Thursday, May 2, 2013

We will stand by Syria: Hizbollah

DUBAI, May 2, 2013

The conflict in Syria has inched closer to a regional conflagration with the bold declaration by Hizbollah that it would prevent the armed opposition and its allies from toppling the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

In his fiery address on Tuesday, where he delivered a thinly veiled message for possible intervention, Hizbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah seemed to allude to Iran and Russia as Syria's real friends who would not hesitate to support Mr. Assad.

"Syria has real friends in the region and the world that will not let Syria fall in the hands of America, Israel or Takfiri groups [referring to groups who believe they are the only true Muslims], they will not let this happen," he said, adding, "I say this based on information rather than wishful thinking."

War clouds thickened over the region after The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that President Barack Obama is preparing to send lethal weaponry to the Syrian opposition.

Talks with Russia

Sheikh Nasrallah's assertions followed his two rounds of talks with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia's West Asia envoy, who had spent quality time last week in Beirut. Arriving in there from Tehran, Mr. Bogdanov held talks with with Mohammad Raad, the Hizbollah representative in the Lebanese Parliament.

The website al-Monitor reported that the talks focused on establishing, behind the international scenes, "a formula to link the political solution to the crisis in Bahrain with the crisis in Syria".

United stance

Besides, Moscow intended to reinforce a united stance for resolving the Syrian crisis on the basis of Geneva agreement, which supported an internally-driven process of political transition in Syria, without demanding Mr. Assad's exit.

Sheikh Nasrallah underscored that the Syrian regime cannot be toppled militarily and "until the moment no Iranian forces have entered Syria".

The Hizbollah leader stressed that the resolution of the crisis was necessary as its continuation had serious repercussions for the region. He observed that the "Palestinian cause is facing the danger of serious elimination", because of the bloodletting in Syria. "The Syrian situation also has an effect on Lebanon, Iraq, and the whole region."

Sheikh Nasrallah pointed out that the assault on Syria served multiple objectives, including the capture of the country's oil and gas fields — some of which have been discovered off-shore recently.

"The objective behind what is happening in Syria is not only to remove Syria from the axis of resistance. One can confidently say that the objective of all those behind the unrest in Syria is to destroy the Syrian state, people, society, and army in order to turn Syria into a failed state that cannot make decisions concerning its oil, gas, and assets."

He declared that Hizbollah would defend people targeted by the Syrian opposition in the area of Qusayr along the border with Syria, as the Lebanese state had failed to protect all its citizens. The Hizbollah leader said only a political dialogue could defuse the Syrian crisis. "I tell the Arab and Muslim peoples and all Syrians that whoever wants to rescue Syria ... that they must seek political dialogue and a political settlement."
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