Tuesday April 16, 2019
A little more than a decade ago, I was asked to address a London dinner-table of about twenty Gulf “figures” – a mix of Ambassadors and those with “ties to power”. All represented the cosmopolitan, rich élite of the Gulf. Then, towards the evening’s end, talk turned to Hizbullah: the gathering simply erupted into flames. Well, almost literally – as these grandees choked on the smoke and tongues of fire pouring from their nostrils (to say they were unhappy is an understatement). In unison, they swore oaths that they would stop at absolutely nothing to destroy “the resistance”. They choked again at the very word “resistance”. They swore to destroy it, utterly, down to the last particle.
But how times do change. Of course, in the interval, there was a war backed by these gentlemen in 2006 that was supposed to finish off Hizbullah for good (but plainly didn’t). There was also a billions-of-dollar insurrection mounted against “rejectionist” President Assad in Syria that was supposed to break the keystone to the arch (but hasn’t); and an equally massive info-war to turn Iran into a global leper.
Yes, these well-polished gentlemen have had certain successes in squashing the so-called Arab Spring, and in fracturing and demonising Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet, after these, and after gulling the Americans and Europeans with their anti-Iranian propaganda so completely, the Gulf is fretting again. Why?