World View: Hezbollah Promises to Keep Fighting for Assad in Syria

This morning's key headlines from

  • Hezbollah promises to keep fighting for Assad in Syria
  • U.S. plan to send small arms to Syria receives mixed reviews
  • European outrage after Greece shuts down public broadcasting

Hezbollah promises to keep fighting for Assad in Syria

Nasrallah gives televised speech on Friday (Al-Jazeera)
Nasrallah gives televised speech on Friday (Al-Jazeera)

As we've been reporting, the recent announcement by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and his subsequent actions in providing thousands of fighters to help Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army, has resulted in a harsh Sunni/Shia divide throughout the Mideast, with Arab Sunni Muslims vitriolically condemning and threatening all Shias, especially after the stunning al-Assad/Hezbollah victory in Qusair. Nasrallah continued to pour gasoline onto the flames on Friday in a new televised speech, where he promised to continue his invasion of Syria on behalf of al-Assad: 

Before Qusair is the same as after Qusair. Nothing has changed. 

Isn't the conspiracy the same?... Have the facts changed? On the contrary, the other side is stirring up this conflict even more. Where we need to be, we will be. Where we began to assume our responsibilities, we will continue to assume our responsibilities. 

To defeat this very, very dangerous conspiracy (against Syria) we will bear any sacrifices and all the consequences."

Fresh from its victory in Qusair, the al-Assad regime is now attempting a similar victory in Aleppo. A victory there may deal a fatal blow to the opposition. AFP and Al-Jazeera

U.S. plan to send small arms to Syria receives mixed reviews

On Friday, Obama administration officials revealed some details about the plan to support rebels in Syria, following Thursday's statement confirming that the regime of president Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons, including sarin gas, against his own people. The CIA will send small arms, ammunition, and potentially anti-tank weapons to Syria's rebels. Setting up a no-fly zone or any "boots on the ground" are off the table. 

Republican Senator John McCain, who has been extremely critical of President Obama's lack of leadership in Syria, called the new proposal "disgraceful": 

For us to sit by, and watch these people being massacred, raped, tortured in the most terrible fashion, meanwhile, the Russians are all in, Hezbollah is all in, and we’re talking about giving them more light weapons? It’s insane.

On the other hand, the Russians are critical of any action by the Obama administration at all. According to Aleksey Pushkov, the head of the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee: 

The data about Assad’s use of chemical weapons is fabricated by the same facility that made up the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Obama is walking George W. Bush’s path. 

Now they are arming the rebels but then they will come to some form of direct military involvement. We cannot exclude the possibility of cruise missile strikes and if this measure brings no result – of direct military intervention.

The Russians are warning that the U.S. action may start an arms race in the region, which is laughable because the Russians have already started an arms race by supplying the al-Assad regime with heavy weapons for many months. The U.S. administration is reluctant to give the opposition heavy weapons out of fear that they'll fall into the hands of al-Qaeda linked forces, such as Jabhat al-Nusra. CNN and Politico and Russia Today

European outrage after Greece shuts down public broadcasting

The Europeans have been demanding that Greece, in return for its bailout payments, lay off 4,000 civil service employees this year and 11,000 more in 2014.  You'd think that the Europeans would be happy that Greece's prime minister, Antonis Samaras, announced on Tuesday that he would shut down public broadcaster ERT and dismiss some 2,700 employees. The decision isn't as radical as it sounds, since there are plenty of private broadcasters in Greece, and Samaras said that soon there would a smaller, leaner public broadcasting service. 

Well, the Europeans were not happy with this decision, because it apparently affects one of their sacred cows. There have been widespread expressions of outrage that Samaras closed down the ERT. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) called the action "anti-democratic" and "unprofessional." So the European message to Greece is: "Lay off 4,000 civil service employees this year, but not anyone that we want to protect." That's why it's hard to lay off any civil service employees. 

The outrage, both inside and outside of Greece, has become so great that the stability of the coalition government is threatened, with coalition partners demanding that ERT be reopened immediately. Samaras is attempting to negotiate a compromise that would keep ERT closed down but that would speed up the creation of a new broadcaster, under the acronym NERIT. BBC and Kathimerini

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Qusair, Aleppo, John McCain, Russia, Aleksey Pushkov, Jabhat al-Nusra, Europe, Greece, Antonis Samaras, ERT, NERIT, European Broadcasting Union, EBU 

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