Hezbollah’s precarious position in Middle East politics

The latest news out of Bulgaria, where a suicide bomber blew up a bus carrying Israeli tourists at the Burgas airport, is that the bomber was a foreign national, i.e. not Bulgarian, and the authorities were using DNA samples from his fingers to help identify him. Reportedly foreign intelligence agencies are also helping in the investigation.

Theories on the bombing abound. One theory places responsibility on Iran, as vengeance for the assassination of many of the scientists crucial to its nuclear program. Iran has blamed Israel and the U.S. for these killings. Significantly, the killings took place on a date that is the 18th anniversary of an attack on Argentina’s main Jewish organization which killed 85 people.  Iran has denied responsibility, despite evidence which clearly implicates the nation. Argentina has also accused Iran of being behind the attack.

The other strong and likelier possibility is the Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist organization. In fact Israel has directly accused Hezbollah for perpetrating the attack. Again, Iran has been known for extending support to this group over the years, primarily using Syria as a conduit or cover, call it what you will. Given the quality of Israeli intelligence, this may be more plausible, though Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetano is reported to have denied media reports that the local Hezbollah outfit was responsible for the bombing. “We are talking about a person that is not a Bulgarian citizen,” Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told a news conference. “We are exchanging information with our Israeli colleagues and the other services.”

Our sources tell us that they have confirmed that Hezzbollah is in fact behind the bombing.  Iran is an open supporter of the extreme Shia terrorist group. Iran and/or Hezzbollah will likely face retaliation over the terrorist attack.

If it is, indeed, proved that the Hezbollah masterminded the attack, what are the implications for its future?

This could place the organization in very poor light. It may be noted that the Hezbollah came out very strongly in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after the July 18 bombing in Damascus that killed senior security officials in Damascus. As mentioned above, Syria has traditionally been a strong ally for the Hezbollah, which over the years has become an increasingly powerful player in Lebanon, and is presently the dominant constituent in the country’s coalition government.

Yet, the irony is Assad is himself under fire as his regime is challenged and a civil war rages in the country. In the event of his overthrow, the Hezbollah will lose an important pillar. People have criticized the Hezbollah for shedding tears on the Damascus bombing, but remaining mum on the atrocities committed on Syrians under Assad’s regime. Even within Syria, the Hezbollah’s support for Assad is being protested.

Given the tumultuous changes likely in Syria, the Hezbollah may soon find itself out on a political limb. More so, as its support to Assad is now damaging its image within Lebanon itself. Lebanon has been seeing violence heat up as the pro Shia Hezzbollah supporters fight with the Sunnis opposing Bashar Assad. Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are the only countries which have friendly ties with Iran. The fall of Syria would be a major blow for Iran.

Our sources tell us that Assad looks to be carving out an Alawite state along the coast, as the major cities in Syria are now following to the Sunni led opposition.