May 18, 2016
- Iran Orders Hizbullah to Target Saudi Arabia – David Hearst
Hizbullah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, in the wake of the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria. According to well-informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, who came to Beirut to give his condolences. Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies.
Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, 55, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen. Shukr comes from the core group which started Hizbullah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah. Shukr was responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. His two deputies are Ibrahim Aqil and Talal Hamiah. The appointments are unprecedented, as previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hizbullah.
Shukr’s appointment contradicts an earlier report in Asharq al-Awsatthat Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor. Iran’s order to Hizbullah appointing a successor confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death. (Middle East Eye)
- Hizbullah’s Many Enemies – Joyce Karam
The guessing game continues on who might have killed Hizbullah’s military leader Mustafa Baddredine in Syria last week. Beyond Hizbullah’s 800-1,000 casualties since 2013 in Syria and the toll on its finances, Syria’s most costly burden on Hizbullah has been the losses in its senior ranking leadership and key operational strategists. From Fawzi Ayoub in 2014 to Baddredine in 2016, Hizbullah has lost 10 senior leaders in the Syrian war.
Hizbullah does not have the power and control or local support in Syria that it enjoys within the intelligence, military and security structures inside Lebanon. This creates a major vulnerability. In Syria, Hizbullah is confronted by a very long list of enemies. Syrian rebels, Jabhat Nusra, ISIS, and Israeli, Turkish, Arab, European and U.S. intelligence are all present in Syria and have a stake in taking out Baddredine. The writer is the Washington bureau chief for Al-Hayat. (Al Arabiya)