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Qassim

Hezbollah’s second in command Sheikh Naim Qassem warned Thursday during an interview with the ( Iranian) Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA that any war waged by Israel against Iran will will set the entire region on fire.

“I don’t have a final vision for the region’s situation at that time because this matter is related to the aggression’s nature, timing and area,” Qassem told IRNA .

Dr. Hilal Khashan, a Palestinian-American scholar who chairs the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut, said that last February that Israel may wage a preemptive war against Hezbollah prior to attacking Iran.

Last year Qassem also warned that a war against Iran would backfire in all of the Middle East and Khaled Mashaal, Hamas chief, said in Tehran last December that if Iran is attacked “all the resistance movements in the region will act as one movement against Israel.” Both Hezbollah and Hamas are funded and backed by Iran

Qassem in the interview ruled out a new war on Lebanon or Syria, noting that “if Israel was assured it would win such a war against Lebanon, it would’ve waged it today before tomorrow.”

There are operational complications, military and political issues that tell us that “an imminent war is not likely.”

Qassem defended Hezbollah’s identity as a Lebanese entity:

“Hezbollah is a Lebanese party with Lebanese members and leadership and its jihad took place on Lebanese territory. Its liberation of Lebanon and all these headlines are Lebanese headlines.”.

Qassem said that the accusations of some Lebanese against Hezbollah of being an “Iranian party” are “aimed at pushing people away from Hezbollah and creating doubts about its intentions . He added ” but these doubts and accusations will not have any effect because all people support Hezbollah , the party of resistance, integrity and sincere work, which refutes all allegations.”

According to observers Hezbollah’s popularity in Lebanon nosedived following the 2006 war with Israel, when it occupied downtown Beirut for nearly 2 years to try to bring down the government and when in 2008 it occupied the Sunni part of Beirut and tried to occupy the Druze stronghold of Mount Lebanon.

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