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.

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.

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.

The pro-western liberal and secular democracy after Assad – Really?

Most of the relevant fighting on the rebel side of the Syrian war has been done by the Nusra Front, and the similarly Al Qaeda minded Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Islam, not to mention many other Al Qaeda or IS splinter groups including Chechen, North African or other Central Asian fighters.
The remnants of the so called „moderates“ have almost never hesitated to work closely with Al Nusra or even IS when it deemed necessary. Therefore all the occasional „bond breakings“ of the so called „Southern Front“ with Al Nusra cannot be taken seriously. One day they announce to have broken all ties with Nusra and opposing them, but when the Syrian army captures two villages they call for Nusra to help.

Now, nobody but extremely naive people believes that the radical and mostly sectarian islamists who bore the brunt of the fighting will lay down their weapons and quit the political field once Assad is defeated and gone/killed. These people have never fought for anything remotely resembling a „western“ civil state with democratic institutions and human rights implementation. Those who demonstrated against Assad will find out (just as Iranians post 1979 and Libyans after Ghaddafi) that what they have gotten is much worse than what they had.
And just like post-Soviet Afghanistan and post-Ghaddafi Libya the many militias will not let anyone disarm them.

The failure in Iraq was „explained“ with the Shia-Sunni conflict, but where are the Shia in Egypt? How many Shias live in Libya? Are the Afghan Shia a relevant force to claim that Taliban enjoy support to „counter balance“ them?
I know that Arab leaders and media are very creative in connecting Iran with any problem in their countries but is Iran „meddling“ in Egypt or Libya? Is Boko Haram in Nigeria or al Shabab in Somalia a „reaction“ to „Iranian expansionism“? Are takfiri groups in Kashmir or in Pakistan suffering from Iranian or „Shia oppression“?

Only complete idiots claim that with the departure of Assad and the victory of the „revolution“ peace and prosperity will return and prevail. Just see how Afghanistan fares, 14 years after „liberation“, after the mission being „accomplished“. And just judge for yourself whether Al Qaeda has been weakened after 14 years of the (seemingly endless) „war on terror“, after killing Bin Laden and after drone assassinations of dozens of Al Qaeda „top commanders“ in Africa, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

„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:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/05/05/samantha_power_assad_must_go_before_isis_problem_can_be_solved.html

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:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/an-obvious-first-step–close-the-jihadis-highway-9687899.html

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.“
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/world/middleeast/arms-airlift-to-syrian-rebels-expands-with-cia-aid.html?_r=0

In the same year France violated a UN weapons ban and delivered weapons including heavy weapons (rocket launchers) to the rebels:
http://rt.com/news/256085-hollande-arms-syrian-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.“
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

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.“
https://radioyaran.com/2015/02/27/why-is-iran-called-terror-supporter-but-turkey-not/

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:
https://radioyaran.com/2015/03/15/israel-admits-helping-al-qaeda-nusra-front-against-syria/
http://217.218.67.233/photo/20150305/f774c5b8-d3d3-4069-bfab-0f7342d421a3.jpg
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“
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/30/syria-chemical-attack-war-intervention-oil-gas-energy-pipelines

 

Update: Israel admits helping Al Qaeda (Nusra Front) against Syria

Truth is out and IT´S OFFICIAL: The „Jerusalem Post“ openly and finally admits:
„Israel has opened its borders with Syria in order to provide medical treatment to Nusra Front and al-Qaida fighters wounded in the ongoing civil war, according to The Wall Street Journal.“
Thank you, so it´s no longer a „conspiracy theory of Assad supporters“:
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Israel-treating-al-Qaida-fighters-wounded-in-Syria-civil-war-393862

Update April 26th, 2015:
„Since the Nusra Front took over a key checkpoint in the Golan in the summer, it has not gone unnoticed by Arabs that Nusra has completely avoided attacking Israeli military targets in the region. The Qunaitra crossing stands between the Israeli-occupied and the Syrian-controlled sectors of the Golan – Nusra has held it since August.

UN peacekeepers have observed regular contacts between Nusra forces in the area and the Israeli troops stationed on the other side of the ceasefire line (Israel has illegally occupied part of the Golan since 1967). They also observed cargo of an unknown nature passing between the two sides from the Israelis.

More recently, when an army spokesperson talking to the Wall Street Journal confirmed Israel’s aid to al-Qaeda, it was shown that it also took the form of treating Nusra fighters in Israeli field hospitals near the ceasefire line and then sending them back to fight against the government of Syria. (Some defenders of Israel have claimed this is no different from how it supposedly treats any enemy fighter in its hospitals. But there is a crucial difference: fighters from Hamas or Hizballah captured by Israel would be sent straight to jail after hospital discharge.)“
http://richardedmondson.net/2015/04/16/the-unveiling-of-israels-hidden-alliance-with-al-qaeda-in-syria/

Update 2, April 27th, 2015:
„Israel has arrested a Syrian Druze man who documented contact between Israel and al-Nusra Front.“
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/04/curious-case-israel-al-nusra-facebook-spy-150420082913157.html