Monday, May 27, 2013

Hezbollah joins the war in Syria

English: Bashar al-Assad under pressure
Lebanon's Hezbollah has hurled itself into the war in Syria at the behest of its mentor Iran at the risk of damaging its reputation in the Arab world, experts say. The powerful Shiite movement has won widespread support outside Lebanon for standing up to Israel on the battlefield.

But its involvement in Syria fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad's troops against rebels has tarnished its reputation in the region, analysts told AFP. "Hezbollah's participation in the war in Syria stems from an Iranian decision to support the regime until the end through regional actors, starting with Hezbollah," said Ziad Majed, professor in political sciences and the Middle East at the American University of Paris.

Hezbollah sent almost 1,700 fighters to the central Syrian town of Qusayr a week ago to support the regime's assault on the rebel stronghold. Its chief Hassan Nasrallah had previously justified the organisation's involvement in Syria by saying they were defending Shiite villages and holy sites. But the offensive on the mostly-Sunni town of Qusayr forced the movement to change its argument.

"Syria is the rear guard of the resistance (Hezbollah's fight with Israel), its backbone, and the resistance cannot stay with its arms folded when its rear guard is exposed," Nasrallah said on Saturday in a speech for the 13th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. Read more >>
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