Last Updated: Sun Feb 19, 2012 09:57 am (KSA) 06:57 am (GMT)

Hassan Nasrallah, the Shabiha

Tariq Alhomayed

Hassan Nasrallah, who is akin to a member of the Syrian pro-regime Shabiha militia, during a speech on Thursday, asked “could any Arab king, emir or sheikh put forward the same reforms that have been put forward by al-Assad and the Syrian leadership?” The simple answer to this question is: no, for no Arab king, emir or sheikh would kill seven thousand of their own citizens simply to cling to power!

Since Hassan Nasrallah, the Shabiha, is not familiar with Arab history, as he is too wrapped up in Persian – and Khomeinist – history, let us take this opportunity to inform him that King Farouk of Egypt abdicated the throne without bloodshed, whilst in Saudi Arabian history, Imam Abdullah Bin Saud surrendered to the Ottoman forces of Ibrahim Pasha in 1817, after Diriyah – then capital of the country – was besieged. By doing so, he protected innocent lives, although the Turks took him into custody and later executed him in Istanbul. This is not the only such case in Saudi Arabian history, for Imam Faisal Bin Turki also did this, surrendering to the forces of Hursid Ahmed Pasha after Dalam was besieged; therefore Imam Faisal took the decision to surrender to spare the blood of his people, and he, along with his sons and his brother, was placed under house arrest.

As for today, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz was amongst the first to raise his voice about reform in late 1998, long before the so-called Arab Spring. King Abdullah spoke about the role of women and minorities, and he launched national dialogue; most importantly, he rallied his people around him when elsewhere in the Arab world, people being ruled by military dictatorships were revolting. Therefore what Hassan Nasrallah, the Shabiha, is not aware of is that the kings, emirs, and sheikhs of the Arab world are not imitating the “republic” of al-Assad, for indeed it is the tyranny of al-Assad the son which has transformed Syria into a false republic ruled by military dictatorship.

When Hassan Nasrallah, the Shabiha, defends what he describes as al-Assad’s reform, by which he means the drama being played out over a new constitution, he is intending to mislead public opinion. The new al-Assad endorsed constitution says that any Syrian president is allowed to have two terms in office, whilst each single presidential term is seven years; this means that al-Assad wants to rule Syria for 25 years, for he has not said that he would not stand at any forthcoming elections. Indeed, all the Syrian president is interested in is “resetting the clock”, according to the expression coined by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Hence, when Hassan Nasrallah, the Shabiha, speaks, he is not just misrepresenting the facts, he is completely perverting the truth, and putting forward Shabiha rhetoric par excellence that is akin to the speeches made by Syrian Envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari in New York, or Syrian ambassador to the Arab League Youssef al-Ahmed in Cairo. The morals and customs of monarchy are being completely misrepresented by Nasrallah, the Shabiha, for we have seen King Abdullah II of Jordan say that if he were in al-Assad’s position, he would step down; whilst the King of Morocco has invited his opponents to be partners in ruling the country. As for the King of Bahrain – a country Nasrallah claims is “oppressed” – he brought renowned and respected statesman Mahmoud Cherif Bassioun to head an independent Commission of Inquiry [into the events that took place in Bahrain from February 2011], whilst al-Assad met with [Arab League Observer mission head] General Mohammed al-Dabi, who put forward a shameful report regarding the situation in Syria, equating the killers with the victims!

Therefore, this is the ethics of kings, emirs, and sheikhs; they do not kill their own people, like al-Assad, nor do they live in caves, like Hassan Nasrallah the Shabiha.

The writer is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq al-Awsat. The article was published in the London-based newspaper on Feb. 18, 2012

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