Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed Saturday night, May 25, to expand his movement’s military role in the Syrian civil war. “With just two words, I can muster tens of thousands of volunteers to fight for Bashar Assad,” he said, claiming that he receives daily letters from parents begging him to send their only sons to fight in Syria. Al Qaeda fighters were streaming into Syria and Israel planned more attacks, he warned, in a speech marking the 13th anniversary of Israel’s military withdrawal from South Lebanon.
The Hizballah leader said if Sunni Islamists took over in Syria, they would pose a threat to the entire Lebanese population. If Assad falls, so too will the “resistance front” against Israel – as well as the Palestinian people of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “Hizballah will not let that happen!” Nasrallah declared.
debkafile’s military sources: Nasrallah’s speech denotes his movement’s plunging ever deeper into the Syrian conflict. From limited involvement, he has undertaken to fight for Assad to the end, for better or for worse.
The issue is no longer, as Israeli officials insist, whether he can get hold of the advanced Iranian weapons supplied him through Syria, only whether Hizballah can fulfill its two twofold goal. One is to tip the scales of the war in favor of the Syrian army and the other is to contribute enough troops to the various war sectors to free Syrian forces for battling Israel in the war of attrition, which Assad and Nasrallah have both declared.
Hizballah’s Deputy Secretary Sheikh Naim Qassem said Friday that President Assad is absolutely serious about opening a front against Israel from the Golan. It only remains to be done, he said. “Syria is fully capable of implementing this decision on its own. If necessary, we’ll help, but it’s up to Syria.”
As a bonus, Nasrallah’s expanded intervention in the Syria war assures him that the advanced weapons – whose transfer into the Lebanese terrorist group's hands Israel has vowed to prevent – will in fact be handed over on Syrian soil.
Friday, May 24, debkafile disclosed that two competing terrorist movements, Shiite Hizballah and Sunni al Qaeda, were pouring troops into Syria, while US Secretary of State John Kerry remained focused an the elusive Israel-Palestinian peace process.
After spending 48 hours in Jerusalem and Ramallah, trying to talk Israeli and Palestinian leaders into reviving the long-stalled Middle East peace process, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s exit line Friday, May 24, was: “We’re getting toward a time now when hard decisions need to be made.”
That was all he had to say about Israel's comments on US proposals on the subject as unworkable and the Palestinian view that American ideas were still unformed and conditions for reviving talks non-existent.
In any case, the Syrian crisis hurtling forward heedless of its disastrous potential for its neighbors is fully exercising their leaders’ attention at this time and confronting them with much more urgent “hard decisions.”
The Secretary himself had just come from a Friends of Syria meeting Thursday in Amman, which was attended by a sparse 11 members compared with the original 80. The meeting ended with a demand that the international conference on Syria, which Kerry is trying to convene in Geneva in the first week of June in partnership with Russia, will not accept Assad regime representatives with blood on their hands.
Moscow took exception to this demand Friday by means of a Russian Foreign Ministry statement that Syria has agreed in principle to participate in the conference, but obstacles to a date were still raised by the Syrian opposition.
It can’t therefore be said that Washington and Moscow see eye to eye on the key issues of Syrian representation at the conference they are jointly sponsoring.
The US still insists that Bashar Assad must go before a political solution can be broached, while Russia continues to champion and arm him.
The most conspicuous feature of Kerry’s current Middle East tour is the strong dichotomy between his public statements and mission and the events taking place in the real world around him.
debkafile analysts assign this gap between the Secretary’s perceptions and reality to US President Barack Obama’s own evasiveness on the “hard decisions” he needs to take for determining the level of US involvement in the acute crises shaking this highly volatile region.
This was evident in the speech he delivered Thursday, March 23, in which he stressed the effort to pull the United States away from its inclusive “post 9/11 war on terror” and “return to normalcy.”
He said “lethal force [such as drones] will only be used against targets who pose a continuing imminent threat to Americans.”
Obama’s message was totally unrelated to the rising militancy of the two most virulent Islamic terrorist movements of the present day.
As he spoke, Al Qaeda, on the one hand, and the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah, on the other, continued to pour fighting strength into Syria and feed the flames of a calamitous civil war which has claimed more than 80,000 lives in a little more than two years.
Our military sources report that Hizballah brigades are forming up with the Syrian army for their next decisive battle, after their al-Qusayr victory, for the capture of the northern city of Homs; Al Qaeda jihadis are streaming across the border from Iraq to cement rebel control of the Deir a-Zor region of eastern Syria.
The aggressive actions of both Hizballah and al Qaeda in Syria are outside the bounds of the US president’s revised objectives for the US war on terror – hence, the rationale for US non-involvement in any part of the Syrian conflict.
At the same time, both these movements are at war, declared or undeclared, on Israel, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Their destabilizing impact extends to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah too.
In terms of timing and immediacy, therefore, the ”hard decisions” John Kerry called for are right outside the current Middle East context. Israel’s leaders must decide urgently how to address Syria’s headlong descent into more bloodshed at a time that Iran, Russia, Al Qaeda and Hizballah are in charge of events.
The initiative led by the US Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for an international conference to hammer out a political solution for the Syrian crisis in no way slowed its momentum.
Israel’s leaders might perhaps best be advised to prioritize attention to determining how best to handle the perils looming from Syria ahead of Kerry’s bid for a return to talks with the Palestinians.