by Tahir Mustafa (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 45, No. 2, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1437)
The Arab League is not a serious organization; it has never been. Yet at its meeting last month declaring Hizbullah a ‘terrorist’ organization must rank as the lowest point it has fallen to in its miserable existence.
Nobody takes the Arab League seriously; not even the odd assortment of Arabian potentates, dictators, and colonial-imposed Bedouins who have been installed as kings and amirs in the heart of the Muslim world. Throughout its tortuous existence, the Arab League has achieved nothing of substance apart from being a talk shop marked more by bickering among its members than by constructive engagement or the joint desire to solve any of the myriad problems facing the oppressed masses in the region.
The Cairo-based Arab League currently has 21 members; its 22nd member, Syria, was expelled because of the Saudi-instigated war on the country and President Bashar al-Asad’s refusal to surrender. The Palestinian Authority (PA) led by a bunch of opportunists is also a member. Thus writing about an irrelevant entity may appear a waste of time and column space but among its many outrageous acts, the League’s decision to declare the Lebanese resistance group, Hizbullah, a “terrorist organization” on March 11 must mark a new low in its history.
Only two member-states — Lebanon and Iraq — expressed reservations about the resolution. When Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Ja‘fari refused to denounce Hizbullah as a terrorist group, the Saudi delegation led by Foreign Minister ‘Adel al-Jubeir walked out. The Arab League’s decision followed similar moves by the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Council of Arab Interior Ministers meetings, both held on March 2. The Saudis were the principal instigators behind both decisions.
The Arab Interior Ministers’ pantomime in Tunis was presided over by Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef. There was much back slapping among participants and awards given to various individuals — interior ministers that is — for the “great work” they have done for the “Arab nation” [sic].
The Council of Arab Interior Ministers “condemned and deplored” in its final declaration “the practices of hazardous work carried out by terrorist group Hizbullah to destabilize security and social peace in some Arab countries.” It was pompously titled the “Tunisia Declaration to Fight Terrorism.” What Arab countries were being destabilized and how, was not spelled out. But several parties and civil society organizations were so appalled by the declaration that they denounced in separate statements both the council’s decision and Tunisia’s endorsement of it.
The meeting was called at the behest of Saudi Arabia essentially to declare Hizbullah a “terrorist organization” but fissures immediately became apparent. Four countries including host Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, and Iraq did not support the declaration. In fact, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry had to issue a clarification on March 4 that read, “The Declaration issued by the Council of Arab Interior Ministers has not classified Lebanese party ‘Hezbollah’ as terrorist organization and is not a binding decision.”
It went on to say that Tunisia’s position as host country of the Arab institution “stems from its attachment to Arab joint action and is in harmony with the joint position adopted by the council.” The ministry statement further said, “Tunisia’s endorsement of this joint move does not hide the important role of Hizbullah in the liberation of Lebanese occupied territories.” At the same time, it called upon Hizbullah to “avoid all that is likely to threaten stability in countries of the region and their internal security” but also added that Tunisia remained attached to the constants of its foreign policy based on non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs.
Fissures among Arabian rulers are common. Their fickleness can be gleaned from the fact that one moment, they are rubbing noses and the next they are grabbing each other’s throat issuing expletives. There are some constants in their policies, for instance total subservience to imperialism and Zionism and extreme antagonism toward committed Muslims.
The Bedouins from the Najdi desert (aka Bani Saud) lack refinement and manners. They have been chafing under repeated failures in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. It is in Syria that Bani Saud have suffered their greatest defeat. Their plot to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Asad using takfiri terrorists has been frustrated by Islamic Iran and Hizbullah and more recently with help from the Russian Air Force. Unable to accept defeat and explain their total failures, Bani Saud are thrashing about like wounded beasts. Their move against Hizbullah is not a policy; it is reflective of the Najdi Bedouins’ frustration. Zionist Israel is greatly pleased to have the Arabian potentates declare a resistance movement that is also a key political force in Lebanon as a terrorist group. Hizbullah is the only Arab force to have successfully challenged and defeated Zionist Israel.
Even the European Union (EU) has not gone this far; it has only declared the armed wing of Hizbullah as a terrorist group. Such designation flies in the face of international law and the UN Charter, both crafted by the Europeans and the US. A resistance group struggling to liberate its land from foreign occupiers cannot be declared a terrorist organization but unfortunately, the very framers of laws are the ones who violate them most flagrantly.
In a series of moves, the Najdi Bedouins launched their campaign against Hizbullah by targeting Lebanon as a country. On February 19, Saudi Defence Minister Muhammad bin Salman announced that the Kingdom would not provide the $4 billion in grants for weapons purchases for the Lebanese army from France. Why punish the Lebanese army for the alleged infractions of Hizbullah, if at all?
On March 1, Hizbullah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah drew attention to this when he called on Saudi Arabia not to collectively punish Lebanon’s people just because the Riyadh regime disagreed with his group’s policies. He said the Saudis do not have “the right to sanction the Lebanese people because one particular party took a certain position.”
The Najdi Bedouins have been relentless in targeting Hizbullah. Their angst springs from the fact that Islamic Iran has not only made enormous progress despite the illegal sanctions to which it was subjected for 35 years, but that both the US and the Europeans have been forced to recognize it as the preeminent regional power. Tehran has successfully neutralized Saudi mischief, especially in Syria, causing the Najdi Bedouins enormous grief. They would rather see Zionist Israel on top than a Muslim country, especially one that brought about a successful Islamic revolution while exposing the Saudis’ fraudulent claim to being leaders of the Muslim world.
Both the Arab League and the GCC stand exposed as enemies of Islam and the Islamic resistance through their own conduct. Members of Saudi-led groups have an inglorious record of confronting Zionist Israel. By targeting Hizbullah, and by extension Lebanon itself where many Saudi agents are also in the government, the Saudis and their Arabian allies have shot themselves in the foot.
Such moves not only expose them to awakening Muslims but also hasten their inevitable demise.