Why is Iran supporting Hezbollah?

Many Iranians are complaining about Iran helping Hezbollah in Lebanon, often emphasizing that there are enough poor and needy people in Iran more worthy of support.

While it´s true that there are indeed many poor people in Iran, we should keep in mind that Irans financial problems are not due to money „wasted“ on funding Hezbollah but mainly to – largely unjustified –  western sanctions. Irans loss from being disconnected from the international payment system and from the extreme sanction based decline of foreign direct investments is in the tens of Billions.

Hezbollah is Irans extended front line with Israel. Without this „artificial border“ Iran would not be able to deter Israel from attacking Iranian facilities by making use of US provided long range bombers.

Thus, when the civil war in Syria broke out and took a clearly sectarian tone by attracting foreign Shia- and Iran-hating Jihadists, both Iran and Hezbollah understood the existential threat. It was no coincidence that Israel immediately supported the „rebellion“ in Syria (while at the same time treating stonethrowing Palestinian youth as „terrorists“).
Irans support for the Syrian government is neither because of the former being led by an Alawite (often wrongly called a „Shia sect“) nor with the purpose of expanding Shia Islam or suppressing Sunnis. If Irans motivations were „sectarian“ then why did the country support Sunni Afghans (Massouds Northern Alliance) and Arabs (Hamas)? Why the support for Sunni Europeans (Bosnians) in the Balcan wars?
Irans support for Syria has three main reasons:
1. During the Iran-Iraq war Syria supported Iran, while all Arab middle east and Gulf states supported Iraq with money and arms, sometimes even with fighters.
2. Syria shares a border with Israel and constitutes another remote front line for Iran in case of a war with Israel.
3. Syria is the only land route to Southern Lebanon. Without an Iran friendly government in Damascus Hezbollah would not last long in any conflict.

The departure of the Syrian army from Lebanon in 2005 marked the rise of Salafi militants in that country. These forces have at times not only attacked Hezbollah but also engaged the Lebanese army.
As early as in the first months of the start of the Syrian war Salafi militants from Lebanon were intruding Syria and attacking the police and armed forces.

Iranian military strategists recognized the threat immediately: A sectarian insurgency enjoying the support of western powers, Israel, Turkey and the Gulf States, getting arms, funds, equipment and training from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the CIA while being romanticized and whitewashed by western and arab mainstream media would overpower the Syrian government. It was only a question of time.

As predictable as the pending fall of the Syrian ally was, it was also clear that the various backers of the insurgency shared one motivation: hatred of Iran and – as far as the Gulf states were concerned  – the Shia.
Iran could not afford to wait and see waves of foreign Jihadis arrive in Syria to not only „liberate“ the country from the „Nusayri infidels“ (derogatory term for Alawites) but in a further step move on to defeat the „Rafidhi“ (derogatory term for Shias) Hezbollah nearby in Lebanon.

What would happen next?
Since 2003 Iraq has been experiencing years of relentless bombings and massacres against the Shia majority (mostly civilians and including Sunnis living among Shias) carried out by radical islamists, many of them Arabs from Gulf countries. To make things worse Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), presumed dead, resurfaced as ISIS and intensified devastating terror attacks and warfare both in Syria and Iraq.
It was not far fetched to assume that after defeating the Syrian army and Hezbollah Syrias sectarian insurgency  would export the emerging „caliphate“ to Iraq to fight and defeat the Shia government. Despite the Shia making up some 70-75% of the Arab Iraqis the fall of the formally Sunni Saddam government was a thorn in Saudi Arabias eyes and continues to be hardly acceptable even 14 years later.

Iran had and has no interest in having hordes of sectarian „Majoos“ (derogatory term for Iranians used by Arabs) hating islamists on its borders. The decision to dispatch Hezbollah to the Syrian battlefields was nothing but the correct anticipation of an upcoming deadly menace to Irans security and territorial integrity.
In Syria Hezbollah continues to suffer casualties but has managed to contribute heavily to the survival of the government and the rolling back of the jihadists. Hezbollah engaged and defeated both Al Qaeda and Isis in Lebanon as well as on Syrian battle fronts. Without Hezbollah fighting Isis near the Iraqi border in eastern Syria the Iraqi army would have a much harder time defeating Isis in Mossul.

