About a week ago, Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druze who carried out a murderous terror attack in Israel in 1979 and was in an Israeli prison until released in an Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange in 2008, was eliminated. He had been “adopted” by the Shiite Hezbollah terror organization and when released, promised to return to Palestine to free her from the Zionist “occupation.” In order to attempt to fulfill this promise, he joined the ranks of Hezbollah fighters.
When Hezbollah began its active involvement in Syria in response to the rebellion against Assad that started in 2011, Kuntar was sent to Syria to help Assad hold on to his throne.Kuntar was stationed on the southern front because of his Druze origins, as the southeast slopes of the Hermon mountain range are a Druze enclave. There he served as the communications link between local Druze and Hezbollah, who promised to protect the Druze from the Jihadist knives of Jabhat al Nusra and Islamic State.
Kuntar made a habit of stressing his obligation to fight against Israel and headed a local Druze organization that carried out several terror attacks on the border near Magd al Shams during 2014-15. He worked hand in glove with Hezbollah and the representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to found the Hezbollah infrastructure in southern Syria, and these activities, more than anything else, can help reveal the truth about what is going on in that war torn country.
Syria today is a country that once was and is no more. It has passed into the history books, like the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. Syria will never return to what it was before March 2011, and anyone who is involved in the Syrian catastrophe knows this well. All the words about achieving peace in the country are a waste of time, and all the international conferences that try to bring the fighting to an end and leave Syria a united country are just photo-ops that give politicians a chance to pose for the camera.
The warring sides in Syria care only about themselves and the territory they will be able to control once Syria’s official demise is declared.
Hezbollah is fighting in order to gain control over the areas populated by Shiites and plans to annex them to Lebanon, thereby increasing the number of Shiites in that country as well as the territory under the terrorist group’s control. This explains its efforts to take over the Druze enclaves south of the Hermon mountains and prevent the Druze declaring autonomy and joining up with the Lebanese Druze community.
The Druze in southern Syria are quite happy to accept Hezbollah protection from Jihadist knives, but do not see themselves as part of a Shiite region. In their way of looking at it, if they are going to become part of Lebanon, they prefer the Druze connection – and this is where Kuntar came in. He was supposed to advance the presence of Hezbollah in southern Syria and ensure Druze loyalty to the Shiite Hezbollah, but unfortunately, for the past year he had begun evincing signs of rapprochement with his Druze origins. Nasrallah suspected that Kuntar was going to cross over to the other side, turn traitor to the Hezbollah that brought about his release from Israel’s prisons and help his Druze brothers establish a Druze entity in southern Syria that would not be loyal to Shiite Hezbollah.
In today’s Syria and Lebanon, it is enough to suspect someone in order to bring about his elimination, and that is, in all probability, what happened to Kuntar. The media have all decided that he was killed by Israel, but Israel has not admitted responsibility for the operation. Without doubt, there is much satisfaction in Israel at Kuntar’s leaving this world, but that does not necessarily mean that it is Israel that brought it about. The scenario described above leads to the conclusion that Hezbollah was behind the operation, this in order to stop Kuntar’s efforts to strengthen the Druze.
Hezbollah, of course, will not admit this openly, but there was a hint in the eulogy Nazrallah gave after the funeral. Nasrallah said that Kuntar was “the chief Lebanese prisoner in the Israeli enemy’s prisons, oppositionaire, Jihad fighter and commander of Islamic opposition, Shaheed brother Samir el Kuntar.” Continuing, Nasrallah called him “brother Samir,” claiming that he was under constant threat from Israel after his release.
Calling a Druze by the term “shaheed” is artificial, as, in contrast to Islam, there is no such concept in Druze theology. It seems that the Nasrallah’s public embrace of Kuntar is a coverup meant to hide the truth about who really eliminated Kuntar and why. Giving Israel the responsibility for the operation releases Hezbollah from that responsibility, while at the same time giving the organization an excuse to hit Israel. The three rockets launched at Nahariya were the immediate result and the IDF reacted with an artillery barrage. A Palestinian organization launched the rockets, but Nasrallah could easily have given them the command to do so. Hezbollah can chalk this up as a job well done: it reacted to Kuntar’s murder but did not give Israel a reason to attack it. Why else would it allow Palestinian organizations to exist in Lebanon at all?
The real revenge on Israel will come later, as Nasrallah pledged, at the time and place that Hezbollah decides are appropriate. This same threatening expression was used after Imad Mugniyah’s elimination in Damascus in 2008.
However, the war in Syria is not just a battle between Hezbollah and the Druze, a conflict in which Kuntar was a victim; it involves other factors. The Russians are establishing an Alawite Emitrate on the Syrian coast with ports that will enable the Russian navy to dock and re-equip its vessels, the Kurds are establishing a Kurdish Emirate in the northeast part of the country, despite Turkey’s furor, and Islamic State thrives in the eastern part of the country as well as in various areas between the Golan in the south to Aleppo in the north where Sunni emirates will be controlled by the anti-Assad forces.
Israel, too, is interested in the area situated opposite the Golan. First and foremost, it does not want it taken over by an entity loyal to Hezbollah and Iran. Hezbollah on the Lebanese border is quite enough and further proximity with Iran will justify, from the Iranian point of view, the flow of armed forces and weapons from Iran to the Israeli border. Israel is certainly opposed to this possibility, but at the same time, is unequivocally opposed to an Islamic Jihadist state on its borders.
Syria’s future, it seems, will be an area controlled by various emirates, all of them in the hands of violent organizations. Those who will suffer are the residents of what was once Syria, who have died by the hundreds of thousands so far, with over 10 million of them refugees in Syria itself and beyond its borders. The UN declared the humanitarian situation in Syria the worst since the Second World War.
And the world watches and doesn’t lift a finger. Europe and the United States have granted Russia free reign in Syria and it doesn’t seem reasonable to expect Russia to fight Islamic State with determination, for fear of repeating its Afghanistan debacle. The world can therefore expect eastern Syria to continue to be the source of a massive headache. “Exporting the revolution” is not only Shiite Iran’s motto today, it is a goal of the Sunni Islamic State.
Where did it start? The “original sin” was France’s creation of a non-legitimate state it called Syria, one made up of groups that have no cohesive factors to unite them. The punishment for that sin is the terror exported by Islamic State from Syria to the world, and especially to Europe.
The terror attacks of the last few months in France are the Islamic extremists’ revenge on that country. It is almost as if they are proclaiming: You, the French, created an anti-Islamic state in our territory, and we will establish an Islamic state in yours.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News