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.

„Top Priority“ in Syria: Removing Assad (according to Samantha Power and others)

Samantha Power – US ambassador to the UN – says Assad is the major problem in Syria, because, had it not been for his (barrel) bombing, Jihadists would not come to Syria to fight for ISIS:

This is dishonest nonsense: If the US is concerned about Jihadists operating in Syria it should have put pressure on Turkey to not allow them to use that country as a hub to enter Syria. The same bearded islamist fighters that the US has been killing with drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan have been openly and freely gathering on the Turkish side of the border and moving into Syria without being stopped by Turkish border guards:

Qatar and Saudi Arabia purchased and sent thousands of tonnes of weapons to Syrian rebels as late as 2012:
„The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.“

In the same year France violated a UN weapons ban and delivered weapons including heavy weapons (rocket launchers) to the rebels:

Jihadists would have not been enabled and encouraged to fight without such constant flow of weapons:
„…what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida…funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria.“

It was not Assad as „terror magnet“ that brought tens of thousands of international Jihadists to Syria, but Saudi and Qatari money, American, british and French weapons supplies and Turkish/Jordanian facilitations as border countries along with Israels not so covert sabotaging of Syrias military that allowed Jihadists to arm themselves, enter Syria and strengthen due to the weakening of the Syrian army.
The idea that the United States and Israel care for Sunni Arab lives and wellbeing is more than hypocritical, it is bizarre. Israel carries out operations that kill thousands of Palestinian civilians in the course of few weeks and destroy infrastructure worth billions of USD:
„Looking only at the major military operations of the Israeli army in the last 7 years it turns out that some 2700 Palestinian civilians were killed, while only 8 (eight) Israeli civilians were killed.“

The US supports Israel, justifies and legitimizes its actions, delivers the weapons and resupplies the ammunition. Israel has used phosphorus and cluster ammunition against Palestinians. The Palestinian victims of Israels are not labeled „activists“, nor „freedom fighters“. They are not even called resistance fighters or rebels, they are TERRORISTS.
But while Israel treats Palestinian children and minors as „terrorists„, the Israeli government suddenly is full of sympathy with bearded islamist Syrians who are portrayed as righteous men fighting against a dictatorship and for freedom and democracy:
The rise of sectarian radical islamists in Syria, both syrian and international Jihadists is neither a coincidence nor an „accidental“. It is according to a systematic long term plan to destroy pro-Russian and/or pro-Iranian governments opposed to Israel. The Syrian government brings all the ingredients to draw the wrath of the Americans, the Israelis and the Sunni Gulf states. The Americans and the Israelis – along with their European ever „yes saying“ allies – pretend to be moved by human rights violations, while everyone familiar with the fate of Palestinians since 1948 and that of the Iraqi since 1991 knows that both, the US and Israel, do not care at all for Muslim Arab lives.
The Gulf Arabs hate Assad and the Syrian government because of it´s pro-Iranian character. All allegations of torture and repression raised against Assad are unconvincing, given that the Gulf states as well as Turkey had relations with Syria until 2011 and were regularly meeting Assad. Had Assad agreed to allow the Qatari gas pipeline to go through Syria, the Qataris had not unleashed the Muslim Brotherhood against the Syrian government:
„In 2009 – the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria – Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey“


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:

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:

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:

„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?




„Excellent“ US idea: (Further) arm islamists (and hope they fight RADICAL islamists)…

„Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, said the US would „ramp up“ its support to the moderate Syrian opposition, Isis’s ostensible rivals for control of the Syrian resistance to Bashar Assad.“

This shows the unending idiocy of a senior member of the US administration. Still, her only silly and unsubstantiated approach towards the ISIS or „radical islamist“ dilemma is to attempt to boost the laughable and tiny Syrian non-islamist opposition. An opposition with a phantom, „ghost“ character, hardly playing any role in reality.

The US admin fails to understand that any „ramp up“ of Syrias allegedly „moderates“ has almost definitely one of the following consequences:

a) The moderates sell or forward the weapons to the radicals who are the more battle-hardened and experienced fighters, willing to die (and kill ruthlessly)

b) The radicals which are not only ISIS, but also „Nusra Front“, „Islamic Front“ or „Syrian revolutionary front“ (and thus according to Israeli sources 80% of the rebels) simply overcome the CIA-vetted „moderates“ and take their weapons

c) Many formerly „moderates“ discover that their companions are opportunists merely interested in building themselves a power base (just like the afghan militias in the 90s) and decide to join the „real mujahedeen“

After 13 years of „anti-terror“ war, „enduring freedom“, „mission accomplished“ and other garbage, Al Qaeda and affiliates are stronger than ever, while the oh so bad Bashar al Assad and his Iranian and Russian backers have been the best powers to fight Al Qaeda.