Hezbollahs proven capabilities in assymetrical warfare are a major reason why so far Israel has refrained from attacking Iran.
Plus, as mentioned, Hezbollah managed to severely weaken the anti-Iranian, predominantly Salafi insurgency in Syria and choke off any domino effects leading to the reestablishment of an anti-Iranian government in Iraq.

Syrias Nusra Front, IS and Israel

Is this a coincidence? Right at a time when there were rumours that Moscow is leading an initiative to bring the Syrian government and the opposition together for talks, as usual the latter downplayed the Russian approach and started the well-known tactics of sabotaging talks by raising demands that no government will accept.
So, what happened that the opposition which few weeks ago had signalled to be more cooperative in the upcoming Moscow talks suddenly backed off?
Very probably the US along with the Persian Gulf based Arab backers of the Syrian opposition and rebels „intervened“ and made clear that there is no room for any talks that could help stop the Syrian war with Bashar al Assad remaining in power.

So, today the BBC reports that the US is going to increase the training of „moderate“ Syrian rebels:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30847689

Officially this training is supposed to enable the rebels to fight the „Islamic State“ (IS), but anyone who has followed the Syrian war knows well that the so called „moderates“ or „vetted“ rebels have more than once either joined IS (or the Nusra Front) or sold/handed over their sophisticated american-built and Saudi/Qatari provided weapons to them. In yet other cases they have closely cooperated with the Nusra to the extent that were it not for the latters devastating suicide bombing attacks against Syrian army installations much of the rebels successes would have not occured.

Just recently 3000 fighters of the supposedly „moderate“ Free Syrian Army (FSA) joined IS:
http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/3000-fsa-fighters-defect-isis-qalamoun-mountains/

The above mentioned BBC article is additionally remarkable with regards to openly admitting that the CIA has been training Syrian rebels under a „covert programme“ in Jordan since March 2013. What kind of popular, domestic „revolution“ is this that needs to be helped by CIA? Since when has the CIA brought anything good for Arabs and Muslims?

Western and Arab sources, which are mostly hostile towards the Syrian government continue to uphold the fairy tale that the so called „Southern front“ rebel groups are a major and succesful element in the Syrian war, which is free of sectarian Salafi radicals. To the disappointment of the supporters of the „moderate rebel“ theory, almost all of the relevant military actions in Syrias south which ended with a rebel victory were spearheaded and masterminded by the Al Nusra Front.
At the same time more reports are emerging that clearly highlight and emphasize the crucial and „game changing“ role Israel has played as the (often not so) hidden „patron saint“ of the islamist radicals:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/01/syria-opposition-daraa-israel-communication-nusra.html

„Communications increased between rebels and the Israeli army before the eruption of the southern front in Daraa and Quneitra in September, according to Quneitra opposition activist Mohammad Qasim, a pseudonym due to the sensitivity of the subject.“

„The battle to capture Quneitra on Sept. 27 was preceded by coordination and communications between Abu Dardaa, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Israeli army to pave the way for the attack. And according to an FSA commander who partly participated in this battle, the Israeli army provided Abu Dardaa with maps of the border area and the Syrian army’s strategic posts in the southern area.“

„During the clashes, the Israelis heavily bombarded many of the regime’s posts, shot down a warplane that was trying to impede the progress of the fighters and targeted other aircraft.“

What kind of „revolution“ for reforms and democracy is this that is fought by Salafi Jihadists from several countries and supported by Israel?

 

 

 

Qatar- The „world bank“ of Jihadi terrorism in Syria (and elsewhere)

It is silly that western mainstream media simply quotes the Qatari Emirs denial of his country being a sponsor of Salafi/Takfiri terrorists. Contrary to pro-Russian or at least „not pro-american“ countries Qatar (and likewise Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait..) has a lobby. After all „Qatar is the richest country in the world per capita – and has made significant investments“ into various western countries and corporations.

