Hezbollah building up weapons, backs Syria

2011-12-06 21:31

kalahari.com

Beirut - The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah, whose backers Syria and Iran are at the centre of heightened regional tension, made a rare public appearance on Tuesday marking the Shi'ite Muslim festival of Ashura and said his group was building up its arsenal.

Surrounded by armed bodyguards, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah walked through a crowd of Shi'ites in Beirut's southern suburbs, Hezbollah's stronghold, and greeted tens of thousands of supporters from the podium before disappearing for a few minutes to give his speech via a giant screen.

Hezbollah, which fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Israel in 2006, sees serious problems facing both Syria, where a crackdown on anti-government protests has provoked mounting violence, and Iran, whose nuclear programme has led to Western sanctions and increasing isolation.

Nasrallah, who has been in hiding for fear of assassination since 2006, struck a defiant note in his speech, giving no sign that his allies' troubles were affecting Hezbollah, which has an armed wing and a political movement.

"Every day we are growing in number, our training is getting better, we are becoming more confident and our weapons are increasing," he said. "If anyone is betting that our weapons are rusting, we [say] no, we replace our rusting weapons."

Nasrallah told the crowd his public appearance was a message to those "who believe they can threaten us".

He reiterated his support for his Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, described his government as a "resistance regime". The eight-month-old revolt against Assad's rule has resulted in some 3 500 deaths, according to UN estimates.

Hezbollah was formed nearly 30 years ago to confront Israel's occupation of south Lebanon.

Yellow and black flag

The border area, inactive for more than two years, was jolted last Tuesday when a rocket was fired from south Lebanon, damaging two buildings in northern Israel and drawing return fire, but there was no claim of responsibility

Hezbollah believes the West is working to reshape the Middle East by replacing Assad with a ruler friendly to Israel and hostile to itself.

Predominantly Shi'ite Iran, Hezbollah's other main backer, is being squeezed by Western sanctions imposed because of suspicions that its nuclear programme is aimed at producing atomic weapons, though Tehran denies this.

Shortly before Nasrallah's speech tens of thousands of men, women and children marched in the streets of Beirut's southern suburbs carrying Hezbollah's yellow and black flag and banners bearing religious slogans.

Beating their chests in a sign of grief at the killing of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson, Imam Hussein, at the battle of Karbala in 680 AD, their chants ranged from "O Hussein" to "We will never be humiliated" and "Death to America, death to Israel."

The mourning festival of Ashura commemorates the death of Hussein and most of his family, leading to the division of Islam into Sunni and Shi'ite sects, a split that continues to plague the Islamic world.

Read more on:    hezbollah  |  bashar al-assad  |  lebanon
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

Herbex – buy 3 & get 1 free!

Fat burn packs, appetite control chewies, stretch mark cream and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off Jinger Jack handbags

Spice up your wardrobe and save 30% on stylish Jinger Jack handbags. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 books & pay for 2

The cheapest of the 3 books will be free. Offer valid while stocks last. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Hisense 40” Full HD LED Television now R3999. Offer valid while stocks last. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to network and share your ideas and thoughts with your colleagues and friends. Information overload is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.