A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Figthing in Qusair and Hizbullah's Role: Will this Spur More Outside Intervention?

There has been heavy fighting over the weekend and today in the Syrian rebel-held town of Qusair, as Syrian government forces, alongside Hizbullah fighters, have claimed to have retain much of the town. If they retake Qusair, they could block the overland supply of arms to the rebels from Sunni militants in northern Lebanon, as Qusair controls the approaches to the border.

The open involvement of Hizbullah (and, reportedly, of Lebanese Sunnis fighting on the rebel side), is now openly acknowledged; Hizbullah admits that at least 13 "martyrs" have fallen in the battle for Qusair. This fact, and the prospects of a significant tactical victory for the Syrian regime, may spur those calling for greater Western involvement in the Syrian conflict. The recent reports of Russia supplying new missiles to the regime are also likely to supply advocates for intervention with new ammunition. The Syrian war had seemed somewhat stalemated; sudden new advances on the regime side could tilt the balance.

At the very least I suspect the fighting in Qusair deserves the attention it is receiving in the Middle Eastern media, as opposed to the near silence about it here in the US, which I suspect may change given the role of Hizbullah.

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