The following article and the embedded video clip shed more light on Qatars role in devastating Syria (and earlier Libya) through arming and funding radical Islamists:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/qatar/11171847/How-Qatar-funds-extremists-across-the-Middle-East.html

The article explicitly mentions Ahrar al Sham. Some western and (Gulf) arab media have attempted to portray Ahrar al Sham as a kind of „acceptable“ – though not explicitly „moderate“ – rebel faction. The focus of such coverage has been to emphasize Ahrar al Shams fighting against IS(IS).  Simultaneously the same sources try to either  downplay Ahrars connection to and regular cooperation with Al Qaedas Syrian branch, the Salafi Al Nusra Front or to create the impression that Al Nusra is the arch enemy of IS(IS) and thus „automatically“ good or worthy of support.
Hence, it may be necessary to once again make absolutely clear that Al Nusra are radically sectarian takfiri Jihadists and 100% non-moderate.
„Islamist rebels decapitated prisoners around the United Nations bases near where Irish troops were serving in Syria, a UN report seen by the Sunday Independent reveals.“
The article makes clear that the beheaders were Al Nusra fighters:
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/alqaeda-rebels-dangled-victims-heads-to-goad-un-30638839.html

It is very embarassing for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey as the main funders, trainers, weapons providers and facilitators of the Syrian insurgent factions as well as for the US administration that continues to stick to the myth of „moderate“ rebels that the Nusra Front increasingly and openly voices sympathy and support for IS (with which it cooperates already in Lebanon during kidnapping and beheading „joint ventures“):
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/06/world/meast/isis-al-nusra-syria/index.html?hpt=imi_r1

More complications for the „standing“ and reliability of the insurgents arise from the Nusra being a major factor on almost all of Syrias frontlines and cooperating with all relevant rebel factions, among them the „Islamic Front“ (where the Ahrar are the biggest single group), the „Syrian revolutionaries front“ and the „Southern Front“.

For more details on Syrias different rebel factions and the radical islamist ties of all of them, see
https://radioyaran.com/2014/09/11/the-vetted-moderate-rebels-of-the-free-syrian-army-who-and-where-are-they/

Should the Shia now get angry and suicide bomb Sunnis?

Particularly over the course of the last year the western press has maintained a campaign of indirect justification of anti-Shia violence at the hand of radically sectarian – mainly Salafi – Sunnis.
After each act of beheading, mass executing or suicide bombing Shias in Iraq – predominantly ordinary Shia civilians – the western media coverage never failed to mention and reiterate that the Sunnis feel sidelined and discriminated by the corrupt and sectarian Shia dominated regime. Emphasizing the „anger“ of Sunnis was and is a major feature of almost every article that reports of yet another bombing of a Shia market place. By doing this the media not only insulted the (mostly Shia) victims but also – to a certain degree – explained and even partly legitimized the crime and it´s perpetrators.
It is scandalous to apply such a fallacy that white-washes sectarian motivated hate crimes by giving them the pretense of being an act of reactionary desperation. There is no logic in detonating a bomb that kills family fathers, women, children and elderly in a poor suburb of Baghdad on the grounds that one feels one has been treated unjustly by the Shia dominated government.

In Bahrain the Shia are the majority and their best known activists such as the Khwaja family are entirely peaceful. Today, once again Zainab al Khwaja has been arrested:
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/pro-democracy-activist-zainab-al-khawaja-arrested-bahrain

In Saudi Arabia Sheikh Nimr, a leader of the Shia community who is not known for violence is sentenced to death:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29627766

I have two questions:
1. Is Barack Obama not ashamed of his coalition that includes Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and gives these two countries the undeserved appearance of being something superior?

2. Considering these obviously extreme anti-Shia policies of the GCC countries would western press „explain“ and understand suicide bombings of the „angry“ Shia population?

Syrian insurgents: Either Salafi Jihadists or criminals – and Jamal Maarouf in the middle

In an earlier article I pointed out that the „moderate“ Syrian rebel is more an object of wishful thinking and a tool for the US administration for fooling itself and others. Still major parts of international mass media along with the leaders and officials of (mainly) Nato countries speak about the „Free Syrian Army“ without any of them bothering to explain of whom this phantom army consists.

