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Iran, via Hezbollah, Comes to Bashar Assad’s Rescue

The support is now clearly evident, and is responsible for Assad's recent gains.

by
Jonathan Spyer

Bio

May 30, 2013 - 12:10 pm
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The two rockets that exploded in the Shiyah neighborhood of south Beirut marked a significant turning point in the Syrian civil war. The Shiyah neighborhood is located in the Dahiyeh area of the city, which houses the various offices of the Hezbollah organization. The neighborhood is populated by Lebanese Shi’ite supporters of Hezbollah. ‬

No organization has claimed responsibility for the firing of the two Grad rockets, but as Syrian rebel Ammar al-Wawi said in an interview shortly following the explosions, the rockets were a warning by someone to Hezbollah that their engagement on behalf of the Assad regime would have consequences.

The timing of the attacks was notable: they came just 24 hours after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had vowed that his organization would fight on in Syria until Assad’s “victory.” ‬

There has been a significant rise in media coverage of Hezbollah involvement — and to a lesser extent, the Iranian involvement — in the fighting in Syria in recent weeks. But the involvement of Tehran and its client in the Syrian war is not new. The reason it appears new is because much of the Western media preferred for a long time to ignore clearly available evidence of the full mobilization by the Iranians of their various regional clients and proxies on behalf of the Assad regime. (This reporter was writing on the subject as far back as late 2011 — even then, there was plenty of evidence.)‬

As early as April 14, 2011, U.S. officials confirmed that Iran was aiding in the repression of what was then a mostly non-violent uprising. A classified United Nations report from 2012, leaked to the media, stated that Iran was by then covertly shipping arms to Syria in violation of international sanctions. Iran also provided support through its paramilitary Quds Force, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Arab media reports from early 2012 began to carry eyewitness accounts suggesting the presence of Hezbollah specialists in the fighting in Syria. I also received similar testimony from rebel fighters during trips to Syria. ‬

The involvement of the IRGC in the Syrian war was confirmed by the testimony of Riad Hijab, a former Syrian prime minister who defected earlier this year. Hijab said that Suleimani was managing the Iranian regime’s intervention in the war in Syria. A senior IRGC official, Hassan Shateri, was killed on Syrian soil.   ‬

But the longstanding involvement of Iran and Hezbollah in the Syrian civil war has now reached hitherto unprecedented heights both in extent and in visibility. ‬

Iran and its allies would clearly have preferred to retain their low-key, mainly advisory role in the conflict; this has proved impossible. Bashar Assad was not able to deliver the goods by himself, or with only minimal assistance. Left to his own devices, he would have faced defeat. ‬Bashar’s departure would have spelled disaster for Iran’s ambitions in the region. Most importantly, Tehran’s access to the frontline of the Israel-Islamist conflict through its Hezbollah proxy would have been blocked.   ‬

The result is that over the course of 2013, an increasingly overt deployment of Iran-trained forces and Hezbollah fighters has been discernible. Most visibly, Hezbollah has in recent months deployed a growing contingent of its men in the area of Qusayr in Homs province. The movement needs to keep hold of this area so as to ensure that Iran can continue to supply it from the ports of western Syria. This area is firmly held by the regime, but Qusayr is the link between the regime-controlled western coastal area of Syria and Lebanon’s northern Beqa’a, controlled by Hezbollah. ‬

So this land link must be maintained to keep the weapons flowing to Hezbollah. And Hezbollah men are bearing the brunt of the fierce fight for Qusayr City, now underway. Facebook pages maintained by the movement are posting new faces and details of “martyrs” killed in the fighting each day. ‬

