How did Hezbollah Respond to the Arab Transformations?

21/11/2013

Hosam Matar[1]

The paper was published by Eurasian Affairs- Moscow, October 2013 

Introduction:

 

In this moment of historical reconstruction, the Middle East is facing severe conflicts and massive transformations embodied in what is generally known as the “Arab Spring”, which has led to the fall of few Arab regimes (Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya), inflicted minor changes in some (as Yemen), and still continues to take place in others (Syria, Bahrain). However, even in the countries with new regimes, tensions and clashes are still dominating the political scene as new movements are springing, making it impossible to clearly define the final form of these regimes.

The entire region is going through a transitional moment and it is not before many long months that stability will begin to prevail. The future of the region mainly depends on the positions of and the policies taken by all the major regional and international powers in response to the current changes taking place. Consequently, due to Hezbollah’s regional influence, leverage, and power, it is of great importance to understand its assessment, position, and approach towards the Arab transformations.

How did Hezbollah approach these transformations? What were the bases upon which the approach was founded? How did these transformations change the strategic environment with respect to Hezbollah’s agenda of fighting Israel? What are the opportunities and threats that may face Hezbollah in such a transitional moment? This paper aims to discover Hezbollah’s position towards the “Arab Spring” that began two years ago in Tunisia, then moved to Egypt before spreading toward many Arab countries. The paper will focus on truly understanding the variables that controlled Hezbollah’s position towards such transformations, and then offer a thorough observation on how this position was and still is changing as the true colors of the movements and the role of foreign powers became clearer.

 

 

1. Hezbollah and the Arab regimes: A Historical approach

Before transformations took place in the Arab world, Hezbollah’s relationship with most Arab regimes was characterized by a state of dissonance and rivalry due to an essential reason represented by the alliance and subordination of these regimes to the American project in the region. This same project is strictly rejected by Hezbollah as they consider it to be a plan of domination and occupation fabricated by the United States and performed by its main ally, Israel.

Since the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has been divided between two axes; one led by the United States and includes “Israel” and most Arab regimes, and the other led by Iran and contains Syria and various resistance movements in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. During that period, Israel lashed many wars against Lebanon in general, and Hezbollah’s military forces in particular, all of which have been done under a direct and official Arab consent and support. The United States believed in the possibility of establishing “peace” agreements in accordance with its own terms and interests to end the Arab-Israeli conflict especially after the fall of the Soviet Union.

For example, in April 1996, the aggression “Grapes of Wrath”[2] was conducted under the cover of the famous International Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, which called for a “fight against terrorism” through “the support and the coordination of efforts at the bilateral, regional and international levels” in order to “promote the peace process in the Middle East”.[3] But the most severe confrontation was during war of July 2006 when Israel received a direct and clear consent from the Arab officials who in their public statements blamed Hezbollah for the war and considered capturing Israeli soldiers to exchange them with Lebanese prisoners as a costly “adventure”. The Arab position led to a sharp political division inside Lebanon between the forces associated with the American project on one hand, and the national forces supporting the resistance on the other hand. However, it is important to note that the majority of all sects endorsed and supported the position of Hezbollah during that war.[4]

Despite the hostility of the Arab regimes, Hezbollah was committed to a fixed principle that emphasizes on its non-interference in the internal affairs of these countries neither by supporting the opposition or fabricating and promoting security incidents, nor by criticizing the authoritarian practices of these regimes.

Hezbollah was keen to devote priority to its conflict with Israel and hence focused all its resources on it. Despite the restrictions that the Arab regimes were trying to exercise in order to isolate Hezbollah, Hezbollah maintained the stream of communication with the Arab public opinion through extensive relationships with the Arab parties and the prominent and influential personalities, through regular meetings in regional political conferences and syndicalistic bodies ( students, scouts, workers, Academics, intellectuals), social and informational networks. Hezbollah’s massive military achievements and the personality of its secretary general contributed greatly to the huge growth of Hezbollah’s soft power which ultimately enabled it to influence and access the minds and hearts of millions of frustrated Arabs and Muslims all over the Arab world.

