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Monday, February 06, 2012

Would Hezbollah attack Israel to aid Syria?

From Naharnet:
Lebanon must not hesitate in supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, because backing it has major “strategic and fateful” repercussions, sources close to Hizbullah told the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper in remarks published on Sunday.

They said: “Hizbullah will not allow the fall of the Assad regime even if it means launching a war with Israel.”

This position echoed Israeli fears that a war with the party may be ignited in order to divert attention from the current developments in Syria, said the newspaper.

The Israeli leadership is mulling “the need to issue an open threat to Hizbullah as part of a wider strategy adopted by the Israeli government.”

“This strategy aims at deterring Hizbullah and Iran from carrying out any attack against Israeli targets,” stated several sources, including the Jerusalem Post.

The Hizbullah sources did not rule out the possibility of “surprises emerging, aimed at turning attention away from the Syrian crisis.”

“Should such a surprise take place, it would shift the international community’s priorities in the region,” they stressed.
But Nasrallah has been more on the fence as Syria totters:
On January 14, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah said that Lebanon should disavow itself from developments in Syria as the crisis will have negative repercussions on the situation locally.

“We call on the Syrian opposition to abide by Assad’s demands to engage in dialogue and cooperate with him to introduce reform that would resolve the country’s problems,” he stated.

During a speech in December, he voiced his support for the Syrian regime, while saying that his party backs reform and efforts to eradicate corruption in the neighboring country.

Nasrallah stressed, however, that “some people want to destroy Syria,” they reject dialogue, and they seek to “compensate their loss in Iraq.”
In general, I don't trust Kuwaiti newspapers when they quote anonymous sources - they often simply make things up.

I have no doubt that Hezbollah will work behind the scenes to ensure Assad's hold on power stays indefinitely. I also have no doubt that Nasrallah is trying to acquire whatever weapons he can get from Syria before it might fall. But Nasrallah is not stupid, and he knows that openly supporting Assad - or even launching an attack that is transparently meant to distract the world from Syria - would backfire on his own position in Lebanon.

(h/t Dan)