In September 2019, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas political bureau, visited Lebanon where he publicly met the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah.
At the time, the Lebanese expressed their dismay at Haniyeh’s threats to use Lebanon as a platform for launching missiles capable of targeting Tel Aviv and areas beyond it, which means two things: First, using the Palestinian refugee camps as a tool to destabilize and fragment Lebanon, which is already undergoing extreme hardship. Second, placing Lebanon right on the regional and international fault line, by affirming its de facto role as an Iranian card, whether for confronting Israel or the US.
Nasrallah recently gave a pathetic interview on his al-Mayadeen channel. Unsurprisingly, the interview was full of contradictions and lies, most notably his emphasis on the importance of the Russian intervention in saving the Assad regime in Syria, despite the “victories” of the axis of resistance before that intervention.
The crux of the interview, however, came when the interviewer asked Nasrallah about the contents of his meeting with Haniyeh, to which he enthusiastically replied, with a gleam in his eye: “We spoke about every issue.”
This was further explained by former Lebanese deputy Nasser Qandil, who is known for his links to Hezbollah and the Syrian president, on the television show Diplomacy, which aired on December 29 on OTV, a Lebanese opposition TV network. Qandil “heralded” the return of armed Palestinian action, which would not spare GCC states due to their involvement in and adoption of the peace project.
Therefore, we are faced with a highly volatile situation that extends beyond sabotaging the stability and future of Lebanon to include the following:
1- The isolation and weakening of the Lebanese state and cutting off all its extensions in the Arab world, starting with pro-Hamas factions in the Palestinian refugee camps.
2- The opposition will consider Lebanon as a de facto Iranian base, which poses an exceptional challenge to the prospective government.
3- If the terrorist pair Hezbollah/Hamas will play the refugee camp card to destroy Lebanon. It is through those camps as well, whether in Lebanon, Syria, or Gaza, in addition to sleeper cells or “lone wolf” operations by Gulf nationals or residents, we may witness, God forbid, a new terrorist wave taking up the legacy of Al Qaeda and then ISIS.
4- The aim of the new old terrorism targeting the region is to weaken the status of the Gulf governments, and to portray them as weak before their citizens at home and their allies abroad.
5- The new old terrorism aims to enhance the image of Iran and the political Islam factions in the eyes of the new American administration. It claims that these forces are the ones who carry the true voice of the people, and that they alone are capable of negotiating with the West, bringing about peace and subsequently protecting and maintaining it. Therefore, Arab countries in general, particularly those in the GCC, are nothing but a thorn in the side of this movement. Unfortunately, this proposition is attractive to the American left in particular, as we witnessed during the “Arab Spring.”
6- Iran will convey a strong political message to the West, that “These Sunnis are hopeless terrorists, and your salvation is with us in the Wilayat al-Faqih and the Alliance of Minorities.” This further compounds the guilt of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
As usual, the new old terrorism will not show its face, as the discovery of the close relations between al-Qaeda and Iran, for example, came late. Here we must recall the Black September Organization, a Palestinian militant organization secretly created by Yasser Arafat to take revenge on countries that supported Jordan in the clash between Jordan and Palestine in September 1970. The events and the creation of the militant group are detailed in the documentary “The Story of a Revolution,” including the assassination of Wasfi al-Tal and the attack on the Saudi embassy in Khartoum. What a strange coincidence that Haniyeh’s visit to Nasrallah occurred in September.
The confrontation of GCC security services with the evils of terrorism and its cheap ploys is an ongoing process. These security services have proven their vigilance and competence in handling any situation. The citizens of GCC countries have made their choices clear, standing with the state against militias, and embracing peace and moderation against terrorism. And justice will be served against those who wrong others.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, Saudi newspaper Okaz.