The opposition Syrian National Council is willing to work with Hezbollah, the
council’s leader said on Wednesday, provided the extremist group does not
interfere with democratic change in Syria.
“There are no permanent
enmities in politics [just] as there are no permanent friendships. Alliances are
built on goals,” Burhan Ghalioun told the Algerian newspaper
“If Hezbollah decided to support the democratic process in
Syria, there would not be any barrier” to negotiations, he said. “We will not
sacrifice Hezbollah if Hezbollah does not sacrifice us as a people and as a
“Hezbollah’s greatest popularity in the past in the Arab world
was in Syria because it did a glorious job when it stood against Israel,”
“But the people are now having doubts about it because it
has adopted a clear stance, supporting an oppressive regime that is using all
kinds of violence.”
Hezbollah is closely allied with Syrian President
Bashar Assad, whose regime stands accused of killing at least 6,000 of its own
citizens over the course of the uprising that began last year. The Lebanon-based
group is a close ally of Iran, and widely viewed as an arm of the Islamic
Republic’s Revolutionary Guards. Syrian witnesses and activists have accused
both Hezbollah and Iran of sending forces to participate in Assad’s
Ghalioun’s latest remarks stand in contrast to comments he
made in December that a post-Assad Syria would cut ties with the Iranian axis,
“The current relationship between Syria and Iran is
abnormal,” Ghalioun told The Wall Street Journal at the time.
relations with Iran change, so too will our relationship with
Hezbollah after the fall of the Syrian regime will not be the
same. Lebanon should not be used as it was used in the Assad era as an arena to
settle political scores.”
The new comments also contradict remarks made
by council member Muhieddine Ladkani, who on Tuesday accused Hezbollah of
preventing aid from reaching the Syrian people.
“Hezbollah members are
present on the Syrian- Lebanese border to prevent the [transfer] of aid to the
Syrians,” Ladkani told Al Jazeera television.
Writing last week for the
website Salon, Middle East analyst Amira Galal noted that Hezbollah is finding
itself increasingly irrelevant, and may opt to launch a war against Israel in a
bid to regain the spotlight.
“It is possible that Hezbollah may look to
find solutions to its waning popularity... by preemptively launching a strike
against Israel,” Galal wrote.
Two weeks ago, Hezbollah chief Hassan
Nasrallah delivered a speech, warning, “We have arms and they are increasing [in
number]. We have well-known weapons and there are others that are hidden and
unknown. We are hiding them because we need to protect our country and prepare
surprises for the Israelis.”