The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah is causing an uproar in the Muslim world over its involvement in the Syrian conflict, especially its role in helping regime forces drive out the rebels in the village of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon earlier this week.
Fighters from the Shiite group helped Syrian forces batter the town for three weeks until they finally overran it, in a significant victory for Assad’s regime.
The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper published a scathing op-ed about Hezbollah on Saturday in which the author asserts that the group has revealed itself to be an Iranian-controlled, armed religious faction instead of the anti-Israel resistance group it made itself out to be.
Another author in the publication criticized the Arab world for not anticipating Hezbollah’s actions, comparing this to the international community’s unwillingness to recognize the futility of nuclear talks with Iran.
“The surprise of the Arab (particularly Gulf Arab) community at Hezbollah’s behavior in Syria and its dedication in fighting to defend Bashar al-Assad’s regime resembles the surprise of the international community at Iran’s behavior on the nuclear issue, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) only now ‘discovered’ that dialogue with Tehran was moving in a ‘vicious circle,'” wrote Hassan Haidar.
“Hezbollah will remain part of the joint Syrian-Iranian security apparatus, carrying out what the latter requires in service of the interests of one or both of them… And it will move after the battle of Qusair, without any apprehensions, to the remaining fronts in Aleppo, Damascus, and other places, in defense of the alliance between its own “regime” in Lebanon and the regimes in Syria and Iran,” he added.
Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, said Saturday that Hezbollah must understand that Allah never sanctioned killing fellow humans, destroying mosques and sowing sectarian strife among the Muslim Ummah (nation).
The overt entry by Lebanon’s Hezbollah in Syria’s civil war on the side of its ally Assad has sharpened sectarian divisions throughout the Middle East.
Many Sunni hard-liners have taken Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria as a declaration of war by Shiites against Sunnis.
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, Sheik Abdulaziz bin Al Sheikh, issued the strongest condemnation yet of Hezbollah’s role in Syria, urging politicians and Muslim scholars to take “effective steps to deter its aggression” on Syria.
A week ago, the influential Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi angrily denounced Hezbollah — Arabic for “party of God” — as “the party of Satan” and called on Sunnis to join the jihad in Syria. A popular television preacher linked to the Brotherhood, Al-Qaradawi had in the past called for better ties between Sunnis and Shiites and praised Hezbollah in its fights against Israel.
In his sermon, he angrily said Iran wants “continued massacres to kill Sunnis.”