Hezbollah Defeats Islamic State on Lebanon-Syria Border, Vows More Terror Against U.S.

A Hezbollah member reacts while Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah talks on a screen during a televised speech at a festival celebrating Resistance and Liberation Day, in Nabatiyeh May 24, 2015. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho
REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

A controversial ceasefire deal between the Sunni Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadist group and Iran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah has provided the Shiite militia organization with uncontested control over a large area in Lebanon along the border with Syria, reports Voice of America (VOA).

“Hezbollah is the actual master of Lebanon,” Mordechai Kedar, a Middle East scholar at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel, told VOA. “Hezbollah slowly and gradually took control of the government in the past few years.”

“The Lebanese army fought in the battle but did not get to have any say in these negotiations,” Hanin Ghaddar, a Lebanon expert at the Washington Institute, told VOA. “This is very bad for the Lebanese institutions and state because at the end of the day, Hezbollah got the credit.”

Despite being a Shiite Muslim close to the Iran, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi blasted the Hezbollah’s decision, backed by the Syrian regime, to grant safe passage to hundreds of ISIS fighters as part of the truce.

“This is a very concerning step that is not acceptable. This is a blow to the Iraqi people,”said Abadi, adding, “Iraq is dealing with the extremist organizations and doesn’t send them inside Syria. We take care of the security of Iraqi citizens and we also care for the security of our neighbors. We aren’t aiming to contain IS, but to destroy IS.”

Israel is also concerned about the recent victory because it brings Hezbollah fighters, who want to see the country erased from the map, closer to their doorstep.

Kedar declared, ”Israel is alarmed about the fact that Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization, is now controlling not only the borders between Israel and Lebanon but also the borders between Israel and Syria.”

Unsurprisingly, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah welcomed the group’s newly captured territory.

“This is what we call the Great Victory,” Nasrallah declared in a televised address at the end of last month, adding the operation was “a continuation of the battle against Israel and the U.S.”

Meanwhile, the anti-ISIS coalition did not share Nasrallah’s sentiment, ultimately launching at least two airstrikes in Syria intended to prevent the convoy of Sunni jihadists from reaching Iraq despite being granted safe passage under the agreement.

In Lebanon’s case, working with Hezbollah would result in the U.S. aid cuts it needs to combat terrorism and at times even protect the country’s Christian community from jihadists.

“Since 2006, the U.S. has provided $1.5 billion in security assistance for Lebanon, mainly to counter Hezbollah,” reports VOA.

Some experts like Gaddhar of the Washington Institute believe that Hezbollah may use its recent victory in keeping ISIS out of Lebanon to force the Lebanon’s army into working with dictator Assad across the border, which would put the nation in league with not only Syria but also Russia and Iran.

The recent battles between Hezbollah and ISIS came nearly a week after the offensive on the Syrian-Lebanese border began — when the Lebanese army in coordination with Hezbollah terrorists fighting alongside forces loyal to the Russian-backed dictators Bashar al-Assad inside Syria attacked the ISIS stronghold in the mountainous Qalamoun region.

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