How Did Hezbollah Respond to the Arab Transformations?

Hosam Matar

Lebanese researcher at the “Consultative Center For Studies & Documentation” and still completing his PhD studies at Metropolitan University Prague in International Relations and European Studies. His main fields of interest are US foreign policy in the Middle East, Iran, and regional politics.

Introduction

In this moment of historical reconstruction, the Middle East is facing severe conflicts and massive transformations embodied in what is generally known as the “Arab Spring”, which has led to the fall of a few Arab regimes (Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya), inflicted minor changes in some (as Yemen), and is under way to take place in others (Syria, Bahrain). However, even in the countries with new regimes, tensions and clashes are still dominating the political scene as new movements are springing up, making it impossible to clearly define the final form of these regimes.

The entire region is going through a transitional moment, and stability won’t prevail for many long months. The future of the region mainly depends on the positions of, and the policies taken by, all the major regional and international powers in response to the current changes. Consequently, due to Hezbollah’s regional influence, leverage, and power, it is of great importance to understand its assessment, position, and approach towards the Arab transformations.

How did Hezbollah approach these transformations? What were the bases upon which the approach was founded? How did these transformations change the strategic environment with respect to Hezbollah’s agenda of fighting Israel? What are the opportunities and threats that Hezbollah may face in such a transitional moment? This paper aims to discover Hezbollah’s position towards the “Arab Spring” that began two years ago in Tunisia and then moved on to Egypt before spreading toward many other Arab countries. The paper will focus on truly understanding the variables that controlled Hezbollah’s position towards such transformations, and then offer a thorough observation on how this position was, and still is,changing as the true milestones of the movements and the role of foreign powers became clearer.

1. Hezbollah and the Arab regimes: A Historical approach

Before the transformations took place in the Arab world, Hezbollah’s relationship with most of the Arab regimes was characterized by a state of dissonance and rivalry that was essentiallydue to the alliance and subordination of those regimes to the American project in the region. This project is strictly rejected by Hezbollah as being considered a plan of domination and occupation fabricated by the United States and carried out by its main ally, Israel.

Since the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has been divided between two axes; one led by the United States and including “Israel” and most Arab regimes, and the other led by Iran and containing Syria andvarious resistance movements in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. At the time, Israel waged many wars against Lebanon in general, and Hezbollah military forces in particular, with all of them being waged under direct and official Arab consent and support. The United States was likely to establish “peace” agreements in accordance with its own terms and interests to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union.

For example, in April 1996, the “Grapes of Wrath”[1]act of aggression was conducted under the cover of the famous International Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, which called for a “fight against terrorism” through “the support and the cahoots at the bilateral, regional and international levels” in order to “promote the peace process in the Middle East”.[2] But the most severe confrontation was during the July 2006 war when Israel received a direct and clear consent from the Arab officials, who in their public statements, blamed Hezbollah for the war and considered the capturing of Israeli soldiers toexchange them for Lebanese prisoners as a costly “adventure”. The Arab position led to a sharp political division inside Lebanon between the forces associated with the American project on the one hand, and the national forces supporting the resistance on the other. However, it is worthnotingthat the majority of all sects endorsed and supported the position of Hezbollah during the war.[3]

Despite the hostility of the Arab regimes, Hezbollah was committed to a fixed principle that emphasized its non-interference in the internal affairs of these countries, and it did not support the opposition, fabricate and/or promote security incidents, or criticize the authoritarian practices of those regimes.

Hezbollah was keen to devote priority to its conflict with Israel and spared no effort to achieve this goal. Despite the restrictions that the Arab regimes were trying to exercise in order to isolate Hezbollah, the latter maintained the stream of communication with the Arab public through extensive relationships with Arab parties and prominent and influential personalities, holding regular meetings in regional political conferences and syndicalist bodies (students, scouts, workers, academics, intellectuals), and utilizing social and information networks. Hezbollah’s massive military achievements and the personality of its secretary general largelycontributed to the huge growth of Hezbollah’s soft power, which ultimately enabled it to access and influence the minds and hearts of millions of frustrated Arabs and Muslims all over the Arab world.