Is it possible to link Hezbollah’s power in the field of resistance and the Arab transitions?  The stage of Post-2000 marked the beginning of the actual decline of the American- Israeli project in the region through Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, then from Gaza, then the American predicament in Iraq, and the resounding defeat in the 2006 war in Lebanon. The 2006 War was a USA-Israeli proxy war aimed to hit Hezbollah in an attempt to relieve the pressure from the American forces in Iraq and then create a regional balance of powers which allows Washington to reactivate the American Empire Project.

The 2006 Israeli defeat marked the end of the regional system that the United States dominated and controlled since the beginning of the nineties, and one of its repercussions was the loss of the power practiced by the Arab regimes on the people. These regimes, annexed to Washington lost one of their main pillars of their existence, and grew vulnerable so they only needed a single spark, sparked by Bouazizi’s body in Tunisia, to trigger the fire in many Arab countries. Hence, if Hezbollah, as a crucial and critical part in the axis of the resistance in the region, had not been able to defeat the Israeli- American project, the order forced by Arab officials would have remained strong, cohesive, and without a doubt strongly supported by the American power.

 

 

2. The Beginning of the Transformations: Tunisia and Egypt

The fall of the Tunisian regime and later on Mubarak’s regime in Egypt, which was vital for the security of Israel and U.S influence in the region, served as a great opportunity to Hezbollah’s advancement and thus expressed its support of the people-based revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt which overthrew the dictatorial, pro-American regimes. Hezbollah was hoping that new regimes will support his resistance or at least be non-hostile to it will be established by the masses, especially because of the historical relations between Hezbollah with the main revolutionary movements (Islamic or pro-Arabism) in Egypt and Tunisia.

After the fall of  the Tunisian regime on 14 January 2011, Hezbollah issued the next day an official statement declaring his “ pride and honor in the uprising of the Tunisian people which led it towards freedom … proved that truth comes from the people and materializes by its free will and not by depending on external powers.” Again, and by a similar statement on 11 February 2011, Hezbollah congratulated the Egyptian people for the “historical and glorious victory achieved by its pioneer revolution,” and it considered Mubarak’s fall to be the most important turning point in the Arab transformations. This can be noticed, for example, in a speech for Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, where he said that Egyptians “are our hope and their position and attitude will influence not only Egypt but both the Islamic and Arab world.”[5]

To further discover Hezbollah’s position towards the Arab transformations at its beginning, it is necessary to focus on Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech in the “ceremony of Solidarity with Arab peoples”, namely Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya on 13 March 2011. Sayyed Nasrallah declared clearly the position of Hezbollah, saying that “we are with you, we support you… and ready to give you help and assistance in whatever your interest needs, and it our interest to be beside you.”

First, Sayyed Nasrallah focused on denying that Washington promoted these revolutions because they were against regimes “in coherent with US, regimes that served and still serve the US agenda; regimes that do not form any threat to US policy,” and hence it is illogical for Washington to change those regimes. However, if such uprisings took place in anti-American regimes, accusing Washington of causing it would be a possibility.

At this stage, Hezbollah merely focused on warning the people in the Arab world from the possibility of a hidden foreign, American hand that will attempt to influence the transitional movements and drift them away from the right path under the disguise of traditional slogans of “respecting the peoples’ demands” and “the basic rights.” In his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah clarified that Washington tried first to grant some time to its allies to crash the revolution, but when they failed, it ceded them. According to Sayyed Nasrallah, there were “many goals for the US intervention; to improve its image, to manage the crisis, and to ensure appropriate alternatives were it loses an ally, or to control oil fields.” Sayyed Nasrallah warned the Arabs and encouraged them to test the credibility of the US claims by looking at US’s policies towards Palestine.

 

 

3. Bahrain and Libya: External Intervention and Sectarianism

In both cases, Hezbollah had defined positions for many subjective and specific reasons. In Libya, Hezbollah’s relation with Al-Qazafi regime was very troubled especially after the regime kidnapped Sayyed Mousa Al-Sadder in Libya in 1978 and who is still missing until today.[6] Hezbollah’s position was that of great support to the Libyan revolution from the beginning, however, the intervention of the NATO concerned Hezbollah greatly. Even so, Hezbollah did not directly attack the people’s acceptance of the NATO’s intervention, but rather warned them from the challenges and risks of that intervention. Hezbollah called on the revolutionaries to preserve their independence and national sovereignty, because they are facing “a great achievement by working to protect their wealth from being stolen by the greed of major states.”[7] Hezbollah was hence accused repeatedly by the Libyan regime of fighting beside the revolutionaries. These accusations were denied by Hezbollah as Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed and emphasized on the fact that they took no part in not only Libya but also Yemen, Bahrain, and Egypt.[8]

