Photo: Matthew Cassel, Al Jazeera
Sure, Hassan Nasrallah just made his second public appearance in five years, but I’d take that less as bravado and more as a sign that Hezbollah considers its situation especially grave. Syria is teetering, and with it much of Hezbollah’s strategic depth. To boot, Hezbollah has gone so far ahead of the curve defending Bashar Assad’s regime that it has lost much of its “resistance” luster with soft sympathizers — secular Arab nationalists, Christians, Sunni Muslims, and others in Lebanon and around the Arab world who hitherto have sided with Hezbollah even if they find some aspects of The Party of God distasteful.
Hezbollah supporters have long worried that their prospects would be dim in a post-Assad Syria. I suspect that Hezbollah’s full-throated backing of Assad, in contrast to its vocal derision of other Arab tyrants, has actually made those prospects far worse. Bringing that worry into the open is Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun, who has been telling lots of reporters that when the regime falls, so too will Syria’s special relationship with Iran and Hezbollah. He tells CNN:
“The Syrian people stood completely by Hezbollah once. But today, they are surprised that Hezbollah did not return the favor and support the Syrian’s people struggle for freedom.”
Hezbollah, I think, has good reason to worry. Their days of easy access to training areas and weapons resupply are numbered.