The leader of Hezbollah has declared that Saudi Arabia sent a “message of blood” with its execution of Shi’ite cleric Nimir al Nimir. “We are today faced by an appalling event, a huge event that Al Saud took lightly … but this is an event that cannot be taken lightly,” said Hassan Nasrallah in a televised speech. “Al Saud wants Sunni-Shi’ite strife. They are the ones who ignited it before, and are doing so in every part of the world.”
Hezbollah has a long history as an Iranian proxy in the Levant, and a new allied organization has become important in Iraq since the American-led Iraq war. However, allied organizations have also carried out important strikes within Saudi Arabia. Most particularly, the Khobar Towers bombing targeting American servicemembers was the work of a group describing itself as a branch of Hezbollah. The truck bomb tactic used in the Khobar Towers attack was one that Hezbollah had in the past favored in attacks on Americans, such as the 1982 attack on the Beirut barracks of the United States Marine Corps.
Whether Hezbollah has a significant strike capability within Saudi Arabia is not known. However, they can strike at Saudi interests closer to their home base. Lebanese minister Ahmad Fatfat warns that Hezbollah should be expected to be behind strikes against Saudi-backed targets in the near future.
In the current conflict in Syria, Hezbollah is serving as an arm of Iran’s interests. They are ‘up to their necks’ in the fighting in Syria. Their logistical support to the Lebanese army has become so significant that the army is essentially reliant upon them in areas. Though the United States correctly names them as a terrorist organization, and is working to try to attack their financing streams among international banks, the Russians have recently announced that they will not consider Hezbollah terrorists. Since entering the Syrian war on the Iranian side, the Russians find in Hezbollah a useful ally. Russia has asked Hezbollah not to increase tensions with Israel at this time over an Israeli airstrike that killed another radical Shi’ite cleric, not wishing to expand the number of fronts on which it is fighting. Hezbollah considers that killing an “assassination” and has sworn vengeance in spite of Russian calls. Saudi Arabia, which is already on the other side of the war from Russia, may not enjoy the same courtesy from the Kremlin in any case.
Former Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri criticized the Hezbollah leader’s address on the death of Nimir, pointing out that their Iranian masters were a fortiori guilty of the same crimes of which Hezbollah accused Saudi Arabia. Hariri is partly of Saudi descent.
“The talk about tyranny, oppression, terrorism, murder, crime, executions, destruction, forced displacement, disruption of dialogue, massacres, interference in the affairs of others, as well as the accusations of sowing discord, disseminating the culture of insults, excluding opponents, refusing the others, eliminating parties and religious men and destroying their homes and headquarters over their heads… these accusations launched by Hezbollah leaders actually describe the behavior of the Iranian regime and the Iranian expansion project, at the expense of the Arabs, their states and societies.”
Here at IranTruth we leveled a similar criticism against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after his remarks critical of the Islamic State (ISIS). In fact, everything he accused them of distorting Islam by doing is Iranian state policy, generally justified by appeals to the Iranian revolutionary understanding of the proper place of Islam in society. Claims to the contrary are either self-deception, a supreme lack of self-awareness, or propaganda.