Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia and Turkey of mulling a ground operation in Syria with the aim of shoring up embattled rebels allegedly allied with them, as he downplayed the possibility of any Israeli war on Lebanon in the near future.
“The militants' successive defeats have pushed Saudi Arabia and Turkey to consider sending ground troops under the excuse of fighting Daesh (Islamic State group) under the banner of the international coalition and this is a very important development,” said Nasrallah in a televised speech marking Hizbullah's “Martyr Leaders Day”.
“Saudi Arabia and Turkey have now awoken to Daesh's threat. They have woken up because the groups they are backing are suffering defeats,” a sarcastic Nasrallah added.
“Saudi Arabia and Turkey want to send ground troops in order to be present at the negotiations table or to continue the war,” he said.
Nasrallah warned that Riyadh and Ankara “are willing to spark a world war” rather than “accept any national settlement in Syria.”
“Turkey has suffered the fall of its 'new Ottoman empire scheme' and the Saudi plot in Syria has also failed,” Hizbullah's chief noted.
He also accused the two major regional forces of agreeing with Israel on the alleged objective of preventing Syrian President Bashar Assad from staying in power in Syria.
“Israel agrees with Saudi Arabia and Turkey that they must not allow a solution for Syria that keeps President Assad in power, even if it involves the presence of the moderate Syrian opposition in a national unity government,” he said.
“The Saudis, Turks and Israelis have rejected this and that's why they are paralyzing the negotiations. They are putting preconditions and raising the ceiling of the demands, the thing that even the U.S. has started to criticize,” Nasrallah charged.
He also noted that all Turkey needs to do to fight the IS is to seal its border and prevent the jihadist group from selling oil through its territory, while accusing Saudi Arabia of supporting the newly emerging IS branch in Yemen.
Nasrallah also accused Israel of seeking to partition Syria into four states – “a Sunni state, an Alawite state, a Druze state and a Kurdish state.”
“Israel has failed to push Syria into a partitioning phase, because the Syrian army and its allies are fighting in Latakia, northern Aleppo, the southern Daraa, Hasakeh and Deir Ezzor. This means that the national decision in Syria is to reject partitioning,” Nasrallah pointed out.
He then vowed that the Syrian regime and its allies, including Hizbullah, “will not allow Daesh, al-Nusra (Front), the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel or Turkey to seize control of Syria.”
Nasrallah also accused some Arab states of establishing ties and alliances with Israel.
Israel “is now presenting itself as an ally and defender of the Sunni sect and this is being endorsed in some Arab capitals and the circumstances are being exploited in order to move some Arab-Israeli ties from the shadows to the public arena,” he said.
“You are free to consider Iran an enemy but how can you consider Israel a friend and an ally? This issue must be confronted in a serious manner,” Nasrallah added, addressing the alleged Arab governments.
Turning to media reports about the possibility of an Israeli war against Hizbullah in Lebanon, Nasrallah stressed that “Israel's psychological warfare is of no use against us.”
“There is no need to fear an Israeli war because after the first and second Lebanon wars, Israeli decided that it would only wage war if a quick victory is guaranteed. When Israel knows that there is a force in Lebanon that can prevent it from achieving a quick victory, it will not engage in such a war,” he added, reassuring that Hizbullah is still boosting its military assets.
Giving an example about Hizbullah's deterrence capabilities, Nasrallah noted that a couple of rockets are capable of causing a catastrophe in the northern Israeli city of Haifa that would be equivalent to a “nuclear bomb” attack.
“An Israeli expert has said that Haifa's residents fear a deadly attack on the ammonia storage tanks, which contain more than 15,000 tons of this gas,” Nasrallah said.
“This would lead to the death of tens of thousands of residents and 800,000 Israelis would be affected,” he quoted the Israeli expert as saying.
“This would be exactly as a nuclear bomb and we can say that Lebanon today has a nuclear bomb, seeing as any rocket that might hit these tanks is capable of creating a nuclear bomb effect,” Nasrallah added.
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