Objective Is to Defend Axis of Resistance, Not Bashar Assad

27 May 2013 | 17:19 Code : 1916678 Interview General category
An interview with Seyyed Morteza Nematzadeh, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs
Objective Is to Defend Axis of Resistance, Not Bashar Assad

Hezbollah has announced its collaboration with Bashar Assad and is openly involved in helping Bashar Assad’s forces in cleansing the city of al-Qusayr. Considering the growing pressures on Hezbollah and Britain’s insistence on naming it on the terrorists list, in your opinion, how can this Hezbollah strategy be interpreted and doesn’t this collaboration give an excuse to the western countries to confront it?

Since its establishment in Lebanon in the early 1980s and following the Israeli attacks against Lebanon and the occupation of more than half of this country, including part of the capital, Beirut, and since its official announcement of existence in 1985, Hezbollah has always made efforts to abstain from intervening in domestic conflicts and to concentrate its forces on resistance and fighting against the Zionist regime. Therefore, despite numerous temptations to enter the domestic conflicts and to make efforts to gain political power, Hezbollah has resisted these temptations and has not left its previously defined strategy. It seems that at this juncture, where it has somewhat involved itself in Syria’s clashes, Hezbollah attempts to continue its involvement within the framework of the same strategy, meaning non-intervention in the domestic conflicts. To understand whether this measure has observed the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries or not, we should review Hezbollah’s reasoning. Hezbollah has based the presence of its forces in Syria on three principles:

1.       Defending the Lebanese who are Shiites and live in the border areas with Syria and are attacked and threatened by the religious radical and terrorist groups.

2.       Considering the approach of the Salafi groups in attacking Islamic and Shiite religious centers, an example of which was the attack against the tomb of Hujr ibn Adi and the displacement of his body, Hezbollah defines this approach as an attempt to create religious differences among the Muslims, hence, defines its presence as a measure to prevent such behaviors and as a step towards maintaining the unity of the world of Islam. It has also considered itself committed to prevent such incidents which deepen the gaps in the world of Islam and which is a service to the global arrogance and the Zionist regime.

3.       Defending the resistance in Syria: Hezbollah will not intervene in the domestic conflicts between the regime and the people, but it enters the scene against the presence of the elements affiliated with the US, reactionaries, and Zionism in Syria who attempt to damage the axis of resistance in the region and weaken the world of Islam.

Naturally, the opposing movement does not accept such an analysis; thus, it attempts to religiously define Hezbollah’s intervention to the advantage of Assad’s regime and against the opposition. On the other hand, Hezbollah makes efforts to continue the framework of its strategy based on the same principle.

One of Hezbollah’s senior officials has stated that Hezbollah is preparing to confront Israel. He has named the list of arms which will soon be delivered to this party and has thanked Bashar Assad for fulfilling his commitments in delivering strategic arms to Hezbollah, stating that the arms delivered to Hezbollah have challenged the military balance. Is there a reason for such an open statement about this matter?

Since long ago, Hezbollah has openly talked about Syria’s military support to strengthen the resistance against Israel. These aids were delivered both to Hezbollah and the resistance movement in Palestine. Through this measure, Hezbollah intends to show that Syria is the stronghold of resistance against the Zionist regime in the Arab world and those groups that are fighting against the regime in Syria are the terrorists who are at the service of the US, Israel, and the Arab reactionary regimes. Therefore, since long ago, Hezbollah has openly talked about Syria’s military aids to the resistance, whether to the Islamic resistance in Lebanon or in Palestine, and stated its gratitude for this matter and this is not related to Hezbollah’s presence in Syria within the mentioned frameworks.

A US delegation is going to visit Lebanon and discuss some issues with regard to holding this country’s election on the previously agreed upon date. What are the reasons behind this visit amidst the heated discussions about domestic policies in Lebanon? What are the main points of differences between the different parties in Lebanon?

Right now, the crisis in Syria has had its own impacts on Lebanon. The power struggle which exists in Lebanon is because they want to gain power in the future and the March 14 alliance attempts to use the impacts of the Syrian crisis in Lebanon towards strengthening its position and weakening the position of Hezbollah. What is now the main point of difference in Lebanon is the election laws, where each party tries to gain the most from this law which is based on the previous traditions of elections in Lebanon.

The point that must be noted here is that the US is now concerned about the influence of Hezbollah on the domestic affairs of Lebanon and it gaining more power in the next government of this country. Through these visits it therefore attempts to organize the opposition and direct the trend of the election laws to prevent the power of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Such visits from high-ranking US officials have happened in the past when they had also tried to organize policies against the resistance in Lebanon and Syria. For example, they attempted to use Lebanon as a passageway for the Syrian opposition. Basically, the presence of the US delegations at any stage will threaten Lebanon with civil war, as the visit of the previous delegation created problems in Tripoli. Therefore, the US attempts to impact the trend of the elections in Lebanon and intervention in the internal affairs of this country has existed from the past and still exists. The visits of the US delegations have always led to damaging ramifications for this country.

The clashes between the supporters and opponents of Bashar Assad in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, have intensified. How would you predict the continuation of these conflicts?

The crisis in Syria has always impacted Lebanon, particularly its northern part, and it seems that at this stage when the terrorists are facing difficult conditions and the government enjoys a superior position and has practically been able to close their logistic paths and surround them, this situation will certainly have consequences for northern Lebanon. On the other hand, it seems that the government has also attempted to prevent the occurrence of any conflict or problem in this part of Lebanon, which is considered the second capital of this country. But it seems impossible that this stage of the Syrian crisis would not leave victims in Tripoli. 

tags: hezbollah lebanon syria bashar

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