exorcising the ghost of arab solidarity, alas

Hezbollah blasts Egyptian provider for dropping al-Manar TV
Reuters, Apr 7 2016

Hezbollah and its allies on Thursday strongly condemned the decision by Egyptian satellite company NileSat for stopping its broadcast of the al-Manar TV channel. Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah said NilesSat’s decision was “reckless” and called on Egypt to reverse it, al-Manar reported. In a statement posted on Hezbollah’s affiliated al-Ahed website, Fadlallah proclaimed:

It is in Egypt’s national interest to maintain unity (ie non-confessional pan-Arab unity, of the sort that once existed so long long ago – RB) in the face of Zionist and takfiri plots. If Lebanon had protected its media outlets, no satellite companies would have dared to block the broadcast of any TV channel. This is a flagrant violation to the freedom of opinion and expression, and an attempt to mute the voice of the resistance and right that is embodied in this channel, which carries a clear logo: The Channel of Resistance and Liberation… The Channel of Arabs and Muslims. We call the Egyptian authorities to move towards cancelling these decisions, which the Egyptians should know beterr than others, serve ‘Israeli’ goals and demands.

Al-Manar’s general manager, Ibrahim Farhat, told AFP:

This is a political decision, not an industry decision. Al-Manar has nothing to do with sectarian strife. This is part of the political problem in the region, that they’re taking it out on the media.

The timing of the move comes as the Toad King Salman began his visit to Egypt on Wednesday. The Toads have lavished aid on Egypt since the Sisi coup in 2013, and while ties have been strained over the past year, Cairo has broadly followed Riyadh’s lead on regional politics. Tensions between the Toads and Beirut have been brewing since January. Riyadh is worried Hezbollah has too much power in Lebanon. The Toads cut $3b in military aid to Lebanon after the Lebanese government failed to condemn an attack on the Toad embassy in Tehran in January. On Friday, the Toad-owned television news channel al-Arabiya shut its offices in Lebanon. On the same day, protesters attacked the Beirut office of the Toad-owned newspaper A-Sharq al-Awsat in response to a cartoon published by the paper criticizing the Lebanese state. There have also been reports from Gulf countries, including Kuwait and Bahrain, about Lebanese citizens being expelled because of links to Hezbollah.

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