Hezbollah’s second in command, Sheikh Naim Qassem, crowed over that organization’s improving status in an interview with AFP:
“Western countries are rushing to speak with us and will do so even more in the future,” Sheikh Naim Qassem told AFP in an interview.
He added that a number of European countries as well as the International Monetary Fund have reassured Hezbollah’s leadership that they will not boycott the group if it wins the June 7 legislative poll as was the case with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in 2006.
“The ambassador of a key European country also informed us that the US will deal with any government even though they are hoping the (Western-backed) ruling majority wins the vote,” Qassem said.
That’s the Obama Doctrine: we’ll deal with anyone. How does Hezbollah greet the newfound respect it’s getting from the U.S.? Exactly the same as its patron, Iran: symbolism cuts no ice.
He also welcomed the change in US administration.
“Things look good now that (George W.) Bush is gone and Obama is trying to open up to the world and make up for the mistakes of the previous administration,” he said, referring to US President Barack Obama who has reached out to the Muslim world.
He said that Hezbollah wanted “concrete measures” rather than mere talk from Washington that prove it is sincere.
“Until now, our stand has been that we do not deal with the US administration until change comes about in its attitude,” Qassem said. “Once that happens, then we’ll see.”
So Obama gets the worst of both worlds; he has Hezbollah’s endorsement, but on the other hand, they won’t actually talk to him until he demonstrates through concrete actions that the U.S. has had a “change in attitude.” Would it help if Obama were to travel to Lebanon and bow to Nasrullah? Probably not.