Nasrallah boasts and Tunisia almost bursts
Arabic media review

Nasrallah boasts and Tunisia almost bursts

Hezbollah secretary general faces domestic fire; Tunisia about to form a new government; and a leading columnist bashes Israel for 'Prisoner X'

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Supporter of the Islamist party Ennahda, hold Tunisian and party flags during a rally in Tunis, Tunisia on February 16, 2013. (photo credit: Amine Landouls/AP)
Supporter of the Islamist party Ennahda, hold Tunisian and party flags during a rally in Tunis, Tunisia on February 16, 2013. (photo credit: Amine Landouls/AP)

Threats from Hezbollah and political crisis in Tunisia feature high in Sunday’s newspapers across the Arab world.

“Nasrallah: We have everything we need to wage war with Israel,” reads the headline in London-based daily Al-Hayat. In a separate article, reporting on Nasrallah’s speech Saturday, the Shiite leader claims that Hezbollah has everything it needs to fight Israel inside Lebanon, and therefore has no need to transfer weapons from Syria or Iran.

“The largest threat facing Lebanon is Israel and the Zionist project,” Nasrallah told an audience in the southern suburb of Beirut, speaking on video from a huge screen. The event was the annual memorial for assassinated Hezbollah leaders Imad Moghnia and Abbas Mousawi.

“We will continue in our path, which will lead us to decisive victory,” Nasrallah added, threatening to target Israeli power plants if Lebanon is attacked.

Also on Saturday, the Lebanese opposition movement “March 14” marked the eighth anniversary of the killing of prime minister Rafiq Hariri, lashing out at Hezbollah for desecrating the memory of the slain premier.

“Hariri to Nasrallah: He who protects the suspects [in the killing of Hariri] has no right to talk about the martyr’s history,” reads the headline of opposition daily Al-Mustaqbal on Sunday, referring to Nasrallah’s refusal to hand over four Hezbollah suspects to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon tasked with investigating Hariri’s death.

“Hezbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah could not stand the honesty of [former] prime minister Saad Hariri [Rafiq’s son] more than 48 hours, and began speaking as the sole guide of the Lebanese Republic, boasting that he can dismiss governments and appoint prime ministers and tell them what is allowed and what is banned,” reads the daily’s front page editorial.

Meanwhile, the chief of staff of Syria’s opposition forces, Maj. Gen. Salim Idris, accused Hezbollah on Saturday of killing Syrian citizens in villages near Homs, not for from the border with Lebanon.

“From the start of the revolution, Hezbollah has been assisting this criminal regime with ammunition, men and expertise,” Idris told Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera. “We tell them with full responsibility: all the fighters that entered the country will exit it as dead bodies, God willing.”

Idris added that Hezbollah fighters caught in Syria will “not be treated as [war] prisoners but as mercenaries.”

Tunisia continues to ferment

Tens of thousands of Tunisians took to the streets on Saturday in support of the government and its Ennahda party, a story making major headlines on Sunday.

Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat claims that the demonstration was a message directed at Prime Minister Hamadi Jabali, who continues to insist on forming a nonpolitical government of technocrats.

Ennahda leader Rashed Ghanoushi told the daily that his party “will not forgo power as long as the people renews its faith in it.”

He added that handing over power to a technocrat government would amount to “a civil revolution.”

Al-Hayat reports that the new Tunisian government is expected to be declared on Monday, as a compromise between Jabali’s technocrat government and his party’s political one.

“Most political parties in Tunisia believe that the current government headed by Hamadi Jabali failed in its basic mission to solve the country’s problems, and particularly the economic ones,” reads the editorial in London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

“Tunisia stands at an extremely difficult crossroads. The struggle within the Ennahda party will restructure the political map and its alliances and may lead to chaos … Tunisia needs a strong government to lead it to safety, and it needs it quickly, because the alternative is terrifying.”

What does ‘Prisoner X’ tell us about Israel?

A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdul Rahmad Rashed dedicates an op-ed to Israel’s treatment of the “Prisoner X” affair.

“The Israelis definitely proved that they are an outdated military-security regime, clinging to outdated concepts,” writes Rashed.

“A new era is being managed by old minds, not only through media lies but in politics as well. Israeli leaders believe that occupying Palestinian lands is guaranteed and permanent, as long as there’s cement and rifles. But one day they will find themselves out of time and outside the land. The occupation may last a century, but it will remain an occupation eating all the country’s capabilities and products,” writes Rashed.  

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