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.

Rashideen convoy (Fua and Kafraya evacuees) bombing – another angle

After the suicide truck bombing of a convoy of waiting buses full of residents from Fua and Kafraya in the rebel-held western Aleppo suburb/outskirt of Rashideen, western mass media hurried to ignore some facts and twist and obfuscate others in order to deflect the rightful blame from the mostly Al Qaeda affiliated rebels.

One „fact“ which was not one according to veteran war reporter and Middle East conflict expert Elijah Magnier was the rebel claim reported and spread by BBC that the suicide vehicle could not have entered Rashideen without (Syrian) government permission, implying that the government (that – unlike the rebels – has never used suicide bombs as weapon) bombed the pro-government victims. In fact, however, the truck driver who blew himself up did NOT come from the government direction AND it is impossible he could have entered that area without being checked by rebels or having at least passed their checkpoints.

Another „proof“ for the rebels innocence was the oppositions pointing to the circumstance that some rebels guarding the convoy died as well.
Assuming this to be true, it does neither prove the rebels innocence nor the governments guilt, however, it clearly shows that the rebels consisting of so many different factions, even different degrees of radicalism within their most radical jihadi factions (former Al Nusra, now HTS; Ahrar al Sham, Jaish al Islam..) cannot control and contain their own forces and thus are highly unreliable as negotiation and deal partners.
While it is indeed very unlikely that Ahrar or al Nusra (HTS) killed their own fighters as deliberate „collateral damage“ of the massacre of Shia children, it is an absolutely realistic scenario that a 3rd party such as Jund al Aqsa, which could have disagreed with letting the „Shia apostates“ go decided to kill as many as possible Fua and Kafraya residents.

This latter aspect of the terror attack is something the almost entirely anti-Assad mass media choose to ignore, because it highlights a dilemma of Syrias opposition at which Assad and his government correctly point since years: There is no unified opposition with a clear, respected and powerful leadership. There is no opposition leadership that could negotiate with the Syrian government, give promises and have the capability to reliably control and enforce the implementation of the mutual agreement.
Why should the Syrian government attend negotiation meetings when the opposition participants are exiles who can exert no power on the field commanders and fighters involved in the daily fighting against the government?

 

Why Hillary is completely wrong on Syria

According to this superb article by Patrick Cockburn, we are to expect new or increased american military intervention in the Middle East, particularly in Syria:

„…a report by the Centre for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington that recommends that the destruction of Isis should no longer be the overriding objective of the US in Syria, but that equal priority should be given to taking military action against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Army.“

This apparently requires „A new pro-US armed opposition would be built up to fight Assad, Isis, al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda clones“.

Now take a closer look:
The Syrian Army (and allies), Isis, Al-Nusra and her Al Qaeda sisters such as Ahrar al Sham and co. have a combined man power of around 200.000 men. The loyalist factions posses both airforce and air defense. All parties together in total field thousands of tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, artillery pieces and other short and mid range explosive weapons. Most important than all of this: All of the parties have 5 years of experience in irregular warfare, mastering the use of tunnels and tunnel bombs, DIY weapons, IEDs etc.
And now, a hitherto non-existent new army is going to rise in their midst and fight them all. No matter how much support the US airforce and even any special ground forces were to contribute this adventure is doomed to fail.
If you doubt this, I may refer to Afghanistan:
There the Americans/Nato had a major well-armed and -trained ally (15-20k men of the Northern Alliance), heavy ground presence (tens of thousands of Nato soldiers), an Afghan president representing the ethnic majority of the country (Pushtuns), no relevant sectarian element (broad majority of Afghans are Sunnis; Shia Hazaras very small group that was never in power), an enemy with little history of holding power (Taliban were in power just since 5 years when the Americans attacked in 2011).
15 years later the Afghan army built by Nato is hardly capable to defend against the Taliban without the help of the US airforce. The government has never regained full control of remote areas of the country and of the Pushtun heartland. The Taliban regularly stage attacks in the middle of Kabul inflicting casualties in Afghan and international troops.

Hillary and her „think tanks“ won´t care about all this. Instead she will elaborate that Syria is not Afghanistan, that the situation and the conditions are „totally different“…

 

 

Syrias „revolution“: What we did NOT (want to) see

„Merhej and Dayoub were the first of eighty-eight soldiers killed throughout Syria in the first month of this conflict“
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/336934-syria-war-conflict-narrative/
Did you know this? That 88 Syrian soldiers were killed in that very early phase of the Syrian civil war?

5 years ago the Syrian „uprising“ or „revolution“ started in the city of Deraa. It is not much that we really know about the details and the dynamics that triggered the deadly cycle of cause and effects which – not long later – climaxed into a spirale of violence that now enters it´s sixth year.

