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Qassem Qassir

Hezbollah mobilizing troops
in southern Lebanon

Sources told NOW that Hezbollah has not yet taken a conclusive decision on the nature and scope of the party’s retaliation

Hezbollah fighters. (AFP/Ramzi Haidar)

Hezbollah has declared a state of alert among its cadres and started deploying troops to southern Lebanon amid mounting expectations of an imminent US-led strike on Syria, party sources told NOW.

 

The Shiite party’s leadership is holding local, regional and international talks to follow up on the nature and results of such a strike, the sources said, adding the party is also taking into consideration all options regarding the manner of dealing with the potential attack.

 

The US and its top Western allies in recent days vowed to take action against the Bashar al-Assad regime after accusing it of being behind the chemical attack outside Damascus last Wednesday that reportedly left hundreds dead.

 

Although President Barack Obama said in an interview with PBS Wednesday he had not yet approved an attack on Syria, reports indicate the US and its Western allies are deploying military assets to the Mediterranean in preparation for a potential strike.

 

Despite the growing reports of an imminent military operation, sources told NOW that Hezbollah has not yet taken a conclusive decision on the nature and scope of the party’s retaliation.

 

The party's leadership is keeping all options open in following-up and coordinating with its allies in Iran, Syria and Russia, the sources added.

 

However, they claimed a Western strike on Syria would not harm Hezbollah’s status in Lebanon because the Shiite party is strong in Lebanon and has extensive popular and political capacities.

 

Anyone betting in Lebanon on weakening the party due to the strike on Syria would be mistaken and delusional, they added.

 

On Wednesday, Hezbollah’s caretaker Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan said that his party was monitoring the situation in Syria and would respond with “the necessary action at the appropriate time.”

“Hezbollah is following up with the issue and observing and will take the necessary action at the appropriate time,” Hajj Hassan told Al-Mayadeen television.

 

Hezbollah’s top ally, Iran, has issued in the past week a series of implicit threats and warnings over a potential strike against Syria, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warning any “US intervention will be a disaster for the region.”

 

“The region is like a gunpowder depot. [Its] future cannot be predicted,” he added in an address Wednesday.

 

Hezbollah has thrown its weight behind the embattled Assad and sent its militants to Syria to fight on the side of the regime against rebels. The leader of the Shiite party publicly linked his group’s fate to that of the regime in a speech in May and vowed that Hezbollah would emerge victorious in the fighting in Syria.

 

This article is a translation of the original Arabic.

Hezbollah fighters marching during a parade in Nabatiyeh. (AFP/Ramzi Haidar)

The party's leadership is keeping all options open in following-up and coordinating with its allies in Iran, Syria and Russia.

  • garybkatz

    If I were Hassan Nasrallah, I'd do everything in my power to avoid a military confrontation with Israel, considering that 10,000 Hezbollah fighters are tied up in Syria right now.

    August 30, 2013