How will Lebanon treat the man who fired on Israel?

A man named Hussein Atwi stands accused of launching a rocket from Lebanon towards northern Israel

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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A man named Hussein Atwi stands accused of launching a rocket from Lebanon towards northern Israel. In Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated al-Jamaa al-Islamiya said Atwi, who is currently under arrest and is being interrogated, is one of its members.

According to the Lebanese government, if he is proven guilty, he will have violated state’s laws and subjected the country to danger and thus deserves to be punished.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea objected to this. His objection, however, does not aim to defend Atwi. It aims to protest the contradiction in the Lebanese government’s policy.

Hezbollah has been, and still is, Iran’s most prominent agent

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Geagea told Future News television: “I support detaining Hussein Atwi who launched a missile from the South [Lebanon towards Israel.] However, what if during the interrogation, he says: ‘I fired one rocket against Israel and got arrested, but why didn’t you arrest he who fired thousands of rockets against Israel. Are they Lebanese and I am not?’ And what if he asks: ‘I fired one rocket against Israel and got arrested. Why don’t you arrest Lebanese groups fighting in Syria and firing thousands of rockets against the Syrian people upon Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah’s acknowledgment?’ What would they say to him?”

This is the new situation in brief; the borders with Syria are open while those with Israel are closed. Hezbollah did not launch rockets towards Israel and send drones in order to protect Lebanon, or the “Syrian” Shebaa territories. Also, it certainly did not do so out of its desire to liberate Palestine. Hezbollah acted as such in order to implement Iran’s policy and it thus worked within the scope of Iran’s agenda in the Arab region.

Committed to Iran

Since Hezbollah is committed to the orders of its Iranian sponsor, it has sent thousands of Lebanese youths to fight in Syria. Hezbollah’s militias support Assad’s forces by attacking border areas on the Lebanese side. As a result, most Lebanese borders fall under the control of Syrian armed groups that oppose Assad - groups that threaten Lebanon with guerrilla wars. It will not be possible to halt or limit the fighting because, unlike what used to happen when clashes erupted with Israel, there is no phone number you can call to reach an agreement with these groups, some of which are affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Hezbollah opened up Lebanon to danger over the course of 30 years. It caused Lebanon’s destruction by triggering wars with Israel - wars that served the Syrian and Iranian regimes. For ten years, Hezbollah took Lebanon hostage for a Syrian border land occupied since the 1960s - the Shebaa Farms. But nowadays, Hezbollah no longer brings up this Israel-controlled countryside area in its statements and rhetoric.

The urgent Lebanese ordeal is more dangerous than all the crises the country has faced since the civil war ended, because it drags the Syrian war into Lebanon. This is in addition to Assad’s act of pushing one million Syrians to flee to Lebanon in order to export the crisis to neighboring countries. Armed Syrian extremist groups besiege Lebanese borders while the militias of the extremist Hezbollah party fight in Syria. One cannot come up with a convincing answer to respond to Atwi if he objects to the double standards where one man is arrested because he fired one rocket while no one obstructs the path of the thousands of men involved in the fighting in Syria.

The crisis of the war on Gaza renews questions about empty slogans. Hezbollah has been, and still is, Iran’s most prominent agent. Its main task was to confront Israel and keep the Palestinian cause alive, regardless of the consequences and under any justifications. But then, developments occurred and friends turned into enemies. Those who used to cheer for Hezbollah and pray for it, turned against it and now consider it an enemy that is no less evil than Israel. How can a man make a U-turn on his stances and justify his contradictions? Those who design slogans and formulate speeches usually know that people’s memories are very short. Syria’s events are the worst in terms of crimes, violations, the number of victims, its continuity and the sheer scale of the tragedy. Despite that, there are still people who forget all about it and, instead of sympathizing with this reality, sympathize with another, completely contradictory reality.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on July 17, 2014.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the 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.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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