Is it possible to link Hezbollah’s power in the field of resistance to the Arab transitions?   The post-2000 phase marked the beginning of the actual decline of the American- Israeli project in the region through Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and then from Gaza, followed by the American predicament in Iraq,and the resounding Israeli defeat in the 2006 war in Lebanon. The 2006 War was a USA-Israeli proxy war aimed at Hezbollah in an attempt to relieve pressure from the American forces in Iraq and then create a regional balance of powerto allow Washington to reactivate the American Empire Project.

The 2006 Israeli defeat marked the end of the regional system controlled and dominated by the United States since the beginning of the nineties, and one of its repercussions was the loss of the power exercised by the Arab regimes over their people. These regimes, as well as Washington, lost one of their main pillars of their existence and grew vulnerable;Bouazizi’s body in Tunisiawas enough to spark the flames that triggered the fire in many Arab countries. Hence, if Hezbollah, as a crucial and critical actor in the axis of the resistance in the region, had not been able to defeat the Israeli- American project in 2006, the regimes enforced by Arab officials would have remained strong, cohesive, and without doubt, strongly supported by American power.

2. The Beginning of the Transformations: Tunisia and Egypt

The fall of the Tunisian regime and then Mubarak’s regime in Egypt, which was vital for the security of Israel and U.S influence in the region, afforded a great opportunity for Hezbollah’s advancement, and they thus expressed their support for the people-based revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt that overthrew the dictatorial pro-American regimes. Hezbollah hoped that thenew regimes would support its resistance or at least be non-hostile to it, especially considering the historical relations between Hezbollah and the main revolutionary movements (Islamic or pro-Arabism) in Egypt and Tunisia.

In the aftermath of the fall of  the Tunisian regime on 14 January 2011, Hezbollah issued an official statement the next day declaring its “ pride and honor in the uprising of the Tunisian people which led it towards freedom … proved that truth comes from the people and is materialized by its free will and not by depending on external powers.” Again, and by a similar statement on 11 February 2011, Hezbollah congratulated the Egyptian people for the “historical and glorious victory achieved by its pioneer revolution,” and it considered Mubarak’s fall to be the most important turning point in the Arab transformations. This can be noticed, for example, in a speech bySayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, where he said that Egyptians “are our hope and their position and attitude will influence not only Egypt, but both the Islamic and Arab worlds.”[4]

For more details aboutHezbollah’s position towards the Arab transformations since their beginning, it is necessary to focus on SayyedNasrallah’s speech in the “ceremony of Solidarity with Arab peoples”, namely those of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya, on 13 March 2011. SayyedNasrallahclearly declared the position of Hezbollah by saying that “we are with you, we support you… and ready to help and assistall your interests, and we are interested to be beside you.”

First, SayyedNasrallah focused on denying that Washington promoted these revolutions by stating they were carried out against regimes that were in alignment with the US, regimes that served and still serve the US agenda, and which do not form any threat to US policy. Accordingly, it is illogical for Washington to change those regimes. However, if such uprisings took place in anti-American regimes, accusing Washington of causing it would be a possibility.

At this stage, Hezbollah merely focused on warning the people across the Arab world of the possibility of a hidden, foreign American hand that will grab every opportunity to influence the transitional movements and stray them away from their proper path under the guise of traditional slogans about “respecting the peoples’ demands” and “the basic rights.” In his speech, SayyedNasrallah clarified that Washington first tried to grant some time to its allies to crush the revolutions, but when they failed, it withdrew its support. According to SayyedNasrallah, there were “many goals for the US intervention:to improve its image, to manage the crisis, and to ensure appropriate alternatives if it loses an ally, or to control oil fields.” SayyedNasrallah warned the Arabs and encouraged them to test the credibility of the US claims by looking at US’s policies towards Palestine.

3. Bahrain and Libya: External Intervention and Sectarianism

In both cases, Hezbollah had defined positions for many subjective and specific reasons. In Libya, Hezbollah’s relations with the Gaddafi regime were very troubled, especially after the regime kidnapped SayyedMousa Al-Sadder, who is still missing today, in Libya in 1978[5]. Hezbollah’s position was that of great support to the Libyan revolution from the beginning, however, the intervention of NATO greatly concerned Hezbollah. Even so, Hezbollah did not directly attack the people’s acceptance of NATO’s intervention, but rather warned them of the challenges and risks stemming from that intervention. Hezbollah called on the revolutionaries to preserve their independence and national sovereignty because they are facing “a great achievement by working to protect their wealth from being stolen by the greed of major states.”[6] Hezbollah was hence repeatedly accused by the Libyan regime of fighting beside the revolutionaries. These accusations were denied by Hezbollah, as SayyedNasrallah confirmed and emphasized on the fact that they took no part in not only Libya, but also in Yemen, Bahrain, and Egypt.[7]

