From Arsal ... To Idlib
The Lebanese people were not the only ones following the battle for the Arsal outskirts in all its details until the appearance of buses, which transported the Nusra terrorists and their families to Idlib.
Supporters, opponents, skeptics and people who were wondering about the background, the different dimensions, timing, the declared and undeclared goals, were also watching. These goals are yet to be achieved and may never be accomplished if they continue to be linked with the contradictory political structure. There is a group of people that reacted quietly and without public objections. They are represented by the diplomatic missions operating in Lebanon, which have acted in accordance with developments on the [Arsal] outskirts in all political, official and even partisan directions, and are still doing so in response to what is happening.
It is noteworthy that the Western diplomatic missions in particular, in principle, positively view the striking of the terrorist groups regardless of the arm that carried out this attack. This is reflected in the political and official levels that they communicated with, and it is said that this communication included Hezbollah itself.
The positive tone of these missions makes the listener feel that terminating this terrorist depot in the outskirts gives Lebanon more reassurances with respect to the demise of the imminent danger threatening it. However, it very clearly questioned Hezbollah, its position, and role at the political and non-political level in the next stage.
The foreign diplomats did not hide their support, to a large extent, for the voices raised by some political forces in Lebanon, which expressed their fear of changing the geopolitical structure of the country after the Arsal battle and Hezbollah's attempt to invest what it considers its victory to impose new equations inside that could have serious repercussions. At the same time, they expressed their rejection of the agreement between Hezbollah and the Nusra Front: "This is what we have heard openly from some Lebanese leaders," said one of the ambassadors.
The answers the Western diplomatic missions received were brief and expressive. On the one hand, they denied any attempts to use what happened in the outskirts as a currency to affect internal matters - whether politically or non-politically. According to one of the officials who spoke before one of the ambassadors, "Hezbollah did not say that it has any plans in this context, in addition to the fact that it is not at all in this framework, and the coming days will prove the truth of what I say. All the parties know the accuracy and sensitivity of the Lebanese structure, and Hezbollah is at the forefront of those who understand this. And therefore I do not see any need for caution or fear of this. Hence, what was issued by those voices is no more than a number of quarrels and political rivalry with the party [Hezbollah] no more and no less."
As for the agreement in which the terrorists were transported by buses, the official's response included descriptions of some scenarios that were fabricated by some parties known for their fierce rivalry to Hezbollah. They spoke about what they called a "Hollywood battle" that produced a "conspiracy settlement" between Hezbollah and Nusra. The official described it as "malicious scenarios that touch the imagination. It is aimed at distorting the achievement fulfilled by defeating Nusra and expelling it from the Arsal outskirts. To reveal the truth of what happened, it is enough to remember the scenes of the buses in Syria transporting the militants, or rather the evacuation of the militants, from Aleppo, Zabadani, Madaya, Daraya and Mu'adamiya to the Al-Wa'r neighborhood in Homs, which were all linked to field settlements imposed by field victories achieved by the Syrian army and its allies including Hezbollah in those areas. And yesterday the same scene was repeated with the minibuses and the expulsion of Nusra terrorists."
The official's explanations for foreign diplomats overlap with a military reading of what happened. One expert says: "I agree with those who are wondering what comes after Arsal, as this question is the basis that will be demonstrated in the next stage. And the big mistake is that this question be linked to Lebanon, because the matter is beyond it."
The expert says, "certainly, what happened in the Arsal outskirts and the expulsion of the terrorists, have their effects on Lebanon: primarily on the security level and the raising of the level of internal reassurance, especially in terms of reducing the weight that was represented by this center as the source of sabotage, the preparation of car bombs and other causes of bombing and tension. These are the limits of its influence in Lebanon.
But the main effects of the Arsal battle, the expert adds, should be monitored elsewhere. In Idlib specifically, and therefore if we want to know what happened in the outskirts of Arsal, we must wait and see what will happen in Idlib!
He says, as is well known and clear, Idlib has become the main destination for the "accumulation" of the Nusra Front terrorists, which control more than seventy to eighty percent of Idlib province.
There are indications that a major battle is being prepared to target the Takfiris, including:
- A sense based on many statements and stances by Western, Eastern and regional countries, which noted that it is only a matter of time when the main stronghold of the Nusra Front in Idlib will have the same fate as Mosul.
- The Russian position, which seems decisive on the final blow of terrorist groups. Idlib is a fundamental and close target of Moscow.
- A stern warning issued by the United States a few days ago, where the US State Department warned of "serious consequences" for the imposition of the Nusra Front organization's control of Idlib province.
A more clear and sharp word came from the US special envoy to Syria Michael Ratney, who said: "Everyone should realize that [the leader of the Nusra Front Abu Muhammad] Al-Julani and his gang are responsible for the terrible consequences that will befall Idlib."
- The Turkish government's deliberate leak, through its media, information that fugitive elements of the Daesh [Arabic acronym for "ISIS" / "ISIL"] organization have joined the ranks of the Nusra Front. Practical steps have already begun to form an international alliance in coordination with the Russians to launch an operation against the terrorists in Idlib.
- The appeal made by the leader of the "Army of Islam" faction, Mohammed Alloush, to the "people of Idlib" and called on them to "consider what happened in Mosul", warning them that "your acceptance of Nusra's control over you, will fail you during the fighting and they will be the first to flee."
- The expert says that the upcoming field changes in Idlib are the ones that should be studied in depth in order to understand the tactical and strategic motives that formed the basis of the decision of Hezbollah and the Syrian army to take the path of negotiation for the withdrawal of the terrorists from the Arsal outskirts. "I see it as a wise decision to hit two birds with one stone: securing the southwestern front by cleansing the eastern chains of Mount Lebanon from the terrorist threat with minimal losses [which was achieved in Arsal and will probably be completed soon in the Ras Baalbek outskirts and Al-Qaa]. At the same time, continuing the process of accumulating takfiri groups of different denominations and gender in one geographical area in preparation for a decisive military round, which will transform Idlib into a large grave for those groups. I do not rule out the decisiveness in Idlib will lead the path to a comprehensive political settlement either in Geneva or in Astana."
hezbollah | lebanon | arsal | nusra | syria | syrian crisis | daesh | isis | isil
Source: Al-Jamhouriya Newspaper, Translated and Edited by website team