to redirect the rivalry as it will lead to unnecessary slip-ups.
*Published in the London-based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on April 17.