1988 Video Puts Hezbollah Chief at Odds with Syrian Regime

1988 Video Puts Hezbollah Chief at Odds with Syrian Regime

An old video making the rounds again on social media shows Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah talking openly about his desire “to establish an Islamic state under the rule of Islam.”

The video dates to 1988, which is before Nasrallah became Hezbollah’s leader. However, now that Hezbollah is openly fighting alongside Assad’s forces in Syria, the message the video conveys remains pertinent–and potentially damaging to Nasrallah. 

In the video, Nasrallah says:

Lebanon should not be an Islamic republic on its own, but rather, part of the Greater Islamic Republic, governed by the Master of Time [Mahdi], and his rightful deputy, the Jurisprudent Ruler, Imam Khomeini.

This pursuit of a Greater Islamic Republic is at odds with Hezbollah’s support of Assad, who is from the non-Muslim Alawite sect and is fighting rebel forces dominated by jihadists. 

Nasrallah defended his support for Assad on May 25:

Syria is the rear guard of the resistance (Hezbollah’s fight with Israel), its backbone, and the resistance cannot stay with its arms folded when its rear guard is exposed. We are idiots if we do not act.

Hezbollah cannot be in the same trenches as the United States, Israel, and takfirist (radical Muslims).

However, Nasrallah’s support for Assad may have cost him political support, and risks drawing Lebanon into the Syrian conflict. Two rockets, apparently fired by Syrian rebels, hit Hezbollah-controlled areas of Beirut May 26.