In Bahrain, the case is different, as it is related to the sectarian division and the majority of the citizenry being Shia. Since the beginning of the revolution, Hezbollah declared its support and sympathy with the demands of the revolutionaries who asked for political reform (and not to change the regime as in other countries). Hezbollah asked (and is still asking) the regime to react positively to the legitimate demands through dialogue, without the need to resort to violence.

The Bahraini regime, however, insisted on the use of violence against the peaceful protestors and even used Saudi forces to crush the revolution after portraying it as a conspiracy and a sectarian Shia revolt supported by Iran and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah repeatedly denied such accusations, as SayyedNasrallah referred to the movements as people-based protests representing the majority of the Bahraini people, and he considered any sectarian accusation to be a “weapon of the incompetent” in the face of the legitimate demands of the people. Even more, Hezbollah praised the protestors for insisting on only using peaceful means instead of violence, despite the excessive brutality of the regime forces.

During this phase, there are many principles that can be concluded about Hezbollah’s position during the Arab Transformations:

1- Supporting the Arab uprisings against the dictatorial and traitor regimes and considering such uprisings as a legitimate right.

2- Encouraging peaceful means of protest and abstaining from the use of violence.

3- Refusing the military intervention of foreign powers.

4- Warning the people about US attempts to influence the transition process and drift it away from the people’s interests towards new forms of colonization, subjection, and division.

5- Encouraging mediation, whenever possible, between regimes and opposition groups through credible states and regional organizations.

6- Differentiating between regimes that support the resistance and others that depend on the US. In the case of the first, Hezbollah advocates the finding of a solution between the regime and the opposition that accomplishes the popular demands and preserves the role of the regime in supporting the resistance project. This call was even in effect before the Syrian Crisis.  In his speech at the ceremony of “Solidarity with Arab Peoples”, SayyedNasrallah said “whenever there is a pro-resistance regime and some problems occur in that country, the people of that country should be patient and try to approach the situation in a different way, by dialogue or mediation.”

4.  The Syrian Crisis: A strategic challenge

The eruption of the Syrian Crisis posed the most significant challenge for Hezbollah among all the other transformations in the Arab world. This is due not only to geographic location, but also to the fact that the Syrian regime is a strategic ally of Hezbollah. Syria is a main pivot in the resistance axis as it provides strategic, logistic, and political support to resistance movements in the region. Therefore, since the early start of the crisis, many American analysts have hastened to discuss the historical opportunity to take Syria out of the resistance axis and to make a major change in a country persisting to lobby allies against Washington.[8]

As the protests started in mid-March 2011, Syrian anti-regime dissenters and Arab media have accused Hezbollah of sending fighters to Syria to crack down on protests and kill civilians. At the time, Hezbollah did not state any stance on the crisis.[9] In the beginning, Hezbollah believed that the protestors had lawful demands and that they should be dealt with through dialogue, without the use of violence. Later, SayyedNasrallah revealed that Hezbollah tried to be a medium between the two parties, but the opposition constantly refused and insisted on toppling the regime.[10] After two months of the crisis, Hezbollah stressed that there are two conditions framing their stance towards any public movement. These conditions according to SayyedNasrallah are:[11]

Firstly, the stance of this Arab regime regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict and its role in the nation’s central issue – Palestine. The second condition lies in the impossibility of any reform in the domestic level of the regime. Accordingly, “we decide our stance, we have clear criteria and standards, and we don’t have double or variable standards”. Then SayyedNasrallah particularly specified the premises of Hezbollah’s stancetowards the Syrian situation: Supporting the Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian resistance, Syria’s opposition to the American-Israeli project, how the situation in Syria is reflected on Lebanon, the resolutions of the “Al-Taef” Agreement, and most importantly, having the public majority clearly standing with the regime. Based on these points, SayyedNasrallah stressed the importance of maintaining Syria on three levels: regime, army, and people, by giving the regime a chance to reform. SayyedNasrallah also clarified that the Lebanese people should not intervene in the conflict whether negatively or positively, and he then denounced the Western sanctions on Syria.

