Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

After Lebanon… Hezbollah Snatches Syria’s Sovereignty | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, London- No Lebanese official position was issued on Monday to comment on the military parade that the so-called Hezbollah had organized Sunday in the Syrian city of al-Qusayr in the countryside of Homs, near Lebanon’s northern border.

Only Lebanese and Syrian activists had strongly criticized “the party’s persistence in violating the Syrian sovereignty in light of a Lebanese official silence.”

A Lebanese ministerial source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday: “We have no ability to deal with this file.”

Al-Qusayr is “Hezbollah’s” military base in Syria. The party had controlled the town when it decided to participate in the Syrian war under the slogan of “Protecting the Lebanese nationals there.” Therefore, the party now has snatched the sovereignty of Syria after snatching Lebanon’s sovereignty.

The so-called Hezbollah had last organized a military parade in Lebanon in 1992, with the return of Lebanon’s sovereignty under the Taif Accord. Since then, the party had only paraded its military members in the absence of any weapons show off.

What was surprising in Sunday’s parade is the fact that the party had moved the celebration of the so-called “Hezbollah Martyr Day” from Lebanon to Syria in the absence of any festive aspects. However, the party surprised everybody when media outlets close to the party sent an unofficial press release showing tens of modern armored vehicles, tanks and fighters in a clear show of force that analysts argued when explaining its meaning.

Member of the Syrian Coalition opposition, Michel Kilo told Asharq Al-Awsat that the party’s military parade in Syria proves that “Hezbollah” was not only a force fighting there, but also rather an occupation force. “The presence of Hezbollah in Syria is not an emergency and is not temporary anymore. The party wants to assert that its presence is part of the widespread Iranian presence that covers Syria entirely,” Kilo said.

He added that “Hezbollah” also used this military parade to convince his supporters and his opponents that the party was still strong in Syria. “More importantly, the party wants to prove that part of the Syrian territories is now under his total control.”

Kilo also said that the parade would also strengthen the Iranian paper when negotiating on Syria.

Legal advisor of the Free Syrian Army Osama Abu Zeid said: “We will not allow them to control the houses of 80 thousand Syrian nationals in al-Qusayr.”

Abu Zeid told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday he was surprised about the type of weapons that was paraded in al-Qusayr, especially the presence of U.S.-made armored vehicles. Abu Zeid ruled out claims saying the party had seized those vehicles from the Israeli army during the 2006 war.

“Those arms were seized from the Lebanese Army,” he said.

Abu Zeid said “Hezbollah proved that Assad has no authority on the groups fighting with him. Those groups aim to share with Assad power and regional geographies.”

In Lebanon, there was no official position on the military parade.

Only resigned Justice Minister Asharf Rifi had broken the silence when he said on Monday that “Hezbollah’s parade topples all hopes related to the ability of the new era in recovering even a small part of the state’s respect.”

Rifi added: “What will the strong President say about armed militias that have now turned into an army taking part in the occupation of Syria and the killing of its people?”

At the international level, the European Union agreed Monday on a new batch of individual sanctions targeting officials from the Syrian regime, and which included 17 ministers (out of 32), plus the governor of Syria’s Central Bank.