In recent weeks the so called „Syrian Revolutionaries Front“ (SRF), led by Jamal Maarouf is increasingly mentioned and it seems this group is supposed to be the army of moderate, vetted rebels receiving money, arms and training through the GCC-Turkey-CIA with training facilities in Jordan and Turkey.
The problem is, however, that the SRF is hardly the organization any sane person would seriously consider moderate:
„Syrian Revolutionaries Front again supports al Qaeda…in Quneitra…The SRF, which is supplied and backed by the United States, continues to fight alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. While it is unclear whether they share the same ideology, it is still worth noting that a Western-backed force works in conjunction with al Qaeda.
http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/09/syrian_revolutionaries_front_a.php#ixzz3DtQMjSAC

The best favor one could do the „Free Syrian Army“ would be to say the FSA are all those rebels who are NOT „Islamic State“, „Nusra Front“, „Islamic Front“ and also not SRF. What remains is a bunch of armed, unorganized criminals:

„The FSA, a collection of tenuously coordinated, moderately Islamic, rebel groups was long the focus of the West’s hopes for ousting President Bashar al-Assad.
But in northern Syria, the FSA has now become a largely criminal enterprise, with commanders more concerned about profits from corruption, kidnapping and theft than fighting the regime, according to a series of interviews with The Sunday Telegraph…
Suddenly many of the fighters bought new homes, and started flashing more money. One man said of Jamaal Marouf: “He had nothing before the revolution, now he drives around in his personal bullet proof car.”“
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-free-syrian-army-became-a-largely-criminal-enterprise-2013-11

 

American foreign policy „logic“ regarding Syria, Iran and the „Islamic State“

What is going on in Syria with regards to the „Islamic State“ (former ISIS) is appalling:
The Syrian Army is waging heavy attacks on IS positions everyday, while the US is claiming that IS is a creation of the Syrian government or its „ally“.
At the same time the US considers Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia „coalition partners“ in the fight against IS, while all of them have been funding, arming and supporting IS for years.
The US wants to invest even more in the „moderate rebels“ of the so called „Free Syrian Army“, an entity that mostly exists on paper and hardly plays a role in Syrias civil war. Now, these „moderates“ who are supposed to do the ground fighting have openly declared a „truce“ with IS because both want to fight against the Syrian government. The deal was brokered by Al Qaidas affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front.

So, according to „American foreign policy „logic“:
„Moderate“ rebels who work with Al Qaida (Nusra) and make truce with IS = Good
Syrian government that fights Al Qaida and IS = Bad

It becomes even more bizarre:
„John Kerry says Iranian role in coalition to confront Islamic State in Syria precluded by support of Damascus regime“
http://live.aljazeera.com/Event/Syria_Live_Blog/126725135

This is just as rational as if Stalin had said in 1945 that the Americans are not entitled to be part of the „allies“ against Nazi Germany because they support England (who was already fighting Nazi Germany).
At the same time the Americans support the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq in their fight against IS. ==> Kurdish Peshmerga who fight IS = Good
Now, listen what the Kurds say about Iran:
„“They gave us rockets, cannons, maps,“ a grateful Bakhtiar said of the Iranians, gesturing at the large-scale maps competing for wall space. „We needed these things badly.“
The Kurdish leader also confirmed the presence of consultants from the Pasdaran, also known as the Revolutionary Guard — who, he said, „were very helpful““
http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq-iran-20140915-story.html

The „vetted, moderate rebels“ of the Free Syrian Army – Who and where are they?

You have probably heard that the US is (once again) considering to boost the support for the „moderate“ rebels in Syria. These rebels are supposed to fight at once the Syrian Army and its affiliate forces (the NDF, the lebanese Hezbollah) and the „Islamic State“ militia.
Very often when the phrase „moderate rebels“ is used by western politicians and media it occurs in verbal connection with the „Free Syrian Army“, but what/who exactly is this  moderate „Army“?

If one bothers to read through battlefield news all over Syria it becomes clear that the major anti-government forces are all radical sectarian Islamists, mostly Salafis. At best you can distinguish between Pro Saudi and „less Pro Saudi“ Salafis, but what does this have to do with „moderate“?
In particular the major rebel forces are:
The „Islamic State“ (former ISIS or ISIL)
The al Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front or „Jabhat al Nusra“ (JAN), designated as terrorist organization by the US
The „Islamic Front“ (IF)

The IF is an umbrella group featuring as its major factions the „Ahrar al Sham“ (which just lost its entire leadership), the „Liwa al Tauheed“ (whose leader was killed a few months ago) and Jaish al Islam (Army of Islam).

