Newscast Media DAMASCUS—The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group has warned that allies of the Syrian regime would not allow it to fall at the hands of rebel forces. He indicated that his Iranian-backed forces were ready to intervene.
In a speech aired by Hezbollah’s television Al-Manar on Tuesday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Syrian rebels would not be able to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s regime using force.
“Syria has real friends in the region and the world who will not let Syria fall in the hands of America, in the hands of Israel or in the hands of extremist groups,” the movement’s leader said.
“The battle is long … We tell you [Syrian rebels] that you will not be able to bring this regime down through military means,” he added.
Backed and allegedly financed by Iran, Hezbollah is a staunch ally of President al-Assad. Syrian rebels have accused both Iran and Hezbollah of sending fighters to assist Syrian troops in fighting mainly Sunni opposition forces.
The Shiite Muslim group has formally denied the allegations, admitting only to protecting Shiite villages along Lebanon’s border with Syria. It claims more than 30,000 Shiite Lebanese live in the affected villages.
“We say it clearly, we will not leave the Lebanese in the Qusair rural area vulnerable to attack by armed groups. Who ever needs help, we will not hesitate to give it,” Nasrallah said Tuesday.
His comments were the strongest indication yet that Hezbollah fighters would be open to greater participation in Syria “if the conflict escalates more.”
According to UN figures the two-year conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 70,000 people. What started as an uprising against al-Assad’s regime has now deteriorated into a civil war, which threatens to exacerbate sectarian tensions throughout the region.
Increased involvement from Hezbollah will almost certainly threaten stability in Lebanon, which is deeply divided along sectarian lines. It would also risk involvement from Iran and Israel. Assad’s Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, has the backing of Shiite Iran which has also previously indicated it would not allow the regime to fall to Sunni forces.
Newscast Media BEIRUT—Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Nasrallah warned Israel and its allies that the Islamic resistance in Lebanon is fully equipped and will not tolerate any attack against the Lebanese territory, in a televised speech during a ceremony in commemoration of the late Hezbollah leaders, Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyed Abbas Al-Mousawi and Hajj Imad Moghniyeh. Watch:
Courtesy video: Al Manar TV
Newscast Media DAMASACAS—During a speech he gave two days ago, Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said al-Qaeda had been lured into Syria to be killed by the Syrian army, according to Islam Times.
“The situation in Syria is getting more complicated (but) anyone who thinks the armed opposition can settle the situation on the ground is very, very, very mistaken. The West and some allied Arab countries have lured al-Qaeda-affiliated militants into Syria to be killed,” he said.
Nasrallah believes that al-Qaeda fighters have been tricked into entering the lion’s den. His logic makes a lot of sense, because the West could not kill them in the mountains where they were hiding, so they were promised a few guns and bullets and sent to the front lines, where they would be sitting ducks.
Assad has single-handedly killed more al-Qaeda than anyone else in the past 21 months, so he is very useful to the West. All the West has to do, is (i) pretend that they hate Assad, (ii) use the gullible media to spread that narrative, (iii) arm al-Qaeda rebels, (iv) make-believe they (the rebels) are legitimate by recognizing them officially, and (v) send them into the snake pit, knowing they will not return alive.
Al-Qaeda in Syria is a captive audience because they are all congregating in one country, as opposed to being spread out in caves in the Afghan mountains.
“I warn al-Qaeda: the Americans and the European countries and Arab and Islamic countries have set a trap for you in Syria, and opened for you a battlefield so you come from across the world… to be killed and to kill each other,” Nasrallah emphasized in his speech published by Islam Times.
There are already western intelligence reports from Al-Manar that Assad’s army has the upper hand, and Syria has already signed multi-billion dollar contracts exclusively with Russia, for the reconstruction of destroyed parts of Syria.
Russia has also sent additional warships to the Mediterranean, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. State Department announced on Friday that it has imposed sanctions on Syria’s state-run oil company for selling 33,000 metric tons of gasoline to Iran in April. The State Department said this kind of trade allows Iran to continue developing its nuclear program while providing the Syrian government with resources to oppress its own people.
“The United States remains deeply concerned about the close ties shared by the Iranian and Syrian regimes and is committed to using every tool available to prevent regional destabilization,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement August 10.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is on her way to Turkey for talks with Turkish leaders and Syrian opposition activists to coordinate efforts to oust the regime of Bashar al-Assad and start planning to help Syria after Assad falls, according to the article on the State Department’s Web site.
Meanwhile, the sanctions on Hezbollah were placed because the U.S. believes it is providing training, advice and “extensive logistical support” to the Assad regime. According to a Wall Street Journal, the U.S. said Hezbollah has been working closely with Iran, Mr. Assad’s other close supporter and the main U.S. nemesis in the region.
“I think it is safe to say that Hezbollah is playing a critical role in advising the Syrian government and training its personnel in how to prosecute a counterinsurgency,” Daniel Benjamin, the U.S. State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, said Friday. “At this point…we’re satisfied by our assessment that the group is playing an absolutely integral role in helping the Assad regime try to put down this popular movement.”
Analysts in the region argue that the U.S. is overstating Hezbollah’s role in Syria, and say the group has chosen to limit its support for Mr. Assad—endorsing Syria’s regime but not publicly taking up arms to defend it.
“Although the final decision hasn’t been made, Hezbollah has come to realize that it doesn’t serve its core objectives to get involved in Syria and Iran’s conflict,” said Omar Nashabi, a columnist for the Al-Akbar newspaper, which leans toward supporting Hezbollah. The Reuters full article can be read here.
In other reports, the rebel gangs in Aleppo are asking for more weapons from the West, because they are “slowly losing the battle” against Assad. Syrian rebels were running low on ammunition and guns Friday and appealed for international help as government forces tried to consolidate their control over Aleppo, the country’s largest city and a deadly battleground in recent weeks.
“The warplanes and helicopters are killing us, they’re up there in the sky 15 hours a day,” said Mohammad al-Hassan, an activist in Aleppo’s main rebel stronghold of Salaheddine. “I don’t know how long this situation can be sustained,” the New York Times reported in this article.
Regardless of whether the sanctions against Hezbollah will have any effect, the group has now been dragged into the crisis in Syria, and it will be interesting to see what Hezbollah’s reaction, covert or overt, will be in the weeks ahead.