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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Iran: "If Assad is toppled, the line of resistance against Israel will be broken"

From Iran's ABNA:
Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, said the fall of al-Assad will damage the resistance front against Israel.

“The main reason behind our focus on the Syrian issue is to prevent the fall of the resistance line against Israel. If Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, falls the resistance line against Israel will break up,” Velayati stated.

[Velyati] described his fate as a “red line” for the Islamic Republic.
Westerners who pretend Iran is a rational player need to read this quote over and over again. Iran is stating that its major foreign policy goal is to fight Israel, to the extent of pulling out all the stops to prop up a ruthless, murderous dictator that the entire world agrees must go.

If Iran's hatred for Israel is so irrational, why do people still believe that their desire for a nuclear bomb that would be aimed against Israel is any less monomaniacal?

In a related story, the Times of London reports about Hezbollah's direct fighting for the Assad regime, along with Iraqi Shiites. No doubt this is at Iran's behest as well. As the CSM reports:

An unprecedented and slickly-produced video is being circulated around Shiite areas of Lebanon showing alleged Shiite combatants fighting in Syria. The video's production and open dissemination highlight how fighters outside Syria are jumping into the country's ongoing civil war – and growing more bold about it.

According to Lebanese sources close to the militant Shiite Hezbollah, the combatants seen in the video are a mix of Hezbollah members and Iraqi Shiites, but the video was produced in Iraq.



Hezbollah’s leadership has played down persistent reports that its fighters are helping defend the beleaguered regime of President Bashar al-Assad. But the video, which was clearly made with the consent of the combatants, appears to reflect the growing conviction within Shiite circles in Lebanon that the war in Syria is no longer one between an embattled autocratic regime and a grassroots opposition but a sectarian confrontation against the emerging and increasingly influential Salafi Jihadist groups that view Shiites as heretics and Hezbollah as an enemy.

The conflict in neighboring Syria presents Hezbollah and its Iranian patron with a strategic dilemma. Assad’s Syria represents the geopolitical lynchpin that binds Hezbollah to Iran and is a core component in the “Jabhat al-Muqawama” or “Axis of Resistance,” the pan-regional alliance challenging Israel and Western ambitions in the Middle East. If Assad falls and is replaced by a moderate Sunni regime that turns away from Iran and towards Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Hezbollah could become isolated on the Mediterranean coast and potentially threatened by a Sunni resurgence in the Levant.

Sources in the Syrian opposition, the rebel Free Syrian Army, and Western embassies concur that Hezbollah is participating in some fighting and also training regular Syrian troops in urban warfare tactics and turning the pro-regime Shabiha militia into an effective paramilitary force.