|Giselle Khoury interviewing Subhi al-Tufayli in Baalbek the day after Qusayr|
Former Hezbollah leader Subhi al-Tufayli says Iran has opened the door to an inevitable spillover of the Syria war into Lebanon and provoked 1.3 billion Muslim Sunnis by ordering the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement to help out Bashar al-Assad’s army.
He made the accusation in a 25-minute interview with Giselle Khoury for Alarabiya TV news channel.
The interview took place in Baalbek within 24 hours of the fall of the Syrian town of Qusayr to Syrian government troops backed by Hezbollah fighters.
Tufayli, who spent nine years studying theology in Najaf was spokesman for Hezbollah between 1985 and 1989, and became the militant Shiite group’s first Secretary-General from 1989 until 1991.
I excerpted and paraphrased from the interview these remarks by Tufayli on the fallout from Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria:
Lebanon is bound for war – a war worse than any Lebanon has seen to date.
Regrettably -- regrettably again -- the war will be between Sunnis and Shiites who embraced the initiative of invading Syria.
We (Shiites) have alienated Lebanon’s Sunnis, the Free Syrian Army and Sunnis worldwide. We provoked everyone.
When we -- (a reference to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah specifically) – declare openly, “Whoever does not share our view can come and fight us in Syria,” we are effectively provoking the world’s 1.3 billion Muslim Sunnis and not only the Sunnis of Lebanon, Syria and the Arab world.
Time will show that talk of a Hezbollah victory on the home front in the 7 May 2008 conflict in Lebanon is haywire.
At times, certain countries – in this case America – have an interest to see Hezbollah come out on top in a confrontation, such as happened in Beirut on May 7, 2008.
Talk of a Hezbollah victory in Qusayr is also a big lie.
I think Hezbollah suffered its worst defeat in Qusayr.
Qusayr is a small town. It was besieged. Some of its people were very poorly armed. It was blockaded and pounded by all sorts of shells, bombs and missiles from the air and the ground. It held out for a some time. When its defenders ran out of ammunitions, they were able to pull out and leave the town.
What I am saying is that Hezbollah defeated no one. The people in Qusayr held out as long as their weapons permitted. When they had the means to defend themselves, neither Hezbollah nor anyone else could overrun the town.
And I know the high number of fatalities suffered by the attackers of Qusayr, not to speak of the wounded.
The attackers did not go into Qusayr before the defenders completed their withdrawal.
All the boastful statements about changing the Middle East map evaporated at Qusayr’s doorstep. The empty rhetoric reminds me of Gamal Abdel-Nasser bragging about his al-Kaher and al-Zafer missiles.
Nothing is in store for us after Qusayr except catastrophes, especially if the Syrians (fighting Assad) manage to get qualitative weapons.
Let’s wait and see if (Hezbollah) won Hermel peace and stability or brimstone and fire.
Hezbollah was founded as a party to resist Israel, to defend and uphold the Ummah (Muslims throughout the world).
All this melted away in Qusayr. Even the rank and file members of Hezbollah know we are no more a resistance party, a party to resist Israelis. We’ve been turned into a party to fight Muslims whether in Beirut or Qusayr, and now Damascus and then Homs.
Can you imagine Hezbollah joining a sectarian war?
The foolish step by Iran, ordering Hezbollah to intervene militarily in Syria, laid the ground for a chapter of killings, wars, bloodshed, harming children and women and desecrating the Ummah.
Is it a case of self-defense when Hezbollah attacks women and children in Qusayr?
States always boss the sides they finance. Iran vis-à-vis Hezbollah is no exception.
Blame the fire that will unquestionably scorch Lebanon on Iran and Iran only.