The question that presents itself is the following: Is there an Egyptian campaign against Hezbollah, or is it merely a claim by Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah?
A verbal campaign has started since last summer to criticize Egypt on the pretext that it is participating with Israel in putting the Hamas Government and the people of Gaza under siege. The Egyptians at the time refrained from commenting, and restricted themselves to playing the role of the mediator who wanted to close the Palestinian rift, until the war broke out, and the issue escalated.
In the Gaza war, most of the blame was not directed at Israel, or at the countries affiliated to Hamas, which failed to do anything to support the movement, but the blame was directed in an extraordinary way at the Egyptians. The Egyptians were portrayed as traitors, hirelings, and ruthless. The great surprise was that the campaign was crowned with the address by Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, who appeared on the television screens calling for a military and popular toppling of the Egyptian regime.
This was something strange that never happened before in the world of Arab disputes. The issue escalated to more than incitement when a cell was arrested, and Sayyid Hassan admitted that its leader indeed was one of the cadres of Hezbollah, and that he was sent to Egypt on a military mission.
Therefore, it seems strange that anyone would think that there is a campaign against Hezbollah, while the movement is the one that leads a campaign against others in an organized program, and not merely as reactions through the media. The campaign looks as if it was aimed at getting Egypt out of the moderate camp in reply to the thesis saying that it is necessary to get Syria out of the Iranian extremism camp.
What is strange is that Hezbollah has become used to making mistakes all along the past three years. Since it was involved in the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers and the Israeli war, it followed this up with the occupation of the Sunni area in Western Beirut, and then by targeting Egypt, the biggest Arab country. Three completely wrong calculations.
Hezbollah's battle against Israel has cost it practically all it gathered in the past years. Today, Hezbollah's forces are banned from entering the Lebanese territories neighboring Israel, i.e. some 20 percent of the territories of its own country. A naval siege has been imposed on Hezbollah, coupled with international land monitoring, and Israeli air monitoring, and hence it was a great propaganda victory that was exaggerated by the media organs.
One year later, Hezbollah's militias attacked the Sunni areas in Beirut in the first explicit sectarian conflict. Practically on 9 May 2008, the history of the Sunnis, the majority of whom used to support Hezbollah in its confrontation with Israel, changed, and the Sunnis turned completely against Hezbollah to the extent that the Lebanese Sunnis refused to support Hamas in the Gaza war, because Hamas had become a name identified with Hezbollah.
Sayyid Hassan did not stop after these two mistakes. He attacked Egypt, the largest Sunni country in the Arab world. Why did a man, who is doing his utmost to get out of the narrow margins of the sect in search of Islamic leadership, do this? The reason is that Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah is living in an underground dungeon, and what reaches him is only the reports of his colleagues, who convinced him that he is the leader of the Muslim world, and the hero of steadfastness, and that one word from him would shake Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, or Indonesia.
We know that leadership is propaganda, but we did not know that the one who launches the propaganda would come to believe it. Therefore, when he appeared asking the Egyptians to demonstrate and to topple the regime, only some 200 people went to the streets in a city whose population are nine million people.
Now, perhaps Hezbollah will understand that the leadership of the Muslim world cannot be achieved merely through the use of microphones, the holding of celebrations, and getting photographed with Samir Qintar, the Generals, and Khalid Mishal.
* Published in the London based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on May 4. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed is the general manager of Al Arabiya television.