Hezbollah chief admits his group's presence in Iraq for first time

“We may not have spoken about Iraq before, but we have a limited presence because of the sensitive phase that Iraq is going through.”

February 17, 2015 09:28
1 minute read.
Hassan Nasrallah

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Lebanon’s Shi'ite movement Hezbollah is fighting the Islamic State, its chief, Hassan Nasrallah, revealed in a speech to supporters in southern Beirut, AFP reported on Monday.

“We may not have spoken about Iraq before, but we have a limited presence because of the sensitive phase that Iraq is going through,” Nasrallah said in reference to ongoing clashes between Iraqi troops, several militias and Kurdish forces against ISIS.

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Hezbollah is already fighting in Syria, alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Nasrallah’s speech comes two days after his leading Lebanese opponent, Saad Hariri, called on Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria.

“I say to those who call on us to withdraw from Syria, let’s go together to Syria,” said Nasrallah.

“I say, come with us to Iraq, and to any place where we can fight this threat that is threatening our (Muslim) nation and our region,” he added.

Nasrallah's speech came just over a week after Hezbollah, the Syrian army and pro-regime militias launched a major offensive against rebels and their Nusra Front allies in southern Syria.

Nasrallah meanwhile said it made no sense for unnamed Gulf countries -- in an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia and Qatar -- as well as Jordan to fight ISIS, while allegedly supporting the Nusra Front.

Hezbollah, like Assad's regime, brands all those fighting Damascus as "terrorists." Neither recognizes the presence of non-jihadist groups seeking Assad's ouster.

"How can some countries in the Gulf take part in the (US-led) international coalition against ISIS, while giving money and weapons to the Nusra Front... How is that logical?" he said.

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