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Robert Fisk on the escalation of the Middle East conflict

Now Hezbollah is in on the seemingly ever-widening and never-ending war in Syria.    Beirut has already seen bombing in the last 24 hours.     Middle East expert Robert Fisk in his latest piece for The Independent writes on what it all means.   Not good....obviously!

"Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has crossed the Rubicon.

The Hezbollah chairman who said exactly 13 years ago that his resistance movement would not cross the Israeli frontier – that it was for the Palestinians to “liberate” Jerusalem – has declared that Hezbollah has crossed the Syrian frontier. Not only that, but Nasrallah said at the weekend he would fight “to the end” to protect President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Hezbollah, he said, was entering “a completely new phase.” He can say that again. "


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"He talked, of course, about the danger of “extremists” trying to overthrow Assad, claiming they were also a danger to Lebanon, that Assad’s Syria was a backbone of Hezbollah “and the resistance cannot stand with its arms folded while its back is broken”.

What he did not say was that his Shia militia was fighting Syrian Sunnis – whose co-religionists make up around 30 per cent of Lebanon’s population. Which is why the battle between the Sunnis and the Alawite Shias of the north Lebanese city of Tripoli broke out so ferociously on the day Hezbollah took up the fight for Qusayr alongside Assad’s men.

Quite simply, this is potentially the greatest danger to Lebanon’s people – not to mention the sovereignty of its sectarian state – since the 1975-90 civil war.

 “If Syria falls into the hands of America, Israel and Takfiris [Sunni extremists], the resistance will be besieged and Israel will enter Lebanon and impose its will.” This is what Nasrallah said on the huge screen erected in the town of Mashgara on the 13th anniversary of south Lebanon’s liberation from Israeli occupation on Saturday night. What he meant was that if Assad falls, Hezbollah’s own political support and weaponry – originating in Iran – will come to an end. And then there will be no more Hezbollah to drive out the Israelis when they return.

And before we bellow with hollow laughter, let’s just remember that the destruction of the Islamic Republic of Iran – as a theological state created by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 – is currently the be-all and end-all of US and Israeli policy towards the country once called Persia. The 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah was an attempt to destroy Iran’s Shia ally in Lebanon. The battle against Assad – a struggle supported by the US, the EU and those wonderful, freedom-loving demo¬cracies in the Gulf – is an attempt to strike down Iran’s only Arab ally. western-supported rebel battle for Syria is therefore a proxy war against Iran. No wonder Hezbollah has come clean about their involvement.

If – as Nasrallah insists – Hezbollah is really a “resistance” movement,  how come it did not support the resistance against Assad? Besides, if Hezbollah is a purely Lebanese creature – and again, this is what Nasrallah insists – what right does it have to send hundreds, even thousands, of its men to fight Assad’s battles?

Officially, Lebanon has “dissociated” itself from Syria. But if fighters from its largest Muslim community have gone to fight for Assad, what is left of  its claim to political neutrality? Nasrallah may be Hezbollah’s chairman, but he’s not Lebanon’s president. Which is why President Michel Sleiman warned just a day before Nasrallah spoke that Hezbollah should not allow Lebanon to plunge into a sectarian war. “How can a nation provide such a wonderful example of resistance and sacrifice,” he asked, “while promoting sectarian differences?” Good question.

In his speech, Nasrallah promised supporters “a new victory”. Macbeth couldn’t have put it better. Blood will have blood, they say."

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