- A hashtag "Lebanese against Hezbollah" is a Saudi creation, some have suggested
- The trend emerged after what some have claimed was the Saudi-orchestrated resignation of Lebanon's PM last week
- It has even been alleged that fake accounts have been used to promote the hashtag
- Still, plenty of Lebanese users were tweeting against the paramilitary organization
by Rosie Alfatlawi
The hashtag “Lebanese against Hezbollah” has taken off - but is it what it seems on the surface?
In fact, many in Lebanon are claiming that the Saudis are behind it.
One user in particular, @jrdnrzk, has suggested that Saudi Arabia is establishing fake Twitter accounts to promote the hashtag.
Saudi Arabia is creating fake accounts to spread the hashtag #لبنانيون_ضد_حزبالله— jordan (@jrdnrzk) November 11, 2017
Are Saudis stupid enough to think that we'll believe Jack Reacher is a real person who studied in the Middle East for some time and his image wasn't stolen from a dentistry website pic.twitter.com/AnuSpFKsPg
Jack Reacher, of course, is the name of a fictional action hero played by Tom Cruise. The account, which holds the description “born in VA, working in D.C., worked in the Middle East for a while , happy memories,” has shared a number of tweets in recent days, largely using pro-Saudi hashtags.
The account also mysteriously used what appeared to be a stock photo.
Like if someone gives a shit about Lebanon #لبنانيون_ضد_حزبالله— Jack Reacher (@JackReacher70) November 10, 2017
However, @JackReacher70 has existed for longer than “Lebanese against Hezbollah”. While it is not clear then whether the account is fake or created by the Saudis, it certainly was not made just to promote this hashtag.
Still, many on Twitter are suggesting the hashtag itself is a Saudi creation, intended to stir up internal tensions in Lebanon.
Not a bad effort by the Saudis and the twitter algorithm gymnastics #لبنانيون_ضد_حزبالله— Hus (@realHus) November 10, 2017
The tag emerged after the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned on Nov. 4, citing the meddling of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon’s affairs.
As prime minister, Hariri had led a coalition government including almost all of Lebanon’s major parties, including Hezbollah.
He made the announcement from Riyadh and many in Lebanon, including senior politicians, have accused Saudi Arabia of imposing the resignation.
- Lebanese Run a Marathon to 'Free' Hariri from Saudi
- 'Free Saad Hariri': Lebanese Convinced Saudis Are Holding Former PM, as Conspiracy Theories Circulate
In this context, many Lebanese Twitter users pointed out that the anti-hashtag was dominated by Saudis tweeting against Hezbollah, the ally of Riyadh’s regional foe Iran.
#لبنانيون_ضد_حزبالله— razan iron (@btsharmuta) November 9, 2017
this tag is full of saudis just saying
It is certainly the case that plenty of Saudis tweeted on the hashtag, and it trended for some time in the Gulf nation.
@Suad1Bin, for instance, tweeted: “Every country that Iran intervened in its affairs was destroyed and its economy and security collapsed... and the countries that confronted it are still fine…”
In another tweet, Saudi @waleedalnasser6 said: “Our Lebanese brothers, we love you but Hezbollah is threatening our internal security, its cells are in our countries and experts are on our borders.”
While there were quite a number of Saudis using the hashtag, still many Lebanese users also spoke out against the paramilitary group.
كمواطن لبناني أتبرأ من السياسة الارهابية التي يقودها حزب الله #لبنانيون_ضد_حزبالله— Ameer Abou Adela (@AmeerAbouAdela) November 9, 2017
As a Lebanese citizen I disown the terrorist politics led by Hezbollah.
Even though #لبنانيون_ضد_حزبالله is bullshit and obviously created by KSA, it's still true for me and a lot of other people,— c chaud man (@OhMyHagrid) November 11, 2017
Some even denied the conspiracy claims, emphasizing that the hashtag emerged from Lebanon.
الهاشتاغ اطلقناه من لبنان— Lara Sakr لارا صقر (@larasaker) November 12, 2017
We launched the hashtag from Lebanon
The tag also attracted a number of Syrians, who criticized Hezbollah’s military support for the government of Bashar al-Assad, along with ally Iran.
The confusion around this hashtag reveals the tensions that have been exploited in Lebanon by Hariri’s possibly Saudi-orchestrated resignation. A country divided along sectarian lines, Lebanon looks set to become a new site for Saudi-Iranian proxy conflict that could even further entrench internal divisions.
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