In Bahrain, the case is different as it is related to the Sectarian division and the majority of people being Shia. Since the beginning of the revolution, Hezbollah declared its support and sympathy with the demands of the revolutionaries who asked for political reformation (and not to change the regime as in other countries). Hezbollah asked and is still asking the regime to react positively with the legitimate demands through dialogue, without the need to turn to violence.

However, the Bahraini regime insisted on the usage of violence against the peaceful protestors, and even used Saudi forces to crash the revolution after portraying it as a conspiracy and a sectarian Shia revolt supported by Iran and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah denied such accusations repeatedly as Sayyed Nasrallah referred to the movements as people-based protests representing the majority of Bahraini people, and considered any sectarian accusation to be a “weapon of the incompetent” in the face of the legitimate demands of the people. Even more, Hezbollah praised the protestors for insisting on using only peaceful means away from violence even after the brutality of the regime forces exceeded the limits.

During this phase, there are many principles that can be concluded about Hezbollah’s position from the Arab Transformations:

1- Supporting the Arab uprisings against the dictatorial and traitor regimes and considering such uprisings as a legitimate right.

2- Encouraging the peaceful means in protesting and abstaining from using violence.

3- Refusing the military intervention of foreign powers.

4- Warning the people from US attempts to influence the transition process and drift it away from the people’s interests towards new forms of colonization, subjection and division.

5- Encouraging mediation, whenever possible, between regimes and oppositions through credible states and regional organizations.

6- Differentiating between regimes that support the resistance and others that depend on US. In the case of the former, Hezbollah called to find a solution between the regime and opposition that accomplishes the popular demands and preserve the role of the regime in supporting the resistance project; this call was even before the Syrian crisis.  In his speech in the ceremony of “Solidarity with Arab Peoples”, Sayyed Nasrallah said “whenever there is a pro-resistance regime and some problems occur in that country, the people of that country should be patient and try to approach the situation in a different way, by dialogue or mediation.”

 

 

4.  The Syrian crisis: A strategic challenge

The eruption of the Syrian crisis posed the most significant challenge for Hezbollah among all the other transformations in the Arab world. This is due not only to the geographic location, but also to the fact that the Syrian regime is a strategic ally of Hezbollah. Syria is a main pivot in the resistance axis as it provides a strategic, logistic, and political support to resistance movements in the region. Therefore, since the early start of the crisis, many American analysts have hasten to discuss the historical opportunity to take Syria out of the resistance axis and to make a major change in a country persisting to lobby allies against Washington.[9]

As the protests started in mid March 2011, Syrian anti-regime dissents and Arabic media have accused Hezbollah of sending fighters to Syria to crack down protests and kill civilians. At the time of these claims, Hezbollah did not state any stance of the crisis.[10] In the beginning, Hezbollah believed that protestors have lawful demands and they should be viewed through dialogue, without the use of violence. Later, Sayyed Nasrallah revealed that Hezbollah tried to be a medium between the two parties but the opposition constantly refused and insisted on toppling the regime.[11] After two months of the crisis, Hezbollah stressed that there are two conditions framing their stance of any public movement. These conditions according to Sayyed Nasrallah are:[12]

Firstly, the stance of this Arab regime regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict and its role in the nation’s central issue; Palestine. The second condition lies in the impossibility of any reformation in the interior level of the regime. Accordingly, “we decide our stance, we have clear criteria and standards, and we don’t have double or variable standards”. Then Sayyed Nasrallah particularly specified the premises of Hezbollah’s stand from the Syrian situation: Supporting the Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian resistance, Syria’s opposition to the American-Israeli project, how the situation in Syria is reflected on Lebanon, the resolutions of “Al-Taef” Agreement, and, most importantly, having the public majority standing clearly with the regime. Based on these points, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed on the importance of maintaining Syria on three levels: regime, army and people by giving the regime a chance to reform. Sayyed Nasrallah also clarified that Lebanese people should not intervene in the Syrian crisis except if positively, and he then denounced the western sanctions on Syria.

