'During the July 2006 war between Israel and Hizballah, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese fled south Lebanon and south Beirut – the Hizballah heartlands where Israeