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Lebanon Smolders

4:03 PM, Dec 13, 2011 • By LEE SMITH
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Maybe Assad intends to raise money from the Gulf Arab states by threatening to release sex tapes of Gulf rulers, as the Syrian ruler’s adviser Buthaina Shaaban recently warned. In the meantime, stiff sanctions directed at the Central Bank of Iran and Tehran’s oil industry will not only hurt the Islamic Republic but also choke their ally in Damascus. Hezbollah also will pay the price—assuming that it survives the fate Iran has apparently designed for it.

Syria represents Hezbollah’s strategic depth, where, until the uprising began in February, the Islamic resistance kept its weapons supply. But Iran is Hezbollah’s master. Two weeks ago, writes Tony Badran, the “former commander of the Revolutionary Guards and military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Guide, Ali Khamenei, declared that in case of an Israeli attack on Iran, the Iranian retaliation will come from Lebanon.” “All the Zionist cities,” said Yahya Rahim Safavi, “are within the range of our ally Hezbollah's Katyushas.”

Accordingly, Hezbollah’s general secretary Hassan Nasrallah is readying the Shia community for what’s in store. During Ashoura, the festival commemorating the martyrdom of the prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein, Nasrallah reminded his audience of an episode many among them would prefer to forget, the 2006 war with Israel. “We, the men, women and children who held steadfast in the July war, are not frightened by their war or their weapons … In these hard times, facing all the challenges, dangers and slander, and facing the excessive strength and cunning of the enemy and the scarcity of supporters and defenders, we say to Hussein, we will not abandon you, or your religion, or your banner, or your Karbala, or your goals, even if we were to be cut, sawed, and our women and children banished.”

The faithful, said Nasrallah, citing a story from Shia tradition, jumped into a pit of fire rather than renounce their religious leader. The same it seems is expected of Hezbollah, Iran’s garrison on the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as all of Lebanon’s Shia and other communities as well.

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