As the Syrian crisis went deeper, Hezbollah confirmed their stance but the crisis was taking two opposite directions. Whenever the regime shows positivity towards reformation and encourages dialogue furthermore, the opposition became more violent, sought arms from outsiders, declined any dialogue invitation, and used a sectarian rhetoric against the resistance. This is due to the support of US, Gulf States and Turkey of the opposition groups through funding, arming and sectarian media to the extent that some opposition groups became fully submerged in the American agenda. Such connections were crystal clear in the meetings between the Syrian dissents and Israeli diplomats, and on the social media networks revealing the political tendency of the opposition, especially the outside one. The Syrian internal opposition, known as the National Coordination Committee, keeps independent stances as they decline foreign intervention, any use of violence by both sides, and stress the role of Syria in the resistance project.[13]

 

 

5. Hezbollah in Syria: A Turning Point

Hezbollah kept their stance even after a year and a half of the crisis. During that period, they tried to distant Lebanon from the consequences of the Syrian situation. Accordingly, Hezbollah understood the principle of neutralization adopted by the Lebanese government in which they took part. This principle states that Lebanon should not be a passage or a repertoire of arms and men fighting in Syria. It also states that Lebanon should not take problematic stances regarding the Syrian situation in the international and regional assemblies. Despite the official commitment to this principle, the Lebanese anti-Syria powers (March 14th coalition and some Salafi groups) kept smuggling arms and fighters from Lebanon to Syria during the entire period of the crisis.[14]

The media campaign against Hezbollah grew more aggressive as the crisis aggravated. Tens of satellite channels (particularly Alarabiya and Aljazeera) and websites focused on giving the conflict a sectarian dimension while accusing Hezbollah of sending fighters to Syria to fight the opposition. As time passed by, a major transformation of the crisis came to the surface as foreigners and radicals started fighting at the side of the opposition. This was accompanied by horrifying massacres committed by these fighters against religious minorities and pro-regime citizens, in addition to kidnapping 11 Muslim Lebanese Shias near the Turkish boarders who were on their way back from a visit to the holy shrines in Iran. This kidnapping case was used as a tool to blackmail and provoke Hezbollah and the entire Shia society. Until this moment, nine of these Lebanese are still being held as hostages.

Two serious developments have emerged in the recent months: The first is the radical groups’ attempt to burn down the Holy Shia shrines in Damascus, resulting in a sectarian grudge in the entire region. The second is the Syrian opposition groups attacking Lebanese villages inside Syria that are inhabited by Shia and Christians in particular, trying to ethnically cleanse the region.[15] In these villages, one can find members and supporters of Hezbollah, hence, Hezbollah’s supporters volunteered to protect these villages as the Lebanese government took no action even after Hezbollah repeatedly called for a governmental intervention that assures the protection of these citizens. In parallel, the regions where the religious shrines are located have witnessed a restricted presence of Hezbollah fighters, who due to the religious and emotional value of these holy places chose to protect them and thus prevent the eruption of major “fetna” (dispute) between Sunni and Shia extremists, as Sayyed Nasrallah argued.[16]

The April 30th speech was critical with regard to the Syrian crisis as Sayyed Nasrallah announced that “during two years full of American, international, regional, Israeli, and European interventions, we reached a decisive conclusion that the aim of what is going on in Syria is not only taking Syria out of the resistance axis as we said before…..the aim is undoubtedly destroying Syria as a state, the Syrian people, community and army.” He directly stated that “Syria has true friends in the region and in the world….these friends will never let Syria fall prey to the US, Israel, and Muslim radicals…this is a fact and not a speculation.” [17]

Before the speech, a website affiliating with Hezbollah has published a photo of Sayyed Nasrallah and Ali Khamenie, the religious mentor of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also a picture of a meeting with Mr. Bogdanov, the assistant of Russian foreign minister. This meeting comes in the light of the clearly increasing coordination between Hezbollah and Russia regarding the Syrian crisis in particular.[18]

