The leader of Hezbollah took to the airwaves Tuesday to voice accusations against Saudi Arabia, claiming that militants linked to Saudi intelligence were responsible for last month’s deadly bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon.
However, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah failed to address several other key points. One question is why Hezbollah initially accused Israel of being behind the car bombing, just as investigations were being launched. Another is why Nasrallah chose to make such an accusation without presenting evidence. In past instances, Hezbollah has been careful to claim it possessed evidence that would exonerate it from a given accusation and prove another party was at fault, such as in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Nasrallah and his party have also been criticized their March 14 rivals for making baseless accusations about responsibility for the civil strife that has periodically plagued the Lebanese city of Tripoli. Rather than practice what he preaches, Nasrallah has relied on a failed tactic of contradictory accusations – Israel, followed by takfiri militants, followed by Arab government involvement – in the case of the Iranian Embassy.
In fact, the Saudi kingdom has been the victim of such terror acts and not their instigator, but delving into the real world of tangible evidence is apparently not one of Nasrallah’s concerns these days. Instead, he added a new round of unsubstantiated accusations to the earlier ones, merely cutting and pasting in a new culprit.
Nasrallah also neglected to note Saudi Arabia’s long history of supporting Lebanon, which goes back to the 1950s. The kingdom rushed to the aid of devastated areas of south Lebanon after the flare-ups of violence between Israel and Hezbollah in 1993, 1996 and 2006, in case Nasrallah has forgotten.
Moreover, tens of thousands of Lebanese make their living in the Gulf, and it wouldn’t be strange, after the latest outrageous behavior by Nasrallah, to see the kingdom react, perhaps followed by other Gulf states.
Perhaps the struggle in Iran between hard-liners and moderates when it comes to the nuclear issue explains Nasrallah’s accusations, which work against all of the goodwill that Iranian government officials have been seeking to build up with their neighbors across the Gulf. If Hezbollah is voicing accusations against Saudi Arabia as a result of Iranian domestic factors, it’s further proof that the party considers Lebanon second.
Nasrallah’s latest diatribe works to undercut Hezbollah’s huge efforts to deflect criticism from its actions. It has been involved in bombings and explosions in several other countries, and its members stand accused of carrying out the Hariri assassination. Responding with knee-jerk accusations will only work against Hezbollah in the event that it can produce tangible and damning evidence when it finds itself the victim of a terror act.