Why has Iran become terrified of the Lebanese Hezbollah being blacklisted as a terrorist organization? Even a quick glance at the reactions and remarks made by senior Iranian regime officials can provide us an answer to the political and military definition of this blacklisting.
The Gulf Cooperation Council held a session in Tunisia where they enlisted the Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist entity. Consequently, the Council of Interior Ministers of a large number of Arabic countries gathering in Tunisia officially placed Hezbollah in their terrorist list. The two countries of Iraq and Lebanon did not vote to this bill. Iraqi Interior Minister Ghaban, a known member of the terrorist 9th Badr Organization, left the session in protest, knowing Iraqi militia groups are next in line to also be blacklisted.
To understand the importance of this subject from Iran’s perspective I raise your attention to two pieces published in the Iranian regime’s media:
State-run Balagh website (March 2, 2016): “We would not be exaggerating to say Hezbollah is responsible for the ground operations in Russia’s military strategy in Syria, al-Akhbar wrote. Therefore, if Hezbollah is described as a terrorist organization and attacks are carried out against this entity, it will be considered as an attack against the Syrian army and Russia.”
State-run Khedmat website (March 2, 2016): “Saudi Arabia and other Arabic countries, who have severed their ties with Iran in January, intend to place Hezbollah in the list of terrorist organizations in an attempt to further confront Iran and weaken their measures in Syria.”
Firstly, the Iranian regime knows quite well that the political stance of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries must be taken seriously, and they have done so.
“This decision has been made to confront Iran’s project in the region. There has been much delay in this decision and Saudi Arabia must have blacklisted Hezbollah back in 2013 when the list was first published,” a leading Arab analyst said. (Jamal Ghashoghchi – Al Jazeera TV – March 2, 2016)
Secondly, it is quite obvious and there is no doubt that this action taken by Arab states is actually against the masters of Hezbollah, being none other than Iran. Even the regime’s own media outlets have admitted to this reality.
It is clear that when Hezbollah is attacked and blacklisted, Iran, being it’s Godfather, is also blasted and reacts in response. There is nothing new in this. However, the question is what is behind all this reaction to this new development.
Iran is attempting to depict an image as if Hezbollah is part of the strategy of Russia’s presence in Syria, and they are pursuing a united war in this regard: the air force being provided by Russia and Hezbollah being the ground forces! However, the facts on the ground is different, something Iran is attempting to cloak; first of all, Hezbollah is actually part of Iran’s strategy in Syria, with their forces and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) fighting shoulder to shoulder in Syria. If Hezbollah is targeted, the IRGC is targeted. Secondly, while entering the scene in Syria’s war, Russia is seeking completely different objectives and interests in Syria. Russia has only entered the Syria war to obtain incentives in other areas, and it would be quite natural if it saw the consequences becoming too serious, placing it in a face-off against Arab states – considering the major interests it has with these countries – Moscow would not be willing to sacrifice these interests for a war with no end in sight. This is exactly why Russia entered joint peace talks with the United States; any such peace has created much tension for the Iranian regime, describing it as an “American peace.” If Russia has entered a political process (which it has), and based on normal political calculations, it will seek to continue this trend to the very end. If Moscow decides to stand its position and enter a conflict with coalition forces, there will be no prospect in the logical military balance of power, leaving it defeated and crushed. If it decides to withdraw, the meaning is obvious. Therefore, the Iranian regime has no future in Syria other than defeat. Such a defeat will quickly lead into its own apparatus.