Few days after the speech, the Israeli air forces bombarded several targets inside Damascus for the second time during the crisis. This attack further proved the presence of outside agendas, specifically Israel-related, and was viewed by Hezbollah as extra evidence revealing the true nature of the so-called “revolution”. Moreover, on the Resistance and Liberation Day (25-5-2013), Sayyed Nasrallah declared that “the case is no longer a nation revolting against a regime nor a matter of reforms…..we believe that the armed groups present in specific Syrian provinces, particularly near the Lebanese border, impose a serious threat on Lebanon.” Sayyed Nasrallah added, “Syria is the partisan of the resistance; the resistance cannot stand motionless while its ally is targeted; if we did, we will be idiots”. If the resistance did not interfere in Syria, Israel would have raged a war against Lebanon and force its conditions after Syria’s fall.

At this stage, Hezbollah announced that the conflict in Syria is their conflict and they will intervene whenever it is necessary and possible.[19] News spread that the Syrian army along with Hezbollah has took control on “Al-Qusair” city and its entire countryside along the Lebanese boarders, depriving the armed militias from a strategic and logistic smuggling passage to and from Lebanon.[20]

With time, Hezbollah’s stand regarding the Syrian crisis has progressively altered as the image of the conflict and the intentions of the players got clearer. This made it possible for Hezbollah to gradually intervene in the Syrian crisis until they took a major role in the field equation. This intervention aims to establish a balance of power in the battle field, and which may eventually push the “opposition” into participating in the Geneva II negotiations and stop betting on the possibility of toppling the regime using military force.

 

 

Conclusion:

The opponents of Hezbollah used, with partial success, the Syrian crisis to create sectarian tensions aiming to isolate Hezbollah from the Sunni sphere in this important transition moment. Hezbollah recognizes this dilemma very well and this is clear in its discourse as almost every speech for Sayyed Nasrallah mentions this point.

Regardless the nature of the Syrian crisis, Hezbollah continues to support Arab uprisings and approach it positively; in other words, the Syrian crisis and its impacts on Hezbollah did not push it to clash with the people, but it drew a clear line between genuine revolutionary movements and the Syrian crisis. Hezbollah approaches the conflict in Syria as a political-strategic conflict and not a sectarian or ethnic one. For that, Hezbollah asserts on the importance of political reform in Syria as an internal issue, and refuses any external military intervention that only aims to protect and serve the American agenda in the region.

In return, these transformations presented many opportunities; it overthrew major pro-American regimes without the US being able to bring new stable regimes, the durability of the Syrian state in the regional balance of power even if it became less effective and less powerful, the presence of national and pro-Arabism parties in the region with close relations with Hezbollah, and also the positive role of a wide range of moderate Islamic parties and personalities that refuse the sectarian discourse and support the resistance.

Moreover, the current high sectarian tension in the region is related directly to the Syrian Crisis, which means that the sectarian wave will reach its end when the Syrian conflict ends. Consequently, Hezbollah will be able to restore large parts of the sectarian cleft between him and the moderate Sunnis in the Arab world who still believe in the essentiality of resisting Israel.

As stated in this paper, from the beginning of the “Arab Spring” and up until today, Hezbollah’s position was and continues to be based on clear standards that are in coherence with its nature and project; the people’s right to freedom, the necessity for political reform and social justice, the priority being for dialogue and peaceful means, the refusal of external interventions, and the importance of facing any factors that might threat the resistance.

Despite all the changes in the region, Hezbollah continues to assert the priority of its resistance against Israel, and Sayyed Nasrallah emphasizes on his hope that the new Arab regimes would take part in supporting the people’s choice in resistance especially the Palestinian people.[21] Finally, Hezbollah believes that there shall never be freedom, dignity, sovereignty, prosperity, security and stability in the Middle East under the American hegemony and the Israeli occupation; both of which are projected in the dictatorships present in the regimes of various Arab countries.

 

 


[1] Hosam Matar is a Lebanese researcher in International Relations, he is a PhD candidate at Metropolitan University Prague in International Relations and European Studies, and his main fields of interest are, US foreign policy in the Middle East, Iran and regional politics.

