Well then Hassan, you said in your fiery speech last Saturday that those who criticised the Shia Bahraini opposition, and their protests in Manama's Pearl Square, were applying double standards with regard to their views of the Arab revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. According to you, there is no difference between the Gaddafi family and the al-Khalifa family. Let us now return to this comparison in order to examine the situation in Syria, which has become the latest country to tremble because of the Arab domino effect, as demonstrations sparked and the Syrian security forces killed a number of citizens in violent clashes. Why didn't we hear any support from Hassan Nasrallah, a man who shows such contempt for double standards, for the first indications of a popular revolution in Syria? The Syrian demonstrations had the same elements to inspire the Arab masses in the manner of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, and were completely void of the sectarian elements. Furthermore, what is the noble Hassan Nasrallah's view of the despotism and tyranny of the Iranian government, not only against the oppressed Sunni minority, who are deprived of the most basic religious and political rights, but also against the reformists, the majority of whom were disciples of the Khomeini revolution who have now dispensed of their robes?
The eternal problem for Hezbollah in Lebanon, and its supporters in some Gulf States, is that they want immunity for their actions, statements, positions and manoeuvres. They do not want to be questioned about what they are doing. In Lebanon, the argument of the never-ending conflict with the Zionist enemy made it incumbent upon the Arab masses to support Hezbollah in its battles against Israel. However, when Hezbollah aimed its guns inwards towards Lebanon itself, and towards Sunni districts in West Beirut in particular, and when its fighters devastated those areas, it was then incumbent for strong criticism to be directed towards the party, even from those who openly supported its war with Israel. Hezbollah then raised the sectarian card against such critics.
The same thing is happening today in Bahrain, particularly with the Bahraini Shia opposition. Several calm and rational voices have emerged and tried to make the Shia opposition in Bahrain understand that their revolution – by virtue of the facts and numbers – is completely different to the Arab revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, and even Libya and Yemen, because the revolutions and demonstrations in those countries were not tinged with sectarianism, and this is agreed upon by neutral observers. Yet although these voices were simply trying to spare the region the ordeals of sectarian conflict, they have been accused of sectarianism by some, for example by Hassan Nasrallah in his latest speech. However the facts on the ground confirm that the Bahraini Shia opposition are primarily responsible for inciting sectarian tensions in the region, through their close communication with Iran. They initially proposed somewhat unrealistic demands, and then moved the goalposts altogether by changing their slogan from “the people want reform”, which was a rational claim, to “the people want the regime to fall”. This is in reference to a regime that, despite its flaws, has granted the Shia in Bahrain what the Sunnis in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya combined have not achieved. The opposition in Bahrain occupy around half the seats in parliament, hold senior government positions, and practice their religious rites freely. Yet we must either support their demands to bring down the government, or be ready to face the accusation of sectarianism.
Therefore Hassan Nasrallah was not wise when he said there was no difference between the Gaddafi family and the al-Khalifa family, as there is a massive difference between the two. Now he must answer us regarding the difference between the families of Gaddafi, al-Assad, and Ahmadinejad.
*Published in the London-based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on March 21, 2011.