Monday December 22, 2014
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22.12.2014
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Boaz Bismuth

Sunni revenge reaches Nasrallah

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has succeeded in significantly reducing his circle of friends since the start of the uprising in Syria in March 2011.

During the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, Nasrallah was a symbol of Arab pride and resistance. But Nasrallah has now turned into an enemy of the Sunni people. The bunker in which Nasrallah spends most of his time protects him more these days from the Sunnis than from "the Jews."

On Tuesday, Nasrallah's Shiite supporters, as well as Lebanon's interior minister, pointed the finger of blame at Israel for the car bomb blast in the Bir al-Abed area of the Dahiyeh neighborhood in southern Beirut. But they very well know that it was much more likely that the 35-kilogram explosive device was a Sunni product. Nasrallah's hands are stained with Sunni blood. Many Salafi extremists are seeking revenge against Nasrallah, particularly for his actions in Syria.

The Sunnis and Shiites have a long-standing rivalry. This deep rift within Islam goes way back to the succession battle that took place after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Much blood has been spilled since then. Muhammad's son-in-law Ali and grandson Hussein both met tragic ends. Their blood continues to inspire Shiites to this very day. At times, in places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain, the struggle against Israel has shunted the intra-Islamic conflict temporarily aside. However, it seems that the Sunni-Shiite conflict will continue for many more years to come.

Nasrallah had his patron in Tehran in mind when he decided to get Hezbollah involved in the fighting in Syria. Hezbollah notched some battlefield achievements in Syria recently, like the capture of Qusair, but Nasrallah forgot that Syria and Lebanon are sisters, for better or worse. In recent decades, it has mostly been for worse.

Nasrallah has sought to bring his fighters home from Syria after the heavy price in blood that Hezbollah has paid in the fighting there. Hezbollah's supporters at home weren't happy with the results, even though they're accustomed to "martyrdom."

But now the war in Syria has spilled over into Lebanon and reached Nasrallah at home. Tuesday's bombing in Beirut was just a hint of what awaits Hezbollah. Iran and its new "liberal" President Hasan Rouhani are preoccupied with a public relations campaign and Syrian President Bashar Assad is still fighting for survival. Nasrallah may soon feel very alone and vulnerable. Given the situation he now faces, it might be wise for Nasrallah to reinforce his bunker.

Some think that the Free Syrian Army was responsible for the bombing in Dahiyeh. But the Free Syrian Army on Tuesday chose rather to refer to what took place on Thursday night in Latakia, saying "a foreign military destroyed anti-ship missiles of the Russian-made Yakhont type." In the Middle East, "a foreign military" means Israel.

Sunnis and Shiites need to ensure Israel's existence and security, because without Israel around, who knows how much deeper their historic rift would get?

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