WAIEL AWWAD | 11 AUGUST, 2017
NEW DELHI: Many lessons can be drawn by the recent victory of the Lebanese resistance forces. The resistance was represented by the Hezbollah and supported by the Syrian and Lebanese armies where the Jabhat Al Nusra Front which is affiliated to Al Qaeda was defeated in Jrod Arsal (Tora Bora of Lebanon).
More than 150 square Km has been liberated from the terrorist organization five years after it occupied this strategic area, on the border between the two Syria and Lebanon. Now the war is being fought for the remaining areas under the control of Al Nusra’s sister group, known as the Islamic State or Daesh.
Military experts and strategic analysts have been studying the victory achieved within such a short span of time. So fast and swift that left them baffled as the area is of harsh terrain with natural as well as manmade caves. It is almost impossible to tackle those hiding here, and atacking the armies as well as civilians from this refuge.
This victory is a turning point in the fight against terrorism, and many lessons can be drawn to defeat these groups operating in the areas.
The operation by the resistance in Lebanon and Syria was meticulously planned and executed with minimum loss of life. According to Israeli newspaper, Abu Malik Al Talli, the leader of the Al Qaeda in the area contacted the Israeli government, seeked Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu’s help to defeat Hezbollah and the Syrian army, “the enemy of Israel”. But the French Ambassador to Lebanon conveyed a warning from Hezbollah to Israel, of retaliation if Tel Aviv continued to support the terror organisation, and came to its rescue.
The terror groups fighting in Syria and supported from Jordan and Israel, were told that no more support will be extended to them.
The media has not focused on the success of the war on terror, and the elimination of the Al Qaeda group from this particular area without the support of US and the West!
Are you surprised? Think it over. How can you win a war on terror without their support? I am not surprised.
Israel continues to have sleepless nights about the increasing skills of the Hezbollah fighters in the war against terrorists in Syria and Lebanon. The battle in Syria and Lebanon, raised the morale of the Hezbollah fighters and any misadventure of the Israel army to attack Lebanon again which would lead to an all open war in Syria and Lebanon with Iran’s involvement.
The pretext for Israel to support Al Qaeda at the border with Syria is to keep Iran and Hezbollah fighters away from its oil rich border with Syria. Especially after the discovery of a good reserve of oil in the Syrian occupied Golan and neighboring areas extended into Syrian territory. There is no other explanation for Israel’s support to Al Qaeda! In fact, even the Israeli officials have been saying this, including Netanyahu who was smiling for the cameras while visiting terrorists being treated at a makeshift hospital created by IDF in occupied Golan.
The Lebanese victory coincided with the Al Aqsa mosque rift with Palestinians who fought the Israeli occupation forces and resisted the new measures and Israel intervention in their holy places.
This also exposed the “Moderate Sunni Arab Countries” trying to normalize relations with Israel at the time of its continuing occupation and annihilation of Palestinian territory. Netanyahu days may be counted for mishandling of this issue and a charge sheet will be tabled soon with corruption charges against him. All these developments led to sudden rise of popularity of resistance forces and expanding influence and gaining sympathizers.
The quick victories by Syrian army, with the help of Russia and Iran and Hezbollah, led to liberation of more territory from terror groupswith Israel now exerting added pressure on the US, using the Jewish lobby AIPAC and others, to act against Hezbollah and Iran ever since PresidenDonald Trump came to power.
The Trump administration, on the other hand, now will activate and internationalize the UNSC resolution 1701 to expand the UNIFIL role in the border Lebanon with Israel. Washington wanted to dilute the winning battle of Hezbollah against the Al Qaeda terrorist group, by taking part in the elimination of the Islamic state from the Lebanese border. And this only because the Lebanese army was already taking the initiative.
The US does not want Hezbollah to play any role in this war. In fact, keeping this hotspot active will keep a check on the party positions in Bekaa Valley and neighboring areas thus allowing Washington to persuade the international community to amend UNSC resolution 1701, under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
Israel is also pushing for US meddling in UNIDOF with Syria and Israel. Tel Aviv is hoping to create a “buffer zone “next to occupied Syrian Golan”.
It was Prime Minister Netanyahu who pushed President Trump for more action against Syrian government for a regime change. President Trump ended CIA support to moderate terrorist groups in Syria but kept the ante against the Lebanese party.
Kuwait, on the other hand, opened the investigation of allegedly Hezbollah cell in Kuwait, strengthen the American hand in tarnishing the image of the party as an international terrorist organization for the liking of Israel who is preparing for a war against the party. But, the cost will be catastrophic if an all out war broke out this time. Hezbollah said that the war will be fought inside Israel this time, and not only on Lebanese territory. A threat the common Israeli citizen takes very seriously.
The inter fighting among Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia and allies, against Qatar has exposed the nexus between the terrorist groups fighting in Syria and their funding to them with the acknowledgement of the US and the West.
Many lessons are learned from the winning war on terror in this battle. A Comprehensive Fight against Terrorism can be achieved only if states sponsoring terrorism stop funding, arming and training them. Stop using terrorism as a tool to achieve political gains and fighting those truly engaged in countering terror groups in West Asia.
(Dr. Waiel Awwad is a senior journalist and political analyst from Syria.)