The western mainstream media and along with it the media of it´s Gulf Arab allies – especially the state-owned channels Al Arabiyya and Al Jazeera –  knew the „facts“ from the beginning:
Unarmed people demonstrated peacefully for democracy
– The state security forces responded with lethal force without a real reason

While it is true that security forces in Deraa strongly overreacted to youths spraying anti-government graffiti on the walls of a school by torturing some of them and insulting their parents when they protested against the treatment of their kids, this narrative which exclusively displays the opposition perspective of the events leaves other, less pleasant facts untouched.
Though the uncomfortable facts undermining the romantic myth of the „peaceful revolution“ are still widely un(der)reported by most western news outlets, other more independent sources have revealed them:

„But there were signs from the very start that armed groups were involved…A Syrian television crew, working for the government, produced a tape showing men with pistols and Kalashnikovs in a Deraa demonstration in the very early days of the “rising”.“
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syrian-civil-war-five-years-on-2011-bashar-al-assad-isis-iran-conflict-a6929186.html

„According to several different opposition sources, up to 60 Syrian security forces were killed that day in a massacre that has been hidden by both the Syrian government and residents of Daraa.
One Daraa native explains: “At that time, the government did not want to show they are weak and the opposition did not want to show they are armed.”
Beyond that, the details are sketchy. Nizar Nayouf, a longtime Syria dissident and blogger who wrote about the killings, says the massacre took place in the final week of March 2011.“
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/157412-syria-hidden-massacre-2011/

Here is another case of early violence against the Syrian army which western media either denied or attributed to the army itself. This article, however, debunks the media lie and clearly identifies armed opposition as the perpetrators:
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/western-press-misled-who-shot-the-nine-soldiers-in-banyas-not-syrian-security-forces/

„According to the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the combined death toll for Syrian government forces was 2,569 by March 2012, the first year of the conflict. At that time, the UN’s total casualty count for all victims of political violence in Syria was 5,000.“
So, 50% of the casualties were soldiers of the army. Do you still believe that the „opposition“ was unarmed and peaceful? Considering this enormous death toll of the Syrian army, do you still believe that they „overreacted“?

No country likes to have the media of hostile western countries on its soil, especially after Iraq 2003 and Libya 2011 blatantly showed how media deliberately misreported events, concealed „unfavorable“ facts and exaggerated/overemphasized other facts. The Syrian government had no interest in exposing weakness and revealing the degree of it´s loss of control in some cities. Western and Arab media and governments simply declared all reporting by Syrian and pro-Syrian sources „propaganda“ and treated every claim by Syrian „activists“ as undisputed truth.
Whenever army soldiers were killed, Al Jazeera and co. had an „activist“ on the phone line explaining that the Sunni soldiers were executed by Alawite officers because they refused to shoot at unarmed civilians or because they wanted to defect. This myth, often cited by anti-Syrian mass media was so ridiculous that even Rami Abdulrahman from the frequently quoted pro-rebel Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) commented it as follows: „“This game of saying the army is killing defectors for leaving – I never accepted this because it is propaganda.”
Especially in the first year of the civil war, the primary source of western news channels, the activists, were quick declaring every person killed by the Syrian army as „civilian“. This was exposed as a lie by – no joke! – Al Jazeeras own reporter Nir Rosen: „Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters, but the cause of their death is hidden and they are described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces, as if they were all merely protesting or sitting in their homes.“

One of the best-known and most cited „activists“ was Danny Abu Dayyem. Watch this video that exposes him and embarasses CNN:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lWB5ssifTg

Another „prominent“ Activist and primary source for Al Jazeera was Khaled Abu Saleh, who was also exposed as a liar and forger of news:
http://counterpsyops.com/2012/07/07/khaled-abu-saleh-a-multitask-syrian-hacktivists-on-western-payroll/

So, for many months the fairy tale was perpetuated of a population enduring it´s governments unlimited and unjustified violence peacefully and patiently until one day it had enough and decided to „defend“ itself. Some went so far to claim that this allegedly nonviolent phase of the „revolution“ lasted almost one year. This is a brazen lie. In a single incident in early June 2011 – note that this is less than three months after Deraa – some 120 soldiers and police were killed in the city of Jisr al Shughur.
This is what Syria expert Joshua Landis tells about the massacre: „There is little evidence of wide-scale mutiny of Syrian soldiers. No solid evidence that they shot at each other, and some evidence that the young men of Jisr set a trap for Syrian soldiers with simple weapons and dynamite…The Syrian government then published tapped phone calls of activists in Jisr that it collected on the eve of the initial combat. If they can be taken at face value, the activists establish a plan to send all the women and children of the city to Turkey. They were instructed to tell foreigners that Syrian military personnel shot each other. When enlisted men refused to shoot on unarmed demonstrators, their Alawi officers mowed them down – that was the story to be told to the Western press.“:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0cwLeMX8MA

Despite persistent media claims that the Syrian forces were acting with „irresponsible“ or „disproportional“ brutality, video clips like the following from Douma near Damascus (not later than March 2012) show a different picture: The soldiers carry no weapons, they are throwing stones back at the demonstrators:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdWH-SlIz6w

This video from Homs (not later than 2012) is even more unmasking for the „unarmed opposition“ as it shows armed „civilians“ firing at unarmed riot police:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsfsMVEO3nc

One thing is crystal clear: Syrias „uprising“ was armed and violent from its very first days. No doubt, many innocent people were killed by the security forces, but to claim that the violence was one-sided, that the protesters were unarmed and entirely peaceful, that police and army had no reason to resort to violence means ignoring the bitter truth of the not so romantic beginnings of what became a full scale armed insurrection.

