Russia Is Handing Heavy Weapons To Hezbollah

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

Russia is reportedly sending heavy weapons directly to Hezbollah commanders fighting in the middle of Syria, and the weapons are arriving without any extra strings attached.

The weapons include long-range tactical missiles and anti-tank weapons, among other items, and there are no restrictions on the use of the weapons. The commanders said that Russia has allowed Hezbollah to use the weapons in any capacity, even to target Israel, mostly because Hezbollah above all else wants to maintain its fight on that front.

The Hezbollah commanders, who informed The Daily Beast of the relationship, said that there is clear cooperation between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. In particular, cooperation between Russia and Hezbollah stems back at least to 2012. In November 2015, Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov stated that the Kremlin does not believe that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.

“Some say Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. We maintain contacts and relations with them because we do not consider them a terrorist organization,” Bogdanov said.

“They have never committed any terrorist acts on Russian territory,” Bogdanov added. “Hezbollah was elected by people to the Lebanese parliament. There are cabinet members and ministers who are from Hezbollah in Lebanon. It’s a legitimate socio-political force.”

Cooperation between Russia and Hezbollah is unlikely to be warmly looked upon by the United States, as the State Department has classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Hezbollah has been implicated in bombing the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of 241 servicemembers in 1983. At the time of the bombing, there were 1,800 Marines in Beirut. Although Hezbollah has its roots in Lebanon, Syria and Iran were also suspected in the bombing.

Hezbollah has apparently supplied key intelligence to Russia to use in airstrikes. After Russian airstrikes began on Sept. 30 2015, a Hezbollah official told Al-Monitor that Russia “has its partners on the ground in the Syrian army and its allies, like us.”

Aside from Hezbollah’s activities in Syria, which include training the Syrian army, there is of course the ongoing conflict it has with Israel. Israeli airstrikes are met with hits on Israeli soldiers, which in turns sparks assassinations of Hezbollah commanders.

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