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Drums of sectarianism.

Summary: Someone had better remind Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah that the people of Lebanon and the Middle East do not suffer from amnesia.

Someone had better remind Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah that the people of Lebanon and the Middle East do not suffer from amnesia.

Inflammatory verbal broadsides from the lips of the Hezbollah secretary-general are nothing new, but his latest diatribe against Saudi Arabia seemed aimed more toward local politics.

Since the beginning of the Saudi-led coalition's intervention in Yemen on behalf of President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi's government, the scale and intensity of Nasrallah's attacks have risen and risen.

With Tehran wary of appearing too hostile to Western-allied Riyadh as it tiptoes through fraught nuclear deal negotiations, Nasrallah has been tasked with defending Iran's policies and strategies.

However, the Houthi rebels that he backs so strongly stand on the brink of catastrophe, despite early promises of victory there.

To drown out questioning by Hezbollah's own supporters, the chief has ramped up his anti-Saudi campaign with unprecedented attacks -- most heinously over hajj.

All should mourn the hajj tragedy, yet Nasrallah's rhetoric has politicized the catastrophe, as he and Iran look to land blows on Saudi Arabia at any cost.

Similarly he accuses Riyadh of meddling in the affairs of countries such as Pakistan and Venezuela -- yet no one's memory is so short as to forget that it is Hezbollah who specializes in such schemes.

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's description of this latest diatribe as "funny, sad and ridiculous" is a telling comment on the latest remarks' content.

But in a region as volatile as the Middle East, and with Lebanon's political balance so delicate, his rhetoric could enflame sectarian divisions in Lebanon and the region.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Oct 8, 2015
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