Assala Nasri banned from travel in the banana republic

Syria has become incapable to the point that it’s begun to detain artists and pursue media figures

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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Because the Syrian regime is angry with Syrian singer and celebrity Assala Nasri, Lebanese authorities revoked her passport and prevented her from travelling. Such actions, taken on behalf of the Assad regime and for the aim of serving Iran, are not uncommon in Lebanon. An Iranian-Ahwazi opposition figure was previously kidnapped in Lebanon, leaving no trace behind. Syrian opposition figures have also disappeared in Lebanon while others have been handed over to Syrian authorities. These are not the only victims of the foreign exploitation of Lebanon’s weaknesses; residents of Lebanese towns along the borders with Syria have also suffered due to the Syrian army’s violations and attacks. When the Syrian regime’s capabilities were restricted, it tasked the Lebanese party Hezbollah with attacking these towns on its behalf, just as it is doing in Arsal and with restraining Syrian refugees who are being killed in cold blood in Beirut’s streets.

“Lebanese authorities” and “Lebanese army” are empty expressions which can mean anything from a combination of various religious sects or simply a facade for some groups that run their own affairs or serve foreign agendas, especially the Iranian and Syrian agendas. Involving the Lebanese army in skirmishes orchestrated by Hezbollah and the Syrian regime in Arsal and turning it into a scapegoat proves that there are attempts to turn Lebanon into a slaughterhouse for brutal forces who don’t respect international pledges and conventions.

Syria has become incapable to the point that it’s begun to detain artists and pursue media figures using affiliated Lebanese institutions

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The world has run out of patience with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, which all exploited chaos in Syria. However, these are not the only groups which kidnapped and slaughtered people and committed crimes against civilians. Historically speaking, Hezbollah established the school of violence in the region. Its horrifying record against Arabs and foreigners dates back to the 1980s. An example is Hezbollah’s abduction and murder of Central Intelligence Agency officer William Francis Buckley in 1984 while he was en route to the American embassy in Beirut. This was followed by dozens of other crimes, such as the kidnapping of Father Lawrence Jenco, Priest Terry Waite, British citizen Geoffrey Nash, Irish priest Nicholas Kaulitzer and British businessman Alec Collett. Hezbollah also targeted France with explosions and kidnapped French diplomat Marcel Carton and his bodyguard in Beirut, demanding a ransom. It also demanded a halt to the armament of Iraq and demanded that dealing with the People’s Mojahedin Of Iran be prohibited. Isn’t this exactly what ISIS is doing and exactly why the world has decided to pursue it?

Hezbollah’s violations have not stopped; it continues to kidnap opposition figures, kill intellectual politicians and intimidate media institutions. The difference between the Sunni ISIS and the Shiite ISIS - that is Hezbollah – is that the first widely diffuses videos of its crimes.

Syria also wants Lebanon to remain a banana republic with no sovereignty. Syria wishes that Lebanon remain hostage to its militias and hopes that the presidential vacuum continues so army and security institutions will act upon Syrian interests.

As we have seen, Syria has become incapable to the point that it’s begun to detain artists and pursue media figures using affiliated Lebanese institutions.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on September 25, 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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