In a fiery speech, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah organization, has threatened Jerusalem with devastating military response in the event of a new round of conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. Nasrallah commented that the “Israelis fear that they will not win in a new round of military conflict with Lebanon.” That is, Nasrallah said, the only reason Israel has held back and is otherwise not in need of U.S. President Trump’s “green light” to do so. In the televised speech on February 17, Nasrallah paid tribute to the Iranian regime, which has for nearly four decades financed and armed Hezbollah, and called the Islamic Republic the fulfillment of the “prophets’ dreams.”
At the same time, Nasrallah blasted Arab leaders in the region as “shameful.” He added: “We’re proud that [Israel] has put us on the top of their list of threats this year. Iran came second and the Palestinian Resistance third. But it’s shameful that they [Israel] didn’t consider any Arab regimes as a threat,” Nasrallah said. Meanwhile, the Hezbollah boss was adamant that his forces played a critical role in keeping the regime of Bashar al-Assad from toppling at the hands of the Syrian opposition.
Comment: Nasrallah, a man who has repeatedly declared his allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has delivered such fiery speeches on many occasions before. What was different this time was that the speech came a few days after a trip made by the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, to Kuwait and Oman, where he vowed that Tehran is interested in a broader effort to lessen tensions in the region. Given how closely Nasrallah coordinates his rhetoric with Tehran, Iran’s nervous neighbors should be forgiven for paying more attention to Nasrallah’s threats than to the olive branch Rouhani purportedly extended to Arab countries this week.