Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah told followers that the ultra-conservative Sunni Wahhabism practiced in Saudi Arabia is more dangerous to Islam than Israel, according to Lebanon’s Al Akhbar newspaper.
“Wahhabism is more evil than Israel, especially [in] that it seeks to destroy others and eliminate whatever thing that has to do with Islam and its history,” the paper quoted him saying Tuesday, according to a translation on the Ya Libnan website.
Hezbollah is an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Saudi rival Iran, and its troops have fought alongside Syrian government forces against Sunni rebel groups backed by Riyadh. Nasrallah said that the conflict raging in Syria wasn’t a sectarian conflict between the rival Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam, but one against Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi school.
It wasn’t Nasrallah’s first diatribe against Riyadh that referred to Israel. In July he criticized Saudi Arabia for an apparent warming of ties with Jerusalem, accusing it of “normalizing for free, without receiving anything in return.”
Nasrallah said in a speech that “It seems the future of Palestine and the fate of its children have become a trivial matter for some Arab states recently.”
Israel, he said, had effectively ceased to be an enemy for many Arab states, and Palestine had become an issue “that is touched on only as a cursory matter.”
Nasrallah accused Riyadh of having long-held clandestine ties with Israel, but was aghast at the change “from secret channels to public channels.”
AP contributed to this report.