Hezbollah warns the anti-Iran Arab states


Hezbollah has warned the moderate (i.e., anti-Iran) Arab states about the lessons the war in Ukraine should have taught them, writes Hugh Fitzgerald

Hezbollah has warned the moderate (i.e., anti-Iran) Arab states about the lessons the war in Ukraine should have taught them. A report on Hezbollah’s most peculiar interpretation of the war and Western sanctions is here: “Russian Invasion of Ukraine Is Warning to Arab States With Ties to ‘Zionist Regime,’ Senior Hezbollah Leader Declares,” by Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, February 28, 2022:

As western powers have ratcheted up financial, diplomatic and military pressure on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah have been presenting Moscow’s action as a pertinent warning to those moderate Arab states willing to align with Israel and the US.

The pro-West factions in Lebanon and Arab countries that have normalized ties with the Zionist regime should consider the fate of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and learn lessons from developments in Ukraine,” Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, a member and deputy head of the executive council of Hezbollah, said in remarks on Sunday quoted by official Iranian media outlets.

Yes, by all means, let’s consider the “fate of Volodymyr Zelensky.” Apparently Sheikh Nabil Qaouk has failed to realize that Zelensky has become a worldwide sensation, a hero of our time, with an approval rating in his own country of 91% as of Feb. 28, and it is still climbing. When Zelensky delivered (virtually) an address to the European Union, he received a standing ovation. Some “fate.” Even if Russia in the end takes Kharkiv and Kyiv and much of the northern and eastern Ukraine, the fact that Ukraine managed to hold out for more than a week against vastly superior forces, rather than being forced to surrender after a couple of days, as was widely predicted, the Ukraine, and Zelensky, have in the eyes of the world already won. And if Russia were to seize and keep part or all of Ukraine, it would face years of trying to quell a rebellion of 40 million people across that country’s vast territory.

Hezbollah official Qaouk again:

Pro-western parties in Lebanon, which holds a general election on May 15, would be abandoned by the US just as Ukraine had been, he claimed.

The US did not “abandon” the Ukraine. It has sent nearly a billion dollars in weaponry and needed supplies to Ukraine in the first week of the war. It has rallied the entire Western world to join it in imposing devastating sanctions on Russia’s banks, its energy sector, its oligarchs. Russia’s ruble is now worth less than a cent; the Russian stock market has cratered. The US helped persuade Germany to break its long-held policy of not exporting weapons; Chancellor Olaf Scholz has now agreed to send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 “Stinger” surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine. Finland is now clamoring to join NATO. Sweden has abandoned its neutrality and is sending weapons to Ukraine. Even more dramatically, Switzerland has also abandoned its policy of neutrality, and has frozen Russian assets in Swiss banks. America led by example to create these worldwide economic sanctions and, at the same time, to encourage other countries to deliver weapons as well to Ukraine; so far, more than a dozen countries have done so. There was no “abandonment” but, rather, a miscalculation by the Bidenites as to timing: the Americans ought to have been pouring needed weapons, especially anti-tank Javelins and surface-to-air Stinger missiles, into Ukraine a month earlier, than they did — that is, before the actual invasion but after the Russian buildup of forces on Ukraine’s borders had made Putin’s intentions clear.

The United States tends to provoke its allies to engage in a conflict and then leaves them alone to handle the matter,” he said.

What does Hezbollah’s Sheik Nabil Qaouk have in mind? When and where has the U.S. inveigled its allies “to engage in a conflict” and then abandoned them? In Iraq, where the American forces entered in 2003, and remained long after Saddam had been caught and his regime had been overturned? In fact, there are still 2,500 U.S. soldiers and 4,000 contractors still in Iraq; meanwhile the other coalition partners pulled out long ago. It was much the same in Afghanistan, except that the Americans arrived in 2001, and pulled out the last of their troops only in 2021. It’s hard to fathom Qaouk’s meaning.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the European Union on Tuesday to prove that it sided with Ukraine in its war.

Qaouk added: “Our best advice to these elements before the upcoming parliamentary polls [in Lebanon] is that they should not give in to temptations of the Great Satan [the US]. Our national duty in the forthcoming elections is to choose the liberation of Lebanon from the shackles of American guardianship and Saudi-crafted initiatives as a high priority.”

