MidEast

Hezbollah Chief: Group Battling Sunni “Takfiri Project” in Syria

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah today committed his Lebanon-based Shiite terror group to further fighting in Syria:

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group vowed Friday to keep fighting in Syria “wherever needed” and said his Shiite Muslim group has made a “calculated” decision to defend the Syrian regime no matter what the consequences… “We will be where we should be, we will continue to bear the responsibility we took upon ourselves,” Nasrallah said. “There is no need to elaborate… we leave the details to the requirements of the battlefield.”

Nasrallah has also taken to explicitly describing the conflict in sectarian language:

Nasrallah reiterated that the fight in Syria was one against the “American, Israeli and Takfiri project” that was meant to destroy Syria, which along with Iran has been the group’s main backer. Takfiri Islamists refers to an ideology that urges Sunni Muslims to kill anyone they consider an infidel.

Meanwhile a top aide to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi pointedly declared Thursday that Egyptian citizens were permitted to go to Syria to fight against the Bashar al-Assad regime, and would not be prosecuted upon returning to the country:

A senior official in Egypt’s presidency said Thursday that Egyptians are free to join the fight in Syria and will not be prosecuted upon return amid increasingly public calls by leading clerics for Sunni Muslims to back the rebels there with firepower. In a response to an Associated Press question about the government’s stance on citizens going to fight alongside Syrian rebels, Khaled al-Qazzaz said that “the right of travel or freedom of travel is open for all Egyptians,” adding that the state was taking no measures against anyone who goes to fight in Syria. He underlined that Egypt seeks a political solution to Syria’s conflict and warned of the danger of it becoming a “regional war.”

Al-Qazzaz is was Morsi’s campaign chief and is now a foreign policy advisor. His statement comes amid others by Sunni clerics – including by influential Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi – exhorting Sunnis to participate in the Syrian conflict. The announcement will deepen fears that the two-year sectarian conflict will widen into a regional war.

[Photo: European External Action Service – EEAS / Flickr]