Samir Qantar is no hero, and Hezbollah is no resistance

Syria’s tragedy exposed the real faces behind the masks worn by many in the Arab political arena. Samir Qantar, one of Hezbollah’s stars, was recently killed there. No one cared about him, although Hezbollah hailed him as a martyr and held a massive funeral for him.

Before that, Hezbollah had made him a hero because he was jailed by Israel. Those who celebrated their “martyr” were employees from among Hezbollah’s members who are assigned to issue statements on the deceased - statements that no one wants to reprint or publish anymore.

Hezbollah’s statement said Qantar was killed by the Israelis. This is unconvincing because the Israelis do not have a motive to kill someone who is fighting on their behalf and far away from their borders, in Rif Dimashq. Some reports said Qantar was mistakenly killed by Russian airstrikes, while others went as far as saying he was betrayed by Hezbollah.

The only reasonable claim is the Syrian opposition’s - that it buried Qantar under the rubble of a six-story building it shelled. No one really cares about who killed him because he died defending Iran, the Syrian regime and Hezbollah.

It is time to end this black comedy of resistance against Israel and defending occupied Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian territory. No one believes this narrative anymore.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Broken narrative

The indifference regarding his death may wake up Hezbollah and similar organizations to the fact that it is time to end this black comedy of resistance against Israel and defending occupied Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian territory. No one believes this narrative anymore. The image that Hezbollah drew for itself, and which most Arabs and Lebanese have believed, is now shattered, except maybe for those in southern Lebanon as they have paid a high price.

Syria’s tragedy and regime atrocities shocked millions of Arabs, who now wonder whether those they viewed as heroes were really heroes or agents for foreign plans. They wonder whether there is anything real about what they have been told for years. Was it all a myth? Does Qantar deserve heroism because he killed three members of an Israeli family, including a child, or is he a criminal because he participated in the murder of 300,000 Syrians?

Look back 10, 20, 30 years ago, and you realize they are all chapters of one book in which Syria is the end. “Resistance” is the title of a detective story. When looking at this history, we see that evidence was concealed and facts were forged. The term “confronting aggression” aimed to seize the Lebanese state. The term “resistance” was created to cancel real resistance - this front was formed as an alliance with Tehran to control the region.

We read news separately, but if we read it as one story we understand that he who has killed a third of a million Syrians is the same man who assassinated dozens of Lebanese figures 10 years ago. He killed them as part of his plan to eliminate rivals, from Rafiq Hariri to Gebran Tueni, George Hawi and others. Before that, his men attempted to assassinate the late emir of Kuwait, and to target Gulf and Arab tourism and airline companies.

We can understand the story when we reread it chronologically. In the 1980s, Iran and Syria decided to engage in the narrative of confronting Israeli aggression. This was an excuse to stay in Lebanon, carry arms and kidnap foreigners after they got rid of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which was competing with the Syrian and Iranian regimes.

Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 following an assassination attempt against the Israeli ambassador to the UK. Damascus and Tehran were the biggest beneficiaries, as they adopted the resistance project and used it to solidify the occupation of Lebanon, obstruct its institutions and threaten the world via organizations they run.

It is in the name of Palestine that Iran and Syria dominated Lebanon, and opened camps to train other Arab nationals to fight in Iraq, the Gulf, Yemen and Syria. This was the beginning of Iran’s regional plan.

Today, it is no longer possible to continue selling the story of resisting Israel. I do not know if Iran, Hezbollah and Damascus are aware how Syria, which has experienced the most hideous massacres in the region’s history, has launched a new history that will not be easy to overcome and forget. The story of resistance, which was never true, is now over. Their exploitation of the Palestinian tragedy is over.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Dec. 24, 2015.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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