The matter is very simple: If the forces backing the Syrian opposition could have provided them with more support, they would have already done so. In fact, there is little left they have not given them in terms of weapons, money, and fighters. The only reasonable answer to those who ask why they have not intervened directly in the conflict is that there is a limit to military force.
In Lebanon, the Syrian opposition’s supporters took the initiative early on to provide individuals and groups with all kinds of political, media and material assistance. The northern border with Syria became a lifeline for the opposition, turning Tripoli into a support base for the uprising, where money was collected, fighters recruited and trained, and weapons gathered and smuggled across the border.
Several weeks into the crisis, support for the opposition became public as “relief centers” were established in places like Turkey and Europe, among many others around the world, under the guise of “assisting the Syrian people,” when in fact they were little more than military training camps for the opposition.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Emirates, and Jordan also joined the campaign, just as Salafi and jihadi groups from around the region sent dozens of fighters who rubbed shoulders with French, British, and American special forces. They all operated on the basis that the regime in Damascus would be toppled quickly.
Aside from those who denied such support, there are those who decided on their own that the vast majority of Syrians were opposed to the regime, ignoring a very different reality on the ground. And when detractors pointed out the growing influence of extreme takfiri elements in the crisis, the response was that these were lies fabricated by the regime to distort the image of the revolution.
In Lebanon, March 14 forces – along with others at the service of Gulf and Western countries – did all they could to make Lebanon part of the official Arab stance that sought to destroy Syria under the pretense of a popular uprising. They would go into a fit of hysteria any time Lebanon’s foreign minister expressed a different point of view.
In this context, how is Hezbollah’s involvement in the battle of Qusayr being treated?
Those who oppose Hezbollah’s political and military support for the Syrian regime are the very same people who reject any role for the Resistance in Lebanon. They dream of turning the party into a charitable organization, never once having stood by its side when it battled Israel for years to liberate the South.
In fact, their history is full of betrayal of country and cooperation with the enemy – from the failed May 1983 peace accords between Lebanon and Israel, to openly justifying Israel’s assault on Lebanon in 2006. They would gladly fight Hezbollah themselves if they could. Instead, all they have left to hope for is to see the takfiris bring their crusade to Lebanon, so that they can blame it on Hezbollah.
Quite frankly, no one – from Hezbollah leadership all the way down to its popular base – wanted to see the party’s fighters engaged in the Syrian conflict. But the fact of the matter is that the Resistance is doing something that many will soon begin to appreciate.
And to spare us a long debate on this matter: What Hezbollah is doing in Syria is part of a wider struggle by the forces of resistance against a murderous front of reactionary forces…at the heart of which stands Israel.
Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.