As the Syrian Crisis plungedeven deeper, Hezbollah confirmed its stance, but the crisis was taking two opposite directions. Whenever the regime displayed an inclination towards reform and encouraged dialogue, the opposition became more violent, sought arms from outside the country, declined any dialogue invitations, and used a sectarian rhetoric against the resistance. This is due to the support thatthe US, the Gulf States, and Turkey provide to the opposition groups through funding, arms, and sectarian media, to the extent that some opposition groups have become fully submerged in the American agenda. Such connections were crystallized in the meetings between the Syrian dissents and Israeli diplomats, and on the social media networks revealing the political tendency of the opposition, especially the one located outside of Syria. The Syrian internal opposition, known as the National Coordination Committee, retainsan independent stance, as they don’t support foreign intervention, are against any use of violence by either sides, and stress the role of Syria in the resistance project.[12]

5. Hezbollah in Syria: A Turning Point

Hezbollah kept its stance even after a year and a half of the crisis. During that period, it tried to distance Lebanon from the consequences of the Syrian situation. Accordingly, Hezbollah understood the principle of neutrality adopted by the Lebanese government in which it took part. This principle states that Lebanon should not be a passage or a repertoire of arms and men fighting in Syria. It also states that Lebanon should not take problematic stances regarding the Syrian situation in the international and regional assemblies. Despite the official commitment to this principle, the Lebanese forces conspiring against Syria (March 14th forces) kept smuggling arms and fighters from Lebanon to Syria during the entire period of the crisis.[13]

The media campaign against Hezbollah became more aggressive as the crisis aggravated. Dozens of satellite channels (particularly Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera) and websites focused on giving the conflict a sectarian dimension while accusing Hezbollah of sending fighters to Syria to fight the opposition. As time passed, a major transformation of the crisis emerged as foreigners and radicals started fighting on the side of the opposition. This was accompanied by horrifying massacres committed by these fighters against religious minorities and pro-regime citizens, in addition to the kidnapping of 11 Muslim Lebanese Shias near the Turkish border who were on their way back from a visit to holy shrines in Iran. This kidnapping case was used as a tool to blackmail and provoke Hezbollah and the entire Shia society, and as of now, nine of these Lebanese are still being held as hostages.

Two serious developments emerged in recent months: the first is the radical groups’ attempt to burn down the Holy Shia shrines in Damascus, resulting in a sectarian grudge in the entire region; the second is the Syrian opposition groups attacking Lebanese villages inside Syria that are inhabited by Shia and Christians in particular, in an attempt to ethnically cleanse the region.[14] In these villages, one can find members and supporters of Hezbollah, hence, Hezbollah’s supporters volunteered to protect these villages as the Lebanese government took no action, despite Hezbollah repeatedly calling for a government intervention to assure the protection of these citizens. In parallel, the regions where the religious shrines are located have witnessed an increased presence of Hezbollah fighters who, due to the religious and emotional value of these holy places, chose to protect them and thus prevent the eruption of major “fetna” (sedition) between Sunni and Shia extremists, as SayyedNasrallahhas argued.[15]

The April 30th speech was critical with regard to the Syrian crisis, as SayyedNasrallah announced that “during two years full of American, international, regional, Israeli, and European interventions, we reached a decisive conclusion that the aim of what is going on in Syria is not only taking Syria out of the resistance axis as we said before…..the aim is undoubtedly destroying Syria as a state, the Syrian people, community and army.” He directly stated that “Syria has true friends in the region and in the world….these friends will never let Syria fall prey to the US, Israel, and Muslim radicals…this is a fact and not a speculation.” [16]

Before the speech, a website affilated with Hezbollah published a photo of SayyedNasrallah and Ali Khamenie, the religious mentor of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also a picture of a meeting with Mr. Bogdanov, the assistant to the Russian foreign minister. This meeting came in light of the clearly increasing coordination between Hezbollah and Russia regarding the Syrian crisis.[17]

A few days after the speech, the Israeli Air Force bombarded several targets inside Damascus for the second time during the crisis. This attack further proved the presence of outside agendas, specifically Israeli-related, and was viewed by Hezbollah as additional evidence revealing the true nature of the so-called “revolution”. Moreover, on the Resistance and Liberation Day (25-5-2013), SayyedNasrallah declared that “the case is no longer a nation revolting against a regime nor a matter of reforms…..we believe that the armed groups present in specific Syrian provinces, particularly near the Lebanese border, impose a serious threat on Lebanon.” SayyedNasrallah added, “Syria is the partisan of the resistance; the resistance cannot stand motionless while its ally is targeted; if we did, we will be idiots”. If the resistance did not interfere in Syria, Israel would have waged a war against Lebanon and dictated its conditions after Syria’s fall.