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All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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Syria can not be that important or the I have all the answers oh so smart Obama would give a speech from his Teleprompter that would make everything right
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Given Russian private investment in Israel, I doubt they are looking to sabotage Israel energy production. The ones who will be hurt most by the Israeli gas/shale are the Arabs not the Russians.
On another note, isn't it interesting that when hezbollah was only killing Jews and Christians everyone contorted themselves to differentiate between the political and armed wings of hezbollah and distorted all logic to prevent the organization from being labelled terroist. Now that their main targets are Sunni syrians, they are getting unequivocal condemnation from all those European entities that previously ignored the logical (Israeli?) evidence about Hezbollah's true intentions.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Canadafreepress: "The next time someone, be it in the media, President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry or members of Congress, like the insufferable Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.S.), say the U.S. needs to overthrow Syrian President Assad for humanitarian purposes, ask them what they think will happen next. Are they really so stupid to actually believe that freedom, democracy, unicorns, peace and lollipops will take over Syria after Assad is removed, or will another vacuum be created for the Muslim Brotherhood to fill? A vacuum that will be filled by massive bloodshed, ethnic cleansing, genocide that could set the entire region on fire with American and NATO troops being dragged in to serve the interests of someone else who are using America’s military might to create the United States of Islam. You already can see it happening in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya."
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Hezbollah is bad, are the US backed Christian killing jihadis going into Syria via Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia good? I know what Iran and Hezbollah are about, it's just that what the US is supporting and doing is just as bad. Actually, even worse, as the US is supporting those killing Christians across the Middle East and Balkans. If it takes Hezbollah, Iran, and the Russians to stop the Western support of the jihadi persecution of Christians, then so be it. We don't have to worry about Israel; they know how to take care of themselves.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is rather "ironic" that Russia is an atheist state and America is a Christian one and yet the Syrian Christians are saying "Thank God for the Russians!"
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure that Syrian Christians understand ... because the plan is obvious: Iran's gateway to Israel is Syria; Russia's gateway to destroying Israel's energy production (gas and oil) is Syria - typical sneaky Russians waging economic jihad against Israel while Iran and Syria do the terror stuff. Assad said on Thursday that, "Russia's weapons shipments are not linked to the Syrian conflict. "We have been negotiating with them about different types of weapons for years, and Russia is committed to Syria to implement these contracts," - Yeah right! Syria already has air defense systems and now has missiles capable of easily reaching Israel ... and Assad has just threatened Israel with "retaliation". We have two trigger-happy nutjobs - Asshad and Achmadimanutjob - that have been collaborating to bring about the fulfillment of their threat to "wipe Israel off the map". This situation does not bode well for Syrian, Iranian or Russian leadership - this may just be Obama's wake-up call; when he finally realizes he's been pimped out by Islam.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Spare us your "just as bad" horse manure.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe you should just call him a wackobird like the senile McCain would.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
You make as much sense as he (Arius) does.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
You sound like a 6 year old.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, and call the cops, Barry. I think we got some kind of felony going down here.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep, nothing to do but keep Israel supplied with anything and everything that they need. Obama and his administration have no stomach for a fight, particularly this one, and are completely out of their depth anyways. Leave it to the pros. The Israelis. Give the order, Barack: Stand down. Pull out. Take cover.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
So what would you do if you were chief of staff IDF Benny Ganz?

Do you have a solution to the S-300 missiles? Last times IAF went through Syrian defense like it did not even exist. Such matters now cannot be open to an Internet post.

Meanwhile there is some benefit from Al Queda and Hezbolla fighting to the death in Syria. Between them they are destroying an enemy of the West and each other. Lebanon, barely holding its fragile bubble will not be the same.

Such is war, full of unknown risk. America wants out and for good reason. Israel is on its own. One strike against the Russian S-300 will change the game again.


45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin just wants the rest of us to know that Russia is still a player in the Med.

Well they are. Good morning America!

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, it's just like Nam. Wading into the Middle East, fully loaded, will be the same as wading into Russia and its jealous little brother, China. Expensive, and basically insoluble. And Americans are morally weak. It would take a MAJOR unprovoked attack to get the people on board.

No. I say stand back, and prepare to retaliate BIG when the Jihadis make their move against our homeland.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The sentiment is very strongly (here on PJ media and in the US in general) against American intervention in Syria and I see where everyone is coming from but...letting Hezbollah and Iran (and Russia) win????? And yes I know the other side has a lot of Al Qaeda elements but I can't help but think our inaction opened the door for the extremists. A no-fly zone would have at least been something of a humanitarian gesture. It is tempting to take the position "good let them just wipe each other out" but it's kind of creepy to see it unfold every day. We're just sitting back watching Assad, a guy who enabled the murders of many Americans and Iraqis, just flatten neighborhoods and towns.

By the way, what is Russia getting out of this? It has to be more than just weapons sales. Is Putin just sending a message to his own people that he'll do the same to them if hey get any funny ideas? Is that what his game is?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Russia gets to cripple Israel's energy supplies by supplying the hardware to Syria in fulfillment of a contract and then letting Syria and Iran use them. As Assad told the world recently, the "contract" has been in the works for a long time and is not related to recent events - which is BS of course; in light of the fact that Russia also has at least 15 warships in Syrian waters. Assad and achmadimanutjob are trigger-happy and are about to do something really stupid.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, what is happening in the Middle East Srping rising turns out to be a classic example of what the neo-cons stand for and the failures that follow their Middle East strategic ideology.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excuse me, but is Barry Obama not in his second term as POTUS and CIC?

"Neocons" is leftist codespeak for the "Jewish cabal" that secretly CONTROLS everything.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, let them win if that what it takes to stop the Western backed jihadis killing more Christians in Syria.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
No need to qualify. Kill ALL jihadis.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Syria, Iran, Hizbollah and Russia are: trigger happy. They just can't wait to get to Israel and it's showing. Bye, bye Assad ... bye bye Achmadimanutjob; you were warned but would not listen.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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