Jihadist forces marching towards Baghdad would today be in Beirut had Hezbollah not intervened in the war in Syria, party chief Hassan Nasrallah was quoted as saying by As-Safir newspaper Tuesday.
“If [Hezbollah] hadn’t intervened in Syria the right way and at the right time, ISIS would be in Beirut now,” Nasrallah reportedly said in a speech to the Mahdi Scouts on Sunday.
The secretary general was referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria which has taken over large swathes of territory in Iraq since launching a massive offensive last week, and is encroaching on the capital.
The al-Qaeda breakaway group controls territory in both Iraq and Syria, but its presence in the latter is limited to the north after army forces backed by Hezbollah fighters drove them out of the Lebanese border regions.
In his speech, Nasrallah said the call to arms made by religious authorities in the Najaf, including top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was “not intended to protect a particular sect, but to protect Iraq as a whole.”
He was also skeptical about “some Gulf and regional countries” that might have a role in Iraq’s collapse at the hands of ISIS.
“Why don’t we hear those who condemned [Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria] condemn ISIS?” he asked.
On the local front, Nasrallah stressed for the need to elect a president and put an end to Lebanon’s political stalemate.
Nasrallah said that Hezbollah wanted a new president, but not one that “would stab the Resistance in the back.”