Qais Khazali, a leader of a Popular Mobilization Forces’ militia, recently visited the Lebanese borders with Israel. This is a dangerous development that falls within the framework of regional conflict. The leader of an Iraqi militia gets involved in an Iranian mission to spark a clash between Lebanon and Israel!
Both parties, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization, are militias affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that are managed by General Qassem Soleimani. We are well-aware that Hassan Nasrallah and Qais Khazali do not have any real authority despite the vibrant speeches they deliver via television channels and that their militias are neither Lebanese nor Iraqi. Everyone knows that they’ve been fighting as part of Iran’s forces in Syria for more than three years now.
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Why did the leader of an Iraqi militia, i.e. Khazali, wear a military suit and visit the town of Kafr Kila on the Lebanese borders with Israel when the Syrian borders with Israel are closer to him as his militiamen are there with the rest of the Popular Mobilization in Syria? This is not a threat message but a provocative act that aims to expand the scope of war and involve Lebanon in it.
Khazali knows that if he visited the occupied Syrian area of Golan and threatens Israel from there, he will probably be a target for the Israeli forces, considering Syria is a battlefield that’s open for everyone. Iran sent Khazali to Lebanon out of its desire to involve the country in a new war with the Israelis who previously threatened Hezbollah of launching an attack.
We are faced with a new phase of Lebanon’s political life as the Islamic Republic of Iran is now managing the country’s affairsAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Exchange of prisoners
Hamas, like Hezbollah, is also a group run by Iran. When former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak succeeded in negotiating the exchange of Israeli prisoner Gilad Shalit with 1,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, the Syrians, who represent Iran, thwarted the release of prisoners.
Then Hezbollah tried to kidnap Israeli soldiers near the Lebanese borders and the latter were killed during the operation. Israel then launched its war against Hezbollah. This was actually Iran’s aim as the war destroyed most of Lebanon’s infrastructure and destroyed the Lebanese people’s hopes of salvation from war while Hezbollah’s forces simply went underground.
Iran is doing this again now. For a while now, it’s been trying to open a war front through Lebanon to avoid confronting the Israelis in Syria after its (militias were shelled several times there. Iran views Lebanon as a loosely controlled state that does not have a real central government. The Lebanese foreign minister’s recent statement threatening Israel and the US only echoes Iran’s rhetoric which the majority of the Lebanese people can never accept.
In his statement, which has been ridiculed by the entire world, he said: “We, in Lebanon, do not evade our destiny to confront and resist until martyrdom. Jerusalem is part of our identity. We only live as free men and as revolutionaries against every invader.”
This is definitely not the Christian minister’s rhetoric or words. He spoke as if he just exited Hassan Nasrallah’s office. The current Lebanese government has reached this extent of submission and decline! The government has thus become capable of sacrificing its sovereignty and now accepts to sacrifice its own citizens to serve an agenda dictated on it by a foreign party!
It’s a hijacked state that cannot acknowledge the true nature of its situation. Now that Iran dominates Syria, Lebanon’s situation became linked to the results and agreements of war. Tehran’s domination has also increased as it now dares send its militias and their leaders to borders with Israel in an attempt to trigger a new war.
Lebanese party and government leaders do not voice their rejection of Hezbollah’s behavior. We are thus faced with a new phase of Lebanon’s political life as the Islamic Republic of Iran is now managing the country’s affairs – as seen by the visit to the southern borders and by the foreign minister’s speech. This phase will end at the altar of regional conflicts.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.