Hezbollah will start fighting the al-Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front along Lebanon’s border with Syria, risking deeper involvement in the Syrian civil war. The Jerusalem Post reports:
Hezbollah’s leader said on Tuesday his Lebanon-based militant group will launch an attack inside Syria against al-Qaida-linked insurgents in the mountain region along the countries’ border.[…]
The attack “will announce itself when it happens,” Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech. It would be in Qalamoun [Mountains], but “as for its goal, place or where it will extend to.. This …we do not declare now.”
The Lebanese government has stated that cross-border incursions are unwarranted and would draw Lebanon further into the Syrian war, but Nasrallah said that “The [Lebanese] state is not able to address this issue… so we will proceed with the necessary treatment and assume the responsibility and consequences.” On Tuesday, Hezbollah reportedly captured a Syrian village from militants.
It’s not hard to figure out why Hezbollah is taking this step now. Both Hezbollah and the Assad regime are Iranian clients. As a Hezbollah-aligned newspaper has reported, Nasrallah has been telling his Lebanese political allies that if the Assad regime in Syria falls, so too will Hezbollah. And, as we’ve noted, the Assad regime is looking shakier than it has in years. al Nusra has had a notable run of successes against it.
I’m sure it won’t break many hearts in Washington to read that the head of Hezbollah reckons his terrorist group might go down with the ship. But at the moment, it seems an already ugly war might broaden dangerously.