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Qassem Qassir

Hezbollah's strategy in Qalamoun

Hezbollah stands by its Syria campaign despite expecting violent retaliations in the wake of Qalamoun

The Iranian Embassy explosion
Hezbollah stands by its colors
Qalamoun map. (NOW)

Against a backdrop of the new developments regarding the start of the Qalamoun battle in Syria’s Qara and the twin blasts that rocked Jnah near the Iranian Embassy in Dahiyeh, sources close to Hezbollah reported that the party is committed to its decision to fight in Syria and is leading the Qalamoun battle based on a new strategy of slowly munching away from the media spotlight even as it predicts new explosive attacks in various Lebanese regions.

 

According to these informed sources, Hezbollah operatives’ strategy in the Qalamoun campaign is different from the one implemented in the Qusayr battle. The current offensive is calm and slow, focusing on eating away at villages and regions gradually rather than launching a lightning-fast, direct attack, as was the case in the battle for Qusayr and its province.

 

The mountainous geography of the vast Qalamoun region – in contrast with the provinces of Homs and Qusayr – calls for different military tactics based on besieging each individual village and town in order to bring them down thanks to continuous pressure, the sources said.

 

On the political and media levels, “the battle is dealt with calmly away from the spotlight. The results of battles are only addressed once the battles occur, which mitigates Arab and international reactions and pressure, especially as world attention is now focusing on the negotiations between Iran and the international community on [the Iranian] nuclear issue in preparation of the Geneva II Conference.”

 

Commenting on the repercussions of this battle for Lebanon, the sources argued that “these repercussions are less [serious] than expected and limited to the displaced Syrian nationals in Arsal, an issue that puts pressure on pro-opposition Syrian towns and those allied with them, which also prompts them to speed up the process of evacuating the towns and averting a strong confrontation.”

 

The sources did not mention any conclusive date for the end of the Qalamoun battle. Yet, they explained, “the battle will be settled prior to the Geneva conference and the snow season as the field situation would still be comfortable and the casualties less numerous than originally expected.”

 

On the security level, the sources predicted “new attempted explosive attacks in some regions,” which was indeed the case today near the Iranian Embassy in Beirut even though stringent security measures put in place during the Ashura commemorations successfully unmasked many attempted attacks, prompting perpetrators to abandon their planned operations. 

 

This article is a translation from the original Arabic.

The Iranian Embassy explosion's early aftermath.

"The battle is dealt with calmly away from the spotlight. The results of battles are addressed merely once the battles occur, which mitigates Arab and international reactions and pressure, especially as world attention is now focusing on the negotiations between Iran and the international community on [the Iranian] nuclear issue in preparation of the Geneva II Conference."