Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah,
Hundreds of Lebanese Shia men have died in Syria under the banner of Hezbollah Lebanon; hundreds more have been injured and maimed. This high price of Hezbollah’s intervention in the war in Syria is being paid by Shia families in Baalbek, southern Lebanon, and in Beirut’s southern suburbs. All of Lebanon is also suffering from the economic, social and political impact of this intervention. Meanwhile, the war is dragging on with no end in sight. Syria has become the Vietnam of Iran and Hezbollah.
Hezbollah Lebanon is fighting in Syria to prevent the fall of the Assad regime, a regime that has been committing grave human rights abuses, crimes against humanity and war crimes for almost four years. In fact, your fighters are complicit in many of these crimes. This has inevitably caused Hezbollah Lebanon to lose the moral high ground it once held, and the party’s leadership and military commanders today face the possibility of standing trial for their complicity in these crimes.
Your direct intervention in Syria has sealed the fate of Bashar al-Assad as a puppet in the hands of Sepah Pasdaran (Iran’s Revolutionary Guards). The Syrian regime would collapse in no time if Iran ended its massive financial and military support. But the price that you are paying is too high: like Iran, Hezbollah is today bleeding in Syria.
You argued that Hezbollah had to intervene in Syria to prevent Sunni jihadists from attacking Shia areas inside Lebanon. But the reality is that your direct military intervention in Syria, especially since the battle of al-Qusayr in 2013, led to more and more jihadists planning and carrying out terrorist attacks inside Lebanon as retribution. It also led to an attrition war along the Syrian-Lebanese borders. The Lebanese Shia communities today live in a state of constant fear and insecurity.
You argued that sending Hezbollah fighters to Syria was necessary to protect holy Shia shrines, such as that of Sayyeda Zaynab in Damascus. But the shrine had been secured and left alone by Syrian rebels before Hezbollah and other Shia militias occupied the area. Now, the shrine is in more danger than ever because of your intervention and the subsequent sectarian tensions caused by this intervention. Furthermore, there are no Shia shrines in the majority of the areas where your fighters have been leading and fighting battles (Homs, Qalamon, Aleppo, Daraa, etc.).
Before its involvement in Syria, Hezbollah was praised for helping liberate southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000. Today, Hezbollah has itself come to be seen as an occupying force in Syria and as a sectarian militia used by the Iranian regime in its military adventures in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
More worryingly, the fact that Hezbollah fighters are killing mostly Sunni rebels and civilians in Syria is creating a growing fitna (sectarian strife) that is bound to destabilise the whole region, including Lebanon, for years to come.
In light of the above, Sayyed Nasrallah, we call upon you to help end this fitna before it is too late. For this you need to pull all Hezbollah fighters, trainers and advisors out of Syria. In parallel, a national reconciliation process should be started in Lebanon to heal the wounds and turn a new page.
We are aware that this policy shift would mean cutting off your relationship with the Iranian regime and refusing the orders of Sepah Qods, the foreign arm of Sepah Pasdaran.
But we, at Naame Shaam, believe that this is the only way to end the suicidal intervention of Hezbollah Lebanon in Syria and to save the Shia community in Lebanon from a disaster.
Naame Shaam’s “open letter” to the leader of Hezbollah Lebanon, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Speaker: Fouad Hamdan, Campaign Director of Naame Shaam