Saturday, 27 December 2014

SOME MOVEMENT FORWARD IN EGYPTIAN-LEBANESE HIZBULLAH STRATEGIC TALKS


"Egypt, Hezbollah conclude years of estrangement” 

As-Safir
December 19, 2014

With every passing day, the controversial issues between Egypt and Hezbollah are shrinking. The iceberg reached a pinnacle on January 28, 2011 when Sami Shehab escaped the Egyptian prisons. But all that happened afterwards served to thaw the ice. Today, there is no longer an iceberg but rather a lake with some pieces of ice in it… Now that the relationship between the party and Egypt has progressed, one can pinpoint five Egyptian priorities that represent common traits with Hezbollah:

- Preserving Lebanon’s security and supporting its army

- Confronting takfirism and terrorism in the two countries and the region

- Promoting moderation in the Sunni environment and confronting extremism…

- Stressing on the importance of the Palestinian cause…

- The need to preserve the unity of the Syrian state, its institutions and its army and stressing on the need for a political solution there and a confrontation of the takfiri organizations.

Although the improvement of the Egyptian-Hezbollah relationship cannot be separated from the improvement seen by the relationship with Iran, the party managed to sketch the lines of a stable relationship with the Egyptian party, which ultimately serves the Egyptian-Iranian relationship despite the inability of the Egyptians to break free from the Saudi considerations especially the economic considerations that protect the Egyptian economy…

The controversial issues and the mutual observations are not nothing. However, the interests of the two parties call for pushing these matters away. The Egyptian-Saudi relationship is stirring Iran’s as well as Hezbollah’s sensitivities. Although the party does understand the Egyptian financial crisis - knowing that Saudi Arabia was among the very first countries that acknowledge the new [Egyptian regime], which was then suffering from an international seclusion – the party is advising all the Egyptians that it is coming in contact with to decrease the intensity of this relationship, which some circles view as a relationship of dependence.

But for the Egyptians, this relationship does not exceed the borders of gratitude to Saudi Arabia for its pro-Egypt positions. In Cairo, some sides keep reiterating that the Egyptian strategic view of the Syrian war is not in line with the Saudi position. These sides cite the meeting of the Arab League in September 2013 where a number of countries pushed for carrying out strikes against Syria under the pretext of Syria’s use of chemical weapons. However, Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, was adamant in rejecting any strikes against any Arab State. This practically led to the Arab League’s merely stressing on the need for any action to be implemented in the context of international legitimacy thus referring this matter to the Security Council.

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