Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said that jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) would have reached Beirut had his party not sent its fighters to Syria.
“Had we not interfered in Syria at the appropriate moment, ISIL would have been in Beirut now,” he told the leaders of al-Mahdi Scouts Association during a meeting on Sunday.
The Hizbullah secretary-general wondered why the party’s critics have not condemned ISIL’s advance on the Iraqi capital.
In the latest fighting, the militants took control of several neighborhoods of Tal Afar, a mainly Shiite Turkmen town between the rebel-held second city of Mosul and the Syrian border, officials and residents said.
The Iraqi government has insisted it is making progress in retaking territory from the militants, who currently hold most or parts of four provinces north of Baghdad.
The security forces will be joined by a flood of volunteers after a call to arms from top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
Nasrallah lauded al-Sistani’s call, saying it “aims at protecting Iraq and not just a single sect.”
The Hizbullah chief hinted that some regional and Gulf countries were involved in the fighting in Iraq.
“Who is benefiting from what’s going on there?” he asked.
He also raised doubt about Washington’s stance as it weighs possible drone strikes against the militants.
Nasrallah expressed relief over the improvement of the security situation in Lebanon. But warned that “this does not mean things have gone back to normal.”
“We should always take precautions,” he said.
He reiterated the need to elect a president who “does not stab the resistance in the back.”
Lebanon has been without a head of state since the expiry of Michel Suleiman’s six-year term on May 25.
Parliament failed to elect a successor over differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances on a compromise candidate.