A Hizballah force reaches Quneitra crossing, halts opposite Israeli Golan deployment
A small Hizballah force took up position Thursday, June 5, on the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing directly opposite the IDF’s Golan deployment, debkafile reports exclusively. This was the first known instance of a Hizballah unit setting foot on the Golan and, moreover and, coming so close to Israeli military positions.
Intelligence observers reckon that it may be a small vanguard of a larger Hizballah force on the way to break the stalemate reached by the Syrian army and rebels in their month-long battle for the town of Quneitra. President Bashar Assad and Hizballah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah are known to attach high strategic importance to keeping the town under the control of Damascus.
debkafile’s military sources connect this military movement with a speech Nasrallah is due to deliver Friday, June 6, for making two points:
1. To congratulate Assad on his triumphant re-election as president by an 88 percent majority:
2. To brag about his own success in causing the IDF to be struck down by fear of Hizballah’s military might.
The speech is expected to be accompanied by the arrival of sizeable Hizballah strength to the Golan for deployment opposite the Israeli border.
debkafile’s military sources reported on May 26 that Nasrallah is preparing to open a second war front against Israel from the Syrian sector of Golan. Then, on June 4, our Middle East sources revealed that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s talks in Beirut carried a message of indirect US recognition of Hizballah, following the Hamas precedent.
Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Beirut Wednesday June 4 was part and parcel of the new turn in Obama administration policy, which is to start engaging directly with Arab governments backed by pro-Iranian terrorist organizations like the Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian Hamas. The first visit to Beirut in five years by a US secretary of state came two days after Washington rushed to accept and continue funding the Hamas-backed Palestinian government installed in Ramallah.
On his arrival in Lebanon, Kerry made some awkward comments:
"We do not recognize the government of Palestine – that would mean we recognize a state." He added that the US will continue to work with the new Palestinian unity government "as we need to" and will monitor daily its policies to ensure it "doesn't cross the line."
A leading member of the Lebanese government is Hizballah, which is classied in the US as a terrorist organization. By talking with prime minister Tammam Salam, Kerry articulated the new rule: Washington will maintain ties with a government, whether in Beirut or Ramallah, so long as it “doesn’t cross the line.”
At the same time, the US Secretary delivered into the hands of the Lebanese government a half billion dollar check for the Syrian refugees sheltering in Lebanon, ignoring the fact that its member, Hizballah, has crossed many lines by fighting for President Bashar Assad in the Syria civil war, and the death and destruction Hizballah helped inflict had put those refugees to flight.
But Kerry avoided defining the lines that must not be crossed and saying how the administration would respond if they were.
Talking to journalists later, Kerry himself crossed a line to new ground, when he said:
"Iran, Russia and Hizballah must engage in a legitimate effort to bring this war to an end,”
This was the first time a US Secretary of State has explicitly invited Hizballah, whose forces are fighting in Syrian under Iranian command, to be part of the quest for a political resolution of the Syrian war and accepted the Moscow-Tehran-Beirut axis as a critical partner in this effort. Up until now, Kerry insisted in leaving Iran and Hizballah out of US discussions with Moscow on the Syrian crisis.
Senior sources in Jerusalem sharply criticized Washington’s embrace of the most violent and radical of Middle East terrorist organizations. They saw no difference between the openness to Iran and Hizballah exhibited by Kerry in Beirut and the administration's readiness to do business with the Palestinian unity government backed to the hilt by Hamas.
According to those sources, by Thursday morning June 5, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had determined to go head-on against the new Obama administration line with a confrontation in the US Congress over its support for the Palestinian unity government.
Netanyahu will seek, with the aid of the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby, to get a law passed banning the continued transfer of US financial aid of approximately $500,000 a year to the Ramallah government, over its backing by the Hamas terrorist organization.
debkafile's sources in Washington don’t expect this move to succeed. Even if the both houses of Congress enact such legislation – and that is doubtful – the president has enough legal and administrative resources to circumvent it.