At this stage, Hezbollah announced that the conflict in Syria is their conflict and they will intervene whenever it is necessary and possible.[18] News spread that the Syrian Army, along with Hezbollah, have taken control of “Al-Qusair” city and its entire countryside along the Lebanese borders, depriving the armed militias of a strategic and logistic smuggling passage to and from Lebanon.[19]

With time, Hezbollah’s stance regarding the Syrian Crisis has progressively altered as the image of the conflict and the intentions of the players became clearer. This made it possible for Hezbollah to gradually intervene in the Syrian Crisis until they took a major role in the field equation. This intervention aims to establish a balance of power in the battlefield, which may eventually push the “opposition” into participating in the Geneva II negotiations and influence them to stop betting on the possibility of toppling the regime using military force.

Conclusion

The opponents of Hezbollah usedthe Syrian Crisis with partial success to create sectarian tensions aiming to isolate Hezbollah from the Sunni sphere during this important transitional moment. Hezbollah recognizes this dilemma very well, and this is clear in its political efforts (for example, religious conferences, political meetings, media coverage, etc.) and discourse, as almost every speech ofSayyedNasrallah mentions this point. In response to the Arab events, Hezbollah developed the department of “Arab Relations”,which has more resources to be able to react to the massive shifts underway in the Arab countries.

Regardless of the nature of the Syrian Crisis, Hezbollah continues to support Arab uprisings and approach them positively; in other words, the Syrian Crisis and its impacts on Hezbollah did not push it to clash with the people, but it drew a clear line between genuine revolutionary movements and the Syrian Crisis. Hezbollah approaches the conflict in Syria as a political-strategic conflict and not a sectarian or ethnic one. For that, Hezbollah asserts the importance of political reform in Syria as an internal issue, and refuses any external military intervention that only aims to protect and serve the American agenda in the region.

Instead, these transformations presented many opportunities; they overthrew major pro-American regimes without the US being able to bring in new stable regimes, the durability of the Syrian state in the regional balance of power has been highlighted even if it became less effective and less powerful, the presence of national and pro-Arabism parties in the region with close relations with Hezbollah has occurred, and also the positive role of a wide range of emergent moderate Islamic parties and personalities that refuse the sectarian discourse and support the resistance.

Moreover, the current high sectarian tension in the region is directly related to the Syrian Crisis, which means that the sectarian wave will reach its end when the Syrian conflict ends. Consequently, Hezbollah will be able to restore large parts of the sectarian cleft between it and the moderate Sunnis in the Arab world who still believe in the essentiality of resisting Israel.

As stated in this paper, from the beginning of the “Arab Spring” and up to the present day, Hezbollah’s position was, and continues to be, based on clear standards that are in coherence with its nature and project; the people’s right to freedom, the necessity for political reform and social justice, the priority for dialogue and peaceful means of protest, the refusal of external interventions, and the importance of confronting any factor that might threaten the resistance.

Despite all the changes in the region, Hezbollah continues to assert the priority of its resistance against Israel, and SayyedNasrallah emphasizes his hope that the new Arab regimes would take part in supporting the people’s choice in resistance, especially among the Palestinian people.[20] Finally, Hezbollah believes that there shall never be freedom, dignity, sovereignty, prosperity, security, and stability in the Middle East under American hegemony and the Israeli occupation, both of which are projected in the dictatorships present in the regimes of various Arab countries.


[1]The aggression lasted for 16 days and caused the killing of 150 Lebanese civilian, 100 of which were killed when Israeli forces bombed a UN military camp in “Qana” village that civilians had been using as a shelter. During this war, Hezbollah succeeded in stopping the Israeli land forces from advancing and continued to launch rockets on Israeli settlements in Northern Occupied Palestine until the last minutes before the ceasefire agreement was applied on 27 April 1996. This military balance obliged Israel to accept the ceasefire agreement that included a condition to abstain from attacking civilian areas.

