Hezbollah in Syria: Same Jihadists, Different Jihad
Not all jihadists are fighting the same jihad. Just ask the members of the Victory Front, a Sunni militant Islamist organization that has played an increasingly leading role in the battle for Syria. Their aim is to topple the Syrian government and establish an Islamic state. Their cause is liberation in the name of God. They are self-styled holy warriors. And oh yeah, they recently pledged allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda.
But their aims are diametrically opposed to those of another militant Islamist terrorist organization: Hezbollah. Under Hassan Nasrallah, the group has had an open relationship with Iran and historically strong ties with the Alawite government of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. These ties persist.
With a firm footing in southern Lebanon and influence across the border in Syria, Hezbollah has come to augment the Syrian military in its efforts to quell the rebellion in that country. Most clearly and most recently, Hezbollah fighters are reported to have initiated an offensive around mid-April in the area surrounding the rebel-held city of Qusayr, located in Syria’s western province of Homs.
And Sunni jihadists the world over don’t like this. In a post dated April 20 in the Sunni jihadi forum Ansar al-Mujahideen (“Supporters of the Holy Warriors”), the author extolls the Victory Front for an ambush against the “dogs” of Hezbollah in Homs, killing more than 20 of the “pigs”. Coming from Muslim fundamentalists, these insults are about as bad as they can get.
In the Victory Front and Hezbollah there have two jihadists groups – the former Sunni, the latter Shiite – fighting two different jihads in Syria. Both of them are designated by the United States as terrorist organizations. In this case, the enemy of the enemy is not always a friend.