The Hezbollah leader’s speech seems to be an attempt to raise his profile in the region.
https://www.jpost.com-By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Nasrallah gave a speech on Sunday and an interview with him was aired by Al-Mayadeen, in which he accused US President Donald Trump of acting impulsively and unpredictably in the region. He also said that Saudi Arabia has been acting without reason in recent years, with hatred toward Hezbollah. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has sought to oppose Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon in the past.
Tensions are high in the region between the US and Iran and Hezbollah, a Shi’ite party, is considered a proxy of Shi’ite Iran.
While Nasrallah claimed there were plots to assassinate him, he said Israel is being cautious and has been deterred by Hezbollah’s threats over the last year.
He kept a photo of Soleimani on his desk during his interview to showcase his connection to Soleimani; the two worked closely during the 2006 war against Israel. Imad Mughniyeh, another close Nasrallah associate, was assassinated in 2008. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of Iran’s nuclear program, was assassinated last month.
Minutes before Nasrallah delivered his speech at 8 p.m. Al-Mayadeen news displayed a photo showing US president-elect Joe Biden and US President Donald Trump, making the point that Nasrallah is equal to these US leaders and is leading his movement at a critical time.
Videos from the speech showed Lebanese waving Hezbollah flags, with just a few Lebanese national flags among them. The point was again clear – Hezbollah is Lebanon and Lebanon exists somewhere within the Hezbollah-controlled country, not the other way around.
Nasrallah claimed Soleimani was key to defeating ISIS and the US in the region. He spoke about how shocked he was last year when Soleimani was killed at Baghdad airport and how he found out about the killing.
Iran has recently threatened that any countries in the region hosting US forces could be targeted if the US targets Iran. Israel has warned Iran against any provocations. Israel has also demanded that Iran stop entrenching itself in Syria. In light of the tensions, the US has sent a submarine to the Persian Gulf to display its power, while in Iraq Shi’ite militias have threatened the US and the government. Hezbollah is on alert, according to online comments by knowledgeable analysts.
Nasrallah’s comments appear intended to raise his profile in the region, by suggesting he is as important as Soleimani. He claims Saudi Arabia has singled him out since Riyadh intervened in the Yemen war in which Iran supports the mostly Shi’ite Houthis and has threatened Saudi Arabia and the region from Yemen.