Home > Radical Islam, Wars and Rumors of War > Hezbollah Leader Reiterates Support For Assad as Tension Mounts at Lebanon-Syria Border

Hezbollah Leader Reiterates Support For Assad as Tension Mounts at Lebanon-Syria Border

“‘The people of Qaa sleep in fear now,’ said Mansur Saad, mayor of the village which straddles the border with Syria.

‘They live with the constant worry that violence will erupt at any moment, especially if gunmen from across the border escape into Lebanon.’

The sleepy village, located in a pastoral region where fruit and vegetable fields are dotted with Bedouin tents, on October 18 was the scene of a military incursion which left two local residents — both Syrians — dead and sparked panic.

A third Syrian was killed in a raid on Aarsal, a village 10 kilometres (six miles) south of Qaa.

Residents of Qaa, who for decades have maintained warm ties with their Syrian neighbours, say the once-friendly border soldiers who cross over daily for morning coffee are increasingly on edge as the seven-months revolt against Bashar al-Assad’s regime continues.

The usually bustling official crossing of Joussiyeh, in Qaa, meanwhile has been shut down and an eerie silence has settled over the area where the Lebanese army or security forces are nowhere to be seen.

‘We have asked the Lebanese army to strengthen its presence in the area and set up posts at the border in order to prevent infiltration and make sure such incidents do not re-occur,’ Saad told AFP.

But the Lebanese government, largely dominated by the powerful militant group Hezbollah, a strong ally of the Syrian regime, has for the most part stayed mum on the issue.” Read more.

Hezbollah leader reiterates support of Syria’s repression – “The leader of Lebanese pro-Iranian Shiite movement Hezbollah reiterated the group’s support for the repression conducted by the Syrian regime against anti-government protests, stating that they are not spontaneous movements like the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. ‘Those regimes were obedient to the Americans, unlike the Syrian regime,’ said Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah in an interview with the Shiite movement’s Al Manar TV network. ‘The foundation of the Syrian regime is the fight against Israel,’ said Nasrallah…” Read more.

If Syria falls, country could be taken over by the growing Islamist influence – “There is homegrown opposition, and opposition living in exile. Both can be Islamists, or secularists. Some are socialists, even communists, though insiders say the latter are irrelevant. When I lived in Syria as a journalist, I met a few of each. The Islamists were the most active, most visible, and acted with the greatest moral gravitas. They converted many private schools into conservative Islamic learning centers. They prevailed upon restaurants in their neighborhoods to stop serving alcohol, and shamed coffee shops into closing during Ramadan… They are the ‘poison pill,’ one analyst told me. Just like a corporation might take on undesirable debt to make itself a less attractive target for a hostile takeover, so Assad turned a blind eye to growing Islamist influence among his people to make himself look like the best option for Syria. During his ten-year term, he has endeared himself to secularists by claiming to support the separation of church and state. Yet he never bothered to clarify to his own people what that meant. Ask the average Syrian what ‘secular’ means, and they will say it is ‘atheism,’ or an infidel state hostile to the freedom to practice religion. This strategy of ambiguity worked for a long time. To this day, Assad’s diehard supporters keep saying ‘at least he is secular,’ and point to the growing Islamist influence in Syria as an example for a bleak future without him.” Read more.

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