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 Hizbuulah 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 article also said that Hizbullah, prior to the death of Syrian Defense Minister General Daoud Rajha in a Damascus bombing last week, “had – with the Defense Minister and the Syrian Chief of Staff – developed a military plan to intervene directly to support the regime, in the event of it facing any form of foreign aggression. This plan included strategies to deploy radars and missiles in the Beqaa Valley and to supply the Syrian army with 2,000 elite Hizbullah troops.”
However, Lebanese MP Kamel Rifai, a member of Hizbullah’s parliamentary bloc, downplayed the report and told the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Thursday that “despite the fact that the resistance holds the Syrian leadership in high regard, it will not interfere in any internal conflict in Syria.”
He added, “The resistance will not point its weapons at any Arab entity, because these weapons and those men are to fight against the Zionist enemy.”
“All Hizbullah wants is a peaceful solution between the opposition and the regime in Syria, and although the party displays sympathy and loyalty to those who stand with the resistance (the Syrian regime), our conflict is primarily with Israel,” said Rifai.
The longtime close relations between Hizbullah and the Assad regime were a key point in Nasrallah’s speech last week, in which he confirmed that Syria supplied Hizbullah with the missilies it used against Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
“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.”
Israel is now concerned that Hizbullah will get a hold of Assad’s chemical weapons and use them against Israel. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned this week that Israel is prepared to intervene militarily if this happens.
“In the moment we see that the Syrians transfer chemical and biological weapons to Hizbullah, this is a red line for us and from our point of view it‘s a clear ‘casus belli,’” Lieberman said, using the Latin expression justifying war.
“We will act decisively and without hesitation or restraint,” he added. “It will be a completely different ball game and we hope for the understanding of the international community.”
Israel has also fingered Hizbullah and its supporter Iran as being behind last week’s terror attack against Israelis in Bulgaria. Lieberman asked European governments this week to place Hizbullah on their lists of terror organizations in the wake of the Bulgaria attack. The European Union rejected the request, claiming “there is no consensus on the issue, because Hizbullah also has an active political arm.”