Another umbrella organization is the „Syrian Revolutionary Front“ (SRF) headed by (another) Saudi favourite called Jamal Maarouf. In addition to Maarouf being labeled „highway robber“ by some other rebel factions, he openly declares support for and coordination with the Salafis of JAN, so again there is no way to view the SRF as „moderate“.

But never underestimate the „creativity“ of Syrias rebels and their US- and (mostly Wahhabi) GCC-Backers: In order to confuse the international audience and create the impression that there are indeed rebels other than the above mentioned three which were exposed as clearly non-moderate, yet more rebel organization names were created.
One which was meant to give itself the pretense of being Syrian nationalist, liberal and non-sectarian is the „Southern Front“. The Southern Front is said to consist of 49 different factions and 30.000 fighters. At the second look however it becomes clear that the two major factions of this Front are the above mentioned SRF of Jamal Maarouf who praises the Nusra Front and the Yarmouk Brigade that took Unifil peacekeepers as hostages. Plus, the Yarmouk brigade strongly cooperates with JAN:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/03/zoubi-yarmouk-brigade-qaeda-saudi-southern-front.html
Interestingly the Southern Front was sidelined by the Nusra and many of its fighters joined the latter:
http://100wordz.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/was-not-the-southern-front-supposed-to-be-dominated-by-moderate-pro-western-rebels/

This is finally how Aron Lund comments the „honesty“ behind the Southern Fronts non-extremism/non-sectarianism:
Rather than an initiative from the rebels themselves, word is that it was foreign officials that called on rebel commanders to sign a statement declaring their opposition to extremism, saying it was a precondition for getting more guns and money. Since beggars can’t be choosers, the commanders then collectively shrugged their shoulders and signed—but not so much to declare a new alliance as to help U.S. officials tick all the right boxes in their reports back home, hoping that this would unlock another crate of guns.
http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=55054

Finally, the newest „unified“ rebel umbrella organization is the „Revolutionary Command Council„, featuring 18 rebel factions, but it suffices to read the names of SRF and „Jaish al Islam“ (Army of Islam) to know that outright Salafis and those who proudly declare to cooperate with them are definitely not qualified to be called moderates.

Summarizing, we see that there are six major rebel „joint ventures“: ISIS, JAN, Islamic Front, SRF, Southern Front and the Revolutionary Command Council. And we see that none of them is moderate. So, what exactly is the „Free Syrian Army“? Who are it´s leading commanders?
It seems the FSA has ceased to exist if it ever really existed as a clearly defined army with commando structure and clear battlefield agenda.
There was for instance General Salim Idriss, the former head of the allegedly moderate FSA, but it came out his „good“ rebels were involved in the massacre of pro-government villagers in Lattakia.
Then there was top ranking FSA Commander al-Okaidi who thanked ISIS and JAN for their crucial role in capturing Syrias Mennagh airbase.

It´s time to stop fooling ourselves, fabricate fairy tales and spread them dishonestly. A moderate FSA does not exist. Full stop. Many of those rebels deemed reliable and moderate by US, UK and France and trained and armed in Turkey and Jordan have either defected to ISIS and co. or sold/handed over their US and Saudi/Qatari supplied weapons to ISIS and Nusra. Here is a good document of shame for Obama and McCain who continue to speak about the moderates who should be further armed:
http://www.infowars.com/obama-plans-to-fight-isis-by-arming-isis/

And here another one:
„Of most interest was the capture of two M-79 rockets that were identical to a batch of such weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to rebels in southern Syria in January 2013. “
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/08/isis-jihadis-using-arms-troop-carriers-supplied-by-us-saudi-arabia

Obama wants to attack IS in Syria without a UN mandate and without the approval of the Syrian government. One major reason is the recent beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff. Obama wants to support the moderate rebels against IS (and Assad), but how „funny“ that – according to Sotloffs family – it were the MODERATE REBELS who sold him to ISIS:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/08/steven-sotloff-sold-to-isis_n_5788312.html

Finally I like to quote Rand Paul, son of former US presidential candidate Ron Paul:

“They say there are some pro-Western people and we’re going to vet them. Well, apparently we’ve got a senator over there who got his picture taken with some kidnappers, so I don’t know how good a job we’re going to do vetting those who are going to get the arms.”