[2] The summit was held as the “International Summit for Peacemakers in the Middle East” on 13 March 1996, with wide international and Arab attendance, while Lebanon and Syria abstained.

[3]According to one survey published in 25 August 2006 and conducted by the “Beirut Center of Researches and Information”, 84,6% of Lebanese citizens believed that the war was preset by Israel and not because of Hezbollah’s capturing of the two Israeli soldiers,  and 72% considered that Hezbollah won the war. The full results of this survey are available on this link: http://www.alhiwar.info/topic.asp?catID=21&Nb=100

 

[4]Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech in the ceremony of “Solidarity with Arab peoples” was organized by Hezbollah on 13\3\2011.

[5]SayyedMousa Al-Sadder is a notable Lebanese Shia cleric whoheld the greatest role in establishing resistance against Israel in the 1970s.During an official visit to Libya with two of his assistants, Gaddafi’s regime kidnapped him, and the regime even tried to claim the he left to Italy, but all the evidence proves that Gaddafi personally ordered the operation for his regional interests at that time.

[6]An official declaration issued by the office of media relations of Hezbollah after the fall of Al-Qazafi regime, in 21 October 2011

[7] Look for example, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah Speech in the ceremony of “Resistance and Liberation Day”, in 25 May 2011

[8]Andrew J. Tabler, Syria’s Turn, The Washington Institute, Policy Alert, 15 March 2011. Available at: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/policy-alert-syrias-turn

[9] For example, from the first week, the Syrian opposition representative Mamoun Al-Homsi appeared on the Al Arabiya channel and accused thousands of Hezbollah fighters of entering the “Omiya big Mosque” in Damascus and attacking the protesters there. In response, the head of the media relations office for Hezbollah called the channel and denied these charges, which had already been repeatedly broadcast for many days.

[10]Sayyed Hassan Nasrallahrepeatedly declared that he personally spoke with the Syrian President at the beginning of the crisis about political reforms and to urge him to talk with the opposition. Al-Assad accepted to do so, whereas the opposition refused. As an example, reference Nasrallah’s speech at a ceremony ( The Resistance and Liberation Day) in 25 May 2013, available at:http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=95030&cid=23&fromval=1

[11]SayyedNasrallah’s speech at the ceremony of “The Resistance and Liberation Day” in 25 May 2013

 

[12]The National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change is a Syrian bloc that constitutes many Syrian parties, groups, and independent personalities from inside and outside of Syria. The Committee is considered a main group in the Syrian opposition, and it was established on 6 November 2011. It includes many important Syrian figures such as Haytham Manna and Hassan Abdel Azim, and there are close relations between Hezbollah and many figures within the Committee, even from before the crisis, which in turn promoted communication and dialogue between the two sides with mutual acceptance.

[13] The most famous attempt is when the Lebanese authorities captured a ship (Lotf-Allah ship) containing tons of weapons at the port of Tripoli in Northern Lebanonwhich was intended to be sent to the Syrian opposition.

[14]Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah talked about this point in a television speech in 28 February, 2013 and asked the Lebanese state to ask Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which support the military opposition, to prevent the opposition fighters from attacking these villages.

[15]Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared this for the first time in a television speech on 30 April, 2013.

[16]Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech at the ceremony for the “Al-Nou” Radio station on 9 May, 2013

[17] On 19 October, 2011, a delegation from Hezbollah headed by Mohammad Raad (Head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc) visited Moscow for three days and met high-level Russian officials, in addition to regular meetings between Hezbollah’s officials and the Russian ambassador in Lebanon.

[18]Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech at the ceremony of “The Resistance and Liberation Day” in 25 May 2013. Available at: http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=95030&cid=23&fromval=1

[19] For more information about Hezbollah’smotives to fight in Syria, also reference : Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Hezbollah fighting in Syria to defend Lebanon from bloodbath, Russia Today, 26 June 2013. Available at: http://rt.com/op-edge/hezbollah-syria-conflict-target-255/

[20]For example, referenceSayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech at the ceremony of “Solidarity with Gaza” on 19 October, 2012.

 

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