Qaouk is clearly worried about Hezbollah losing power in those upcoming parliamentary elections. The Lebanese are fed up with the misery Hezbollah has inflicted on them. The terror group assassinated the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, in 2005, contributing to the destabilizing of the Lebanese political system. Hezbollah dragged the country into a war with Israel in 2006, which led to tremendous damage to Lebanese infrastructure. Hezbollah was responsible for the gigantic Beirut blast — the largest non-nuclear blast in history — on August 4,2020. That day, 2,750 tons of carelessly stored ammonium nitrate belonging to Hezbollah that resulted in 220 deaths, 6,500 wounded, and $30 billion in damage to property. Hezbollah has been trying to halt the investigation into the “Beirut blast” ever since, even threatening to harm the intrepid investigator, Judge Tarek Bitar.

Hezbollah remains the loyal spaniel of Iran, its puppet-master. On Iran’s orders, the terror group sent thousands of its members to fight and die in Syria. There are “shackles” in Lebanon, all right, but they are not the “shackles of American guardianship.” They are in truth the “shackles” worn by the politicians who are afraid to challenge either Hezbollah or Iran. Lebanon is being held hostage by Hasan Nasrallah and his goose-stepping thugs. The true “liberation of Lebanon” will come about only if, and when, Hezbollah is forced to loosen its grip on the country, and can no longer give orders to its willing collaborators such as the Maronite President Michel Aoun. It is not America, nor Saudi Arabia, who have Lebanon in thrall, but Iran, acting through its proxy Hezbollah.

A number of Iranian regime-aligned outlets have published commentaries praising Russia’s military action in Ukraine. One editorial in Al Khanadeq, a pro-Hezbollah news site, claimed that Ukraine had invited Russian aggression after allegedly breaking the 2015 Minsk Agreement that sought to end the fighting in the Donbas region.

Ukraine had “threatened Russia’s national security” and was subjecting Russian speakers in the Donbas region to an “extermination” campaign, it alleged, saying these factors meant that Russian President Vladimir Putin had no choice about exercising the military option.

These Hezbollah-linked websites parrot the Putin script: Ukraine is the aggressor, not Russia. It is the aggressor because it sent troops to fight against Russian-speaking separatists who, with Russian weapons and support, have seized the Donbas region; that fight has been going on for the past eight years. In other words, the Ukrainian forces who have been trying to regain Ukrainian territory taken from them by Russian-speaking separatists, are being held responsible for Russia’s “entry” into Ukraine to stop the “gangsters, drug addicts, and Nazis” whom Putin says he sent Russian troops to fight.

The Russian military operation aims to be the final blow to a world order based on old rules … [It will] create new relations, influence, policies, international laws,” argued the editorial, according to a translation by Resistance Axis Monitor, an independent research organization focused on Iran.

The Hezbollah editorial looks forward to this “new world order” based on “new relations, influence, policies, international laws.” I have no idea what the Hezbollah author has in mind. It’s sheer delirium. What the Russian invasion of Ukraine has done is bring much of the world to its moral and geopolitical senses; the near-unanimous condemnation of Russia in the UN General Assembly, the imposition of crippling sanctions, the international marshaling of weapons for the Ukrainians, are elements not of a “new world order” but of the “old world order,” rightly conceived and defended..

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, meanwhile, stepped back from a full-throated endorsement of the Russian invasion while expressing sympathy for Moscow’s stance.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran understands [Russian] security concerns arising from several decades of NATO’s expansionism,” Raisi said on Monday.

Of course the Islamic Republic would take Russia’s side: totalitarian regimes have a natural sympathy for one another. Iran is in the same business as Putin’s Russia: aggression against its neighbors. Putin has used his own army to seize parts of Georgia (Abkhazia, Ossetia) and Ukraine (Crimea, Lukhansk and Donesk in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine); Iran prefers to use a network of proxies and allies, including the Houthis in Yemen, the Kata’ib Hezbollah in Iraq, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, to try and create a “Shi’a crescent” from Yemen to the Mediterranean.

It’s fascinating that the only lesson the Iranians appear to have drawn from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the fierce resistance by Ukrainians to that invasion is that Iran itself should never give up, assuming it ever manages to obtain such weapons, its future nuclear deterrent. But has Ukraine been any less d able to put up a fight because it no longer has nuclear weapons? If it had them, exactly how could they be used against Russia? Would Ukraine drop a bomb on Russian territory? And If it did, wouldn’t the certain result be a withering nuclear attack by Russia on Ukraine, many times worse than the Ukrainian attack? The Iranians are drawing the wrong conclusion. If they were to acquire one or two nuclear weapons, and use them on Israel, the Israelis would respond in kind, but much more devastatingly; Israel has in its arsenal between 200 and 400 nuclear weapons. Something to think about in Tehran.


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