Die „moderaten“ Rebellen der Jaish al Fath (Army of Conquest) in Nordsyrien?

Was soll eigentliche dieser ganze Unsinn um angeblich „moderate Rebellen“ in Syrien?

– 80% dieser „moderaten Rebellen“ tragen Bärte, die man zurecht und eindeutig mit Salafisten assoziiert
– Ihre ganzen Battaillone haben eindeutig islami(sti)sche Namen
– Sie beleidigen ihre Gegner (Syrische Armee, Hizbollah) mit religiösen Diffamierungen (Ungläubige, Apostate…)

Wer sollen denn diese „moderaten“ sein?
Die in Idlib kämpfende grösste und stärkste Rebellen-Dachorganisation ist „Jaish al Fath“ (bedeutet „Armee der Eroberung“ und das Wort „Fath“ ist eine „Hommage“ auf die frühislamischen Eroberungszüge der Muslime gegen die römischen Christen) beinhaltet als grösste Untergruppierungen zwei Gruppen, die als salafistisch und lokale „Ableger“ der Al Qaida gelten:
– Nusra Front
– Ahrar al Sham

Auch ein weiteres Mitglied, die „Jund al Aqsa“ gilt als Al Qaeda nah:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_of_Conquest

„The Long War Journal has previously identified Jund al Aqsa as an al Qaeda front, based on the biographies of its leadership, the group’s propaganda, and its close working relationship with the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. “
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/05/another-al-qaeda-veteran-reportedly-killed-while-leading-jund-al-aqsa-in-syria.php#comment-73661

Weitere Mitglieder der Jaish al Fath sind tschetschenische, uighurische, türkische, uzbekische und marrokanische Verbände, die Selbstmordattentäter und Kindersoldaten einsetzen:
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/09/saudi-al-qaeda-cleric-showcases-training-camp-for-children-in-syria.php

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/09/uzbek-group-pledges-allegiance-to-al-nusrah-front.php

Die Russen bombardieren hauptsächlich die Jaish al Fath, aber was soll denn an ihr „moderat“ sein?

„The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an Uighur jihadist group that is affiliated with al Qaeda and operates in Central and South Asia, has published photos showing its fighters engaging in combat with Syrian government forces in Hama and Latakia provinces. “
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/10/turkistan-islamic-party-shows-fighters-on-frontlines-in-northwestern-syria.php

How „moderate“ is the FSAs „Southern Front“

When confronted with the fact that there is no relevant moderate rebel faction going by the name of „Free Syrian Army“, still some people disagree pointing to the so called „Southern Front“ as a supposed success model of a secular/liberal force fighting against the Syrian government.

The more interesting then to zoom deeper into the Southern Front:

„The simultaneous claims of success indicate that the Southern Front’s fighters likely participated in the battle alongside the jihadists, even though the FSA’s southern alliance has repeatedly rejected cooperation with Al Nusrah.“

„Just days after Al Reis’ [Southern Front commander] public rejection of any cooperation with al Qaeda’s arm in Syria, Ahrar al Sham, Al Nusrah and their allies in the region announced the creation of a southern wing of Jaysh al Fateh (“Army of Conquest”).“

„Some FSA groups rejected cooperation with “Jaysh al Fateh in the South,” but others reportedly joined it. Adding to the battlefield confusion, the Southern Front apparently fought alongside Ahrar al Sham just days before publicly rejecting any collaboration with Al Nusrah (Ahrar’s closest ally in Syria)“

„According to a recent account, FSA groups operating under its umbrella are peeling off and joining Ahrar al Sham.“
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/10/al-nusrah-front-free-syrian-army-battle-assad-regime-for-un-hill-in-southern-syria.php

So much about the Southern Front being a reliable „moderate“ rebel faction and so much about it´s leaders credibility when they claim they will not cooperate with Jabhat al Nusra, Al Qaedas Syrian branch.

Another perspective of Syrias civilian casualties

While condemning loss of civilian life in Syrias war, western and arab anti-Assad media has almost never cared to mention and criticize the collectively harmful and often deadly actions taken by the Syrian rebels such as blowing up gas pipelines, disrupting or destroying power plants, blocking water supply or attacking state owned factories and killing their staff as happened with a factory that produces army uniforms.