What defines the Arab identity? Some claim it is language, culture, politics, religion and even history. Others agree upon the shared linguistic, genealogical, and cultural background. The modern Arab identity extends from West Asia to Northern Africa, including Lebanon, the birthplace of Hezbollah. Yet for some Arab states that use their media to spread propaganda, Arabism appears to have become a synonym for betrayal. If so, then Hezbollah is indeed not Arab.
Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya News Channel has broadcast a report contending that the resistance group’s loyalty is not toward the Arab nation and instead it is merely acting as a proxy for Iran. The description of the video read: “Leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah group, Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, is trying to transform the Arab nation of Lebanon into a Persian state, by committing massacres and blaming them on Arabs and Sunnis.”
This summary of the report has the prints of Riyadh’s anti-resistance policy all over it.
Ironically, the same Arab states that accuse Hezbollah of falling short of heeding Arabs and even went as far as labeling the resistance a terrorist group, are the countries that have repeatedly failed the Palestinian cause.
The Israeli regime, which is the arch-foe of Muslims, has been able to break what is supposed to be Arab unity by reaching out for these states that turned their backs on the allegiance of Arab identity in order to establish covert and overt ties with Tel Aviv.
While such states have turned a blind eye to images of massacred Palestinians and a deaf ear to their plights, Hezbollah has been fighting the battles of the Arabs for them. Despite its size and military prowess, Hezbollah has been confronting the Israeli occupation since its inception in the 80’s.
Another battlefield where the true face of Arabism is revealed is in Syria. Several countries that claim to be national Arabs are funding and supporting terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Nusra Front, in addition to several other armed factions who are fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Since 2011, Syria has only witnessed destruction, deterioration and bloodshed as a result of these countries’ plots to weaken the resistance axis. On the other hand, Hezbollah fighters have been sacrificing their lives to defend Syrian civilians, the majority of whom are Sunnis, against terrorist attacks. This act of protection that overlooks the difference in sect and ethnicity is an indicator of the loyalty of Hezbollah toward Arabs and Muslims alike.
Likewise in Iraq, where American-led invasion and more recently the ISIS expansion bid have been backed by countries in the Persian-Gulf dealing with enemies against fellow Arabs. In Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition is massacring Yemenis, bombing the root of the Arab civilization and its culture, and destroying the cradle of Arab history.
So, coming from so-called Arab countries that betray their Arab brothers, collaborate with their enemies, and plant terrorist groups to fight them, claims that Hezbollah is trading its loyalty toward Arabs, are tainted with the color of hypocrisy. If stabbing the Palestinian cause in the back, working with the Israeli regime against Arab countries, bombarding neighboring Arabs for hegemonic reasons, and funding extremism to assert regional power is equivalent to Arabism in the dictionary of these states, then it is true that Hezbollah is not Arab.
However, the resistance group does uphold the values of Arab nationalism and in this regard and within the true context of the Arab identity, Hezbollah is as patriotic as it can be even if it shares a religious ideology with Iran. Ultimately, it is the end result that matters and that is doing what’s best for the nation which includes allying with a side that believes in similar principles but does not take advantage of the connection.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly identified the resistance group as Arab as well as Islamic.
Not once has Tehran intervened in Hezbollah’s policy in Lebanon, nor has it ever ordered it to simply follow its command, and this has been confirmed by Sayyed Nasrallah.
Addressing a rally in solidarity with the Yemeni people in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Sayyed Nasrallah dismissed Saudi claims that their aim behind the aggression on Yemen was to defend “Arabism” and confront “Iranian hegemony” in the region.
“I said in my previous speech that the real goal of this war is to regain Saudi-U.S. tutelage over Yemen after the Yemeni people have recovered their sovereignty,” the leader had stated.
The Arab world is not singly united by adjoining borders, and neither by language alone, or history by itself but rather the loyalty each member shows to the others. As for killing and spreading terrorism, they are new terms added to the definition of the Arab identity by the states that practice them.