Featured image: Hezbollah resistance movement combatants in a military parade.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) designated the Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Meanwhile, several GCC member States, most prominently Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Israel use Jabhat Al-Nusrah to weaken Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The Syrian government responded to the GCC’s decision to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, stating that the decision reflects Saudi confusion and represents an attempt to hijack the will of the Arab people in the Gulf countries who reject normalization and establishing ties with Israel. Iran likewise condemned the decision to designate Tehran’s strongest ally in Lebanon as terrorist organization. The Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry commented:
“In a step that is in line with Israeli policy, the GCC issued a decision classifying Hezbollah a terrorist organization because it is confronting the Zionist project in the region and the Israeli enemy through its great sacrifices which have resonated across the Arab and Muslim nations.”
Confusion of Principles?
Image: The UNDOF withdrawal leaves a 12 – 16 km wide corridor uncontrolled by the UNDOF. In 2013 it transpired that Israel is providing support for Jabhat al-Nusrah, which includes a joint intelligence and military operations room in the Israeli occupied Golan, logistic support, weapons, field hospitals, and direct combat support. (Map plotting by Christof Lehmann) Click on map to view full size.
Hezbollah is a lawfully registered political party in Lebanon that maintains a militia that is lawful according to Lebanese law. Hezbollah is operating in parts of the Syrian Arab Republic with the permission of the Syrian government. It coordinates its military operations in the Syrian Arab Republic with the lawful government, with the Syrian Arab Army and with the Syrian National Self Defense Forces. It does so, arguably, not because Hezbollah or Iran necessarily endorse a secular government in Syria, but because Syria constitutes an important strategic ally for Hezbollah and for Iran.
Ironically, Hezbollah is being threatened by the Qatari and Saudi Arabia sponsored Syrian Al-Qaeda franchise Jabhat Al-Nusrah, which has been declared as a terrorist organization by the UN Security Council. Jabhat Al Nusrah is also being supported by Israel, which facilitates Jabhat Al-Nusrah’s access to the Lebanese Bekaa Valley via the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
Saudi Arabia intensified its support of Jabhat Al-Nusrah’s presence in Lebanon in 2013. On Monday, October 14, 2013, the Chairman of the Lebanese Arab Democratic Party, Rifaat Eid, warned that Saudi Arabia was planning to “burn Lebanon in retaliation is Hezbollah intervened in the battle for the Qalamoun region”. Lebanon´s Arab Democratic Party maintains close ties to the Syrian Arab Baath Party. During a news conference, Rifaat Eid said:
« Saudi Arabia is running the battle in Qalamoun and we have information that it (Saudi Arabia) has warned Hezbollah against participating in the battle (because) it will cost (Hezbollah) a lot in the Bekaa and even in the North of Lebanon”.
Israel also chose to upscale its support of Jabhat Al-Nusrah in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights under humanitarian cover, designating them as Syrian freedom fighters.
Tel Aviv pursues three strategic goals with the support of Jabhat Al-Nusrah via the Golan Heights.
- To weaken Syria.
- To weaken its most potent adversary in Lebanon, Hezbollah.
- To weaken Iran and Iranian regional influence.
Also in 2013, Israeli machinations resulted in the withdrawal of UNDOF troops from a 12 – 16 kilometer-wide corridor in the buffer zone in the Golan. (see map) The move provided access to both Syria and to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley via the likewise Israeli occupied Lebanese Sheba Farm area.