[2] The aggression lasted for 16 days, and caused the killing of 150 Lebanese civilian, 100 of them were killed when Israeli forces bombed a UN military camp in “Qana” village where civilians used as a shelter. During this war, Hezbollah succeeded to stop the Israeli land forces from progressing and continued to lunch rockets on Israeli settlements in North Occupied Palestine until the last minutes before cease fire agreement was applied in 27 April 1996. This military balance obliged Israel to accept the cease fire agreement that included a condition to abstain from attacking civilian areas.

[3] The summit was held as the “International Summit for Peacemakers in the Middle East” on 13 March 1996, with wide international and Arab attendance, while Lebanon and Syria refused to attend it

[4] According to one survey published in 25 August 2006 and conducted by “Beirut Center of Researches and Information”, 84,6% of Lebanese considered that the war was preset by Israel and not because of Hezbollah’s capturing of the two Israeli soldiers,  and 72% considered that Hezbollah won the war. The full results of this survey is available on this link http://www.alhiwar.info/topic.asp?catID=21&Nb=100

 

[5] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speech in the ceremony of  “Solidarity with Arab peoples”, that organized by Hezbollah on 13\3\2011.

[6] Sayyed Mousa Al-Sadder is a notable Lebanese Shia clerk, he hold the greatest role in establishing resistance against Israel in the 1970th.During an Official visit to Libya with two of his assistance, Al-Qazafi’s regime kidnapped him, and even the regime tried to claim the Sayyed Mousa left to Italy, but all the evidence proves that Al-Qazafi personally ordered the operation for his regional interests at that time.

[7] An official declaration issued by the office of media relations of Hezbollah after the fall of Al-Qazafi regime, in 21 October 2011

[8] Look for example, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah Speech in the ceremony of “Resistance and Liberation Day”, in 25 May 2011

[9]  Andrew J. Tabler, Syria’s Turn, The Washington Institute, Policy Alert, 15 March 2011. Available at: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/policy-alert-syrias-turn

[10] For example, from the first week, the Syrian opposition Mamoun Al-Homsi appeared on Alarabiya channel and accused thousands of Hezbollah fighters entered the “Omiya big Mosque” in Damascus and attacked the protesters. In response, the head of media relations office In Hezbollah called the channel and denied these charges, after being repeated for many days.

[11] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared repeatedly that he personally talked with the Syrian president at the beginning of the crisis about political reforms  and to talk with the opposition, and Al-Assad approved but the opposition refused that. Look for Example, Nasrallah’s speech at a ceremony ( The Resistance and Liberation Day) in 25 May 2013, available at:http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=95030&cid=23&fromval=1

[12] Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech at the ceremony of “The Resistance and Liberation Day” in 25 May 2013

 

[13] The National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change is a Syrian bloc that constitutes from many Syrian parties, groups and independent personalities from inside and outside Syria. The Committee is considered a main group in the Syrian opposition, it was established in 6 November 2011. It includes many important Syrian figures as Haytham Manna and Hassan Abdel Azim, and there is close relations between Hezbollah and many figures within the Committee, since before the crisis, which promoted the communications and dialogue between the two sides with mutual acceptance.

[14] The most famous attempt is when the Lebanese authorities captured a ship (Lotf-Allah ship) contains toms of weapons at Tripoli Port in North Lebanon, and it was intended to be sent to the Syrian opposition.

[15] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah talked about this point in a television speech in 28 February 2013, and asked the Lebanese state to ask Saudi Arabia and Qatar which support the military opposition to prevent the opposition fighters from attacking these villages.

[16] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared this for the first time in a television speech on 30 April 2013.

[17] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speech at the ceremony for “Al-Nou” Radio station, on 9 May 2013

[18] In 19 October 2011, a delegation from Hezbollah headed by Mohammad Raad (Head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc) visited Moscow for three days and met High Russian officials, in addition to regular meetings between Hezbollah’s officials and Russian ambassador in Lebanon.

[19] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech at the ceremony of “The Resistance and Liberation Day” in 25 May 2013. Available at: http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=95030&cid=23&fromval=1

[20] About Hezbollah’s motives to fight in Syria, see also : Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Hezbollah fighting in Syria to defend Lebanon from bloodbath, Russia Today, 26 June 2013. Available at: http://rt.com/op-edge/hezbollah-syria-conflict-target-255/

 

[21] For example see, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speech at the ceremony of “Solidarity with Gaza” on 19 October 2012.

 

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