Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Iraq Militia Vows To Back Hezbollah In War Against Israel, Lebanese President Warns Of 'New Wars' Over Multiple Disputes With Israel

Iraqi militia vows to back Hezbollah in war with Israel

 The head of the powerful Iraqi Shiite militia Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba pledged on Tuesday to stand alongside its Lebanese ally Hezbollah if a new war breaks out with Israel.
Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Hezbollah have fought side-by-side to bolster Syrian government troops since 2013, most prominently against the Islamic State terror group in eastern Syria.
On Tuesday, the movement’s secretary general Akram al-Kaabi visited the tomb of top Hezbollah terror commander Imad Mughniyeh to commemorate the 10 years since his death.
“We in the Iraqi resistance stand with Hezbollah, and we will stand with Hezbollah in any Israeli attack or action against it,” Kaabi said.
He pledged to fight “with Hezbollah in a single row, on a single front, just as we stood with them on a single front in Iraq or Syria.”
Kaabi spoke in Beirut’s southern suburbs, where Hezbollah has a strong support base.
Both Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Hezbollah are backed by Iran. They fought alongside Syrian government troops and other allied groups to oust IS from key cities in eastern Syria last year, including Albu Kamal.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday warned that a number of mounting disputes with Israel, including contested rights to offshore natural gas exploration and the construction of a border wall by Israel, could lead to war.
“Lebanon has taken a decision to defend itself whether there is an Israeli attack on its land or on its oil rights,” Aoun said in an interview on the Egyptian news program ON Live.
“Until now,” he added, “there hasn’t been an attack…There are forces intervening diplomatically and politically to help resolve this dispute,” he added.
On Thursday Reuters reported that senior American envoy David Satterfield, the acting assistant US secretary of state, had relayed a message from Israel to the Lebanese that Jerusalem does not want an escalation of violence.
Aoun, however, warned that if Israel carried out its threats, it could lead to a new round of military conflict between the two sides.
“The Israeli verbal provocation does not matter to us, but if it comes into effect, there will be new wars,” he said.
Aoun contended during the interview that Israel has “made itself a racist state” and is responsible for the lack of peace with its Arab neighbors.
Israel “wants only dominance and its results,” he said.
Hezbollah, a powerful terror group considered to have more military clout than the Lebanese army itself, recently threatened to open fire on IDF soldiers building the barrier, Israel’s Hadashot TV news reported earlier this month.

Israel does not intend to halt the construction, Jerusalem said, and Hezbollah will “pay dearly” if it tries to inflame tensions. “Israel’s reaction will be strong and painful,” sources in Israel’s security establishment were quoted as saying.

Tensions also flared last week when Lebanon issued an offshore oil and gas exploration tender on the country’s maritime border, prompting a war of words with Israel which has laid claim to one of the fields in question.

On Friday, Lebanon signed its first contract to drill for oil and gas off its coast with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, ENI, and Novatek, including in a block disputed by Israel.

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