Hezbollah’s deputy leader Naim Qassem said on Lebanese TV at the end of May that
the terror organization is ready to participate in fighting for the Golan.
Speaking in an interview for the Lebanese Mayadeen TV, he referred to recent
reports that Syria was considering opening up a front there.
that the Syrian leadership is serious about opening the Golan
front. After all, it was President Bashar who declared the opening of the
Golan front,” stated Qassem according to a text provided by MEMRI.
added, “When Syria decides to open the Golan front – if it requires anything
from Hezbollah, we will be ready to help anyone conducting resistance against
He said, however, that Hezbollah was not the party that could
open up the fighting on the Syrian front, inferring that Syria would first have
to make that decision, thus relieving the group from actually having to attack
He also referred to Hezbollah’s involvement in Lebanon, stating
that its operations in Syria were “obligatory” and “part of protecting the
Hezbollah has sought to link its involvement in
the Syrian conflict with resistance against Israel to deflect criticism from the
Sunni world that it is involved in a sectarian conflict.
strategy is based on the fact that without President Bashar Assad’s regime, the
group will be cut off from rearmament by Iran and Syria. If Assad falls, the
group would have to depend on smuggling arms by air into Lebanon or by sea,
which makes them easier for Israel to intercept. And for this reason, the
organization, along with Iran, is fully engaged in the conflict.
terrorist group also fears that its internal Lebanese struggle with the other
ethnic groups, mainly the Sunnis that have been supporting the Syrian rebels –
and the Christians – would become more difficult if Assad falls.
Lebanese Hezbollah MK, Nawaf Musawi, echoed this sentiment on Sunday saying that
if the Islamists dominated, Syrian opposition would win, “there will be no more
a Lebanon. Instead, it will be divided, sects will emigrate and massacres will
take place,” according to a report in the Lebanese Daily Star.
massacres seem to have already begun, the latest report coming on Monday of six
killed because of clashes between Sunnis and Alawites in the northern Lebanese
town of Tripoli.
Also on Monday, Hezbollah denounced an attack on an
important Sunni leader, Sheikh Maher Hammoud, blaming the attempt on the
“Zionist enemy,” according to the Daily Star.
In addition, without
Syria’s support, Hezbollah would be more vulnerable to a Sunni jihad against it.
Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, one of the most important Sunni clerics in the
world, called for jihad against Hezbollah and Assad on Saturday.
Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told The
Jerusalem Post that Hezbollah, along with Shi’ite fighters from around the
region, are “spearheading the fight” for Assad’s regime, which has become
dependent on these forces.
Badran says that the very nature of the regime should be questioned, as it has transformed from a junior partner of Iran, to become another militia in Iran's regional archipelago of influence."
The importance of the battles
currently raging in Qusair, Syria, near the border with Lebanon and other towns
in the region is that they are a linchpin, connecting the Alawite enclave of
Syria to the Hezbollah areas of the Bekaa valley in Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s actual strength, Badran believes that its numbers are actually lower
than what some are estimating. He believes that the total number of elite forces
(with and without combat experience) is around 2,000 to 3,000
The fighters without experience may have trained in Iran, but
the organization has lost many fighters with combat experience, and this has
hurt the quality of its forces, he said.
In regard to the possibility of
Hezbollah attacking Israel through the Golan, Badran does not rule it out, but
notes that the group is already stretched on many fronts. It is fighting in
different parts of Syria while also trying to maintain its hold in
The possibility that Hezbollah will try to replicate its network
of tunnels and fortifications on the Syrian side of the border with Israel seems
remote at this point, but Badran thinks it could be more likely that the group
could attack Israel using some kind of front organization, having it fire
rockets into Israel for example. But he says, Israel has gained valuable
intelligence on Hezbollah during this conflict, as it has been able to observe
how it is behaving and take advantage of the stress the group is
It appears therefore that Israel has gained ground on Hezbollah as
a result of the Syrian conflict – the organization has been weakened and
distracted from focusing on Israel. Furthermore, it will probably not risk its
potential victory in Syria at this point by opening up another front against
The same logic can be applied to the case of Syria, hence, the
reluctance of Israel to change its policy.
The status quo is working in
Israel’s favor at the moment.