- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2006

Saudis blame Hezbollah

Saudi Arabia is blaming Hezbollah and its supporters, Iran and Syria, for provoking the Israeli attacks on the militant group’s strongholds in Lebanon, according to a statement posted on the Saudi Embassy Web site.

The Saudis also warned that Hezbollah created a “gravely dangerous situation” that could spread throughout the region.

Although the statement does not specifically name Hezbollah or the governments in Damascus and Tehran, the message is a clear diplomatic denunciation of the group and its state sponsors.

Saudi Arabia “stood firmly with the resistance” in Lebanon while it was under Israeli occupation until Israel withdrew its forces six years ago, said the statement attributed only to an “official Saudi source.” However, the Saudis called Hezbollah’s latest attacks on Israel the “uncalculated adventures carried out by elements inside the state” of Lebanon.

“Viewing with deep concern the bloody, painful events currently taking place in Palestine and Lebanon, the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) would like to clearly announce that a difference should be drawn between legitimate resistance and uncalculated adventures carried out by elements inside the state (of Lebanon) and those behind them (Iran and Syria) without consultation with the legitimate authority in their state and without consultation or coordination with Arab countries, thus creating a gravely dangerous situation exposing all Arab countries and their achievement to destruction with those countries having no say,” the statement said.

“The Kingdom will continually seek security and stability in the region, exerting every possible effort to protect the Arab Nation from Israeli oppression and transgression.”

The Web site is www.saudiembassy.net.

Dismantle Hezbollah

The Free Muslims Against Terrorism yesterday called on Arab governments to support the complete dismantling of Hezbollah and blamed Israel for attacking Lebanese targets instead of limiting its assault to Hezbollah sites.

The Washington-based group urged the United States to “take an active role in limiting the fighting in Lebanon to Hezbollah infrastructure and for Arab governments to demand that Hezbollah be dismantled.”

“We recognize that Hezbollah’s loyalty is to Iran and not Lebanon,” the group said. “This is why Israel’s attack on Lebanon’s infrastructure, rather than just Hezbollah, is shortsighted, immoral and counterproductive. Israel’s fight is with Hezbollah and not Lebanon, nor the Lebanese government, which has no control over Hezbollah.”

Syria walkout

The ambassadors from Syria and Israel used to have a cordial relationship, but all that changed when Israel began attacking Syria’s terrorist ally, Hezbollah, in Lebanon.

Syrian Ambassador Imad Mustafa last week refused to appear in the same television studio with Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon on MSNBC’s “Hardball” program, according to a report on Ynetnews.com, a Web site of the Israeli media giant, the Yediot Group.

Mr. Ayalon told Yediot reporter Yitzhak Benhorin that he and Mr. Mustafa used to make joint appearances regularly.

“In the past, we used to sit next to each other in the makeup room and chat,” Mr. Ayalon said. “Mustafa is a professor, a member of the scientific academy in Damascus, an educated and well-mannered man. …

“We used to shake hands and talk. This time he is surrounded by people from the Syrian Embassy and runs away from me like from fire.”

The Ynetnews report said Mr. Mustafa and Mr. Ayalon were interviewed separately in different studios. During a commercial break, Mr. Ayalon agreed to appear in the same room with Mr. Mustafa.

“However, shortly afterwards, the show’s producers informed [Mr. Ayalon] that the Syrian ambassador, when he was asked to come into the common studio, responded, ‘No, no, no,’ and hurriedly walked out of the studio,” the report said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]


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