The leader of the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah urged the Middle East to unite and join the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.
Shiite Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah made those comments on Monday during a televised speech to supporters in southern Beirut, according to various media outlets.
The Hezbollah leader claimed that the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency, the CIA, and British intelligence, are backing ISIS, a Sunni jihadists group.
“We call on the people and governments of the region in order to work together to confront the takfiri threat. We are all capable of defeating this threat and those who stand behind this threat, whether it be [Israeli] Mossad, the [American] CIA, or the British intelligence,” proclaimed the Hezbollah leader.
In Arabic, takfiri refers to a Muslim who accuses a fellow Muslim of apostasy — renouncing the tenets of Islam.
“He who relies on the Americans relies on an illusion,” said Nasrallah. “You rely on someone who is stealing from you and conniving against you.”
“ISIL’s real goal is in Mecca and Medina. Let Saudi Arabia think very hard about this. Why? Because the Caliphate can’t be established without the two holy sites,” he warned in addressing Gulf Arab nations.
Nasrallah also admitted that Hezbollah is fighting ISIS in Iraq, marking the first time the group acknowledges its involvement in combating ISIS in that country.
“We may not have spoken about Iraq before, but we have a limited presence because of the sensitive phase that Iraq is going through,” said Nasrallah.
Nasrallah claimed that Hezbollah and its supporters are the only ones effectively fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The chief urged the Gulf nations to put aside their “anger and hatred” and cooperate to confront the threat posed by ISIS.
Hezbollah’s pleas for assistance in fighting ISIS “appeared to be an acknowledgment that Hezbollah and its Iranian and Shiite allies can’t win the fight against the Islamic State unaided, said Nicholas Noe, a Beirut-based political analyst,” reports The Washington Post.
“At a time when Iran-backed Shiite militias are leading the fight in Iraq against the Islamic State, as well as against the rebels in Syria, [Nasrallah] appeared to be trying to cajole the Sunni Arab world into recognizing their ascendant role,” adds The Post.
The Hezbollah leader said theres is no difference between ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
“Gulf countries can’t participate in the fight against ISIL in Iraq, and then provide arms and money to its sister group, al-Nusra Front, in Syria,” he said. “We must look at these movements as a whole, which poses a grave threat.”
The Hezbollah leader said the Middle East should not wait for “an international strategy” to save them from ISIS and invited volunteers to join them in Iraq and Syria.
Hezbollah has been fighting alongside the Assad regime against rebel groups and other factions including ISIS and the Nusra Front.
Over a year ago, Hezbollah sent fighters to Iraq after one of its commanders was killed by ISIS jihadists in the vicinity of Bagdad.
“It is also heavily involved in the Qalamoun mountain range along the Lebanese-Syrian border, battling alongside both the Lebanese and Syrian armies against rebel groups holed up in the mountains,” notes Al Jazeera.
Nasrallah opened his speech by condemning the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya by ISIS.
Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist group by the United States. Experts say the terrorists group maintains a presence across the U.S. and Latin America.