Saturday, July 28, 2012
There have been a certain amount of Hezbollah fighters aiding the regime inSyria in its fight against the rebels, but it's been kept relatively quiet. Apparently, that's now at an end:
The Hizbullah terror group has affirmed its allegiance to Syria and has offered to place itself at President Bashar Assad’s disposal.
According to a report on Thursday in Lebanon’s Al-Joumhouria newspaper, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah “placed all of Hizbullah capabilities at al-Assad’s disposal, in the event of the Syrian regime requiring urgent assistance.”
The newspaper quoted senior political sources as confirming that there had been contact between Assad and Nasrallah, and that “Nasrallah had offered al-Assad two forms of assistance, firstly he offered elements of Hizbullah’s special forces any time they are needed, even if they are required to be sent to open fronts to fight the revolutionaries. Secondly, Nasrallah invited the Syrian president to his personal residence, or even to meet inside the Iranian embassy in Beirut.”
The report said that Assad “has opted to remain in Syria because he still believes he is able to steer the ship with the help of some Russian political and military experts.”
The leadup to this was a speech by Hezbollah's leader, Sheikh Nasrallah, who made a point of emphasizing Hezbollah's ties with the Assad regime last week:
“Some say that Syria is the link between Hizbullah and Iran, but let me say that Syria is much more than that,” said Nasrallah. “It is very important for the resistance. The most important missiles which fell in Haifa, and beyond Haifa, and in the center of Israel – were Syrian missiles given to the resistance in Lebanon. Syria gave the resistance missiles which helped us in the Second Lebanon War. It's not just in Lebanon, it’s also in Gaza.”
Lebanon's Naharnet has more:
Hizbullah fighters have lately crossed the area of Hawsh al-Sayyed Ali in Hermel to Syria to help Syrian government troops in their fight against rebels, security sources said.
The sources told An Nahar daily published on Friday that the militants from the 910 unit of Hizbullah’s Jihad Council are fighting alongside the Syrian forces in the areas of al-Qussair, Homs and al-Rastan.
Hizbullah has also a strong military presence in the area of Zabadani, the same sources said.
Now that Hezbollah has decided to double down on the Assad regime, it's almost certain that the civil war is going to continue for some time.
I still see Assad carving out an easily defended redoubt in Northwestern Syria consisting of everything west of the Orantes River and perhaps a strip of territory encompassing Idlib and Aleppo. This comprises the commercial heart of Syria and the areas where most of the Alawites live. From the ports of Latakia and Tartus, he can easily be supplied by the Russians and with Hezbollah now fully on board, not only will the Muslim Brotherhood rebels have difficulty pushing Assad out but he will likely have the arms and manpower to wear them down by attrition and retake most of the country.
This is definitely a Sunni/Muslim Brotherhood versus Shi'ite/Iran bloc conflict, as I've always said.