Lebanon: Hezbollah in Iraq to fight the Islamic State

Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah released a recorded video message urging the states in the Middle East to set aside their sectarian differences and unite in the fight against the Islamic State. He lamented that the region is too dependent on the United States for its security.

Nasrallah admitted for the first time that Hezbollah militants are fighting in Iraq against the Islamic State but said their presence is still “in its earliest stages” and numbers are small. He said the group would welcome volunteers to fight in Iraq. It was known that Hezbollah had sent militants to Iraq when one of its commanders was killed in northern Baghdad at the end of last year.

He described the Islamic state as the most serious immediate threat to the region’s stability and claimed that it was working on Israel’s behalf. He stated that only Iran and Hezbollah are fighting effectively against the extremist group in Iraq and Syria as he termed the American response too slow and insufficient. “We won’t wait for the Americans nor will we wait for NATO. In Iraq, they didn’t wait,” referring to local tribes that stood against ISIS when security forces fled. “He who relies on the Americans relies on an illusion. You rely on someone who is stealing from you and conniving against you,” he said.

Secretary General Nasrallah said the fight against the Islamic State is beyond sectarian lines. He hinted that all the arms being used to fight come from Iran.

Nicholas Noe, a Beirut-based political analyst said the message from Nasrallah was a bid to lure the Sunnis to join ranks with them in fight against the Islamic State because Hezbollah is aware that it can’t do it alone.

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