Hassan Nasrallah has accused Saudi Arabia of spreading ISLAMIC State ideology across the region amid rising political tensions.
Beirut, Lebanon – Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has accused Saudi Arabia of exporting ISIL ideology and transporting cars equipped with explosives for suicide attacks into Iraq.
In a televised address on Monday, Hassan addressed Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.
“Your Excellency, terrorists are the ones exporting ISIS ideology to the world,” Nasrallah said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
“Terrorists are people who send thousands of Saudis to carry out suicide operations in Iraq and Syria, and that is you.”
Nasrallah also slammed the kingdom for its close ties to the United States and for the military campaign it leads in Yemen.
Nasrallah’s comments came in response to political opponents and critics in Lebanon who have criticized the Iran-backed party for damaging relations between the cash-strapped country and Saudi Arabia.
“We are not attacking Saudi Arabia. They are engaged in a larger conspiracy that is destroying the region,” the Hezbollah leader said.
Lebanon is struggling to resolve diplomatic disputes with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, which have criticized Hezbollah for their role in Yemen and other regional conflicts. In October, Gulf states withdrew their ambassadors, and Saudi Arabia banned all Lebanese exports, after a video emerged of Information Minister George Kordahi criticizing the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in a speech last week called on Lebanon to stop Hezbollah’s “terrorist hegemony over the Lebanese state”.
Hezbollah has recently come under scrutiny from its key ally, the Free Patriotic Movement, one of Lebanon’s most important Christian political parties, founded by President Michel Aoun.
Last week, Aoun indirectly criticized hezbollah for straining relations with Gulf states by “interfering in matters of no concern”, as well as its military dominance as an armed group in Lebanon.
Tributes to Soleimani
Nasrallah’s speech marked the second anniversary of the killing of senior Iranian military official General Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani led Iran’s Quds Force from 1998 until he was assassinated in January 2020 in a US drone strike near Baghdad’s international airport.
“The killings form a new stage of awareness, insight and knowledge about the main enemy,” Nasrallah said, referring to the US, which he accused of “creating Daesh in Iraq and Syria”.
“Martyr Haji Qassem Soleimani fought the American occupation of Iraq, contributed to building up Iraqi resistance factions, and gave them money, weapons, strength, hope, and confidence until the great victory and expulsion of American forces from Iraq,” Nasrallah added.
The Quds Force plays a key role in the fighting in Syria and Iraq and is responsible for spreading Iranian influence in the Middle East. Soleimani has played an important role in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad militarily, and strengthening ties with Hezbollah, the Iraqi paramilitary unit Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, dubbed the “Axis of Resistance”.
With Iran’s support, Hezbollah is turning into a regional paramilitary power that plays a key role in supporting assad’s government in Syria and Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. It is also a major political party with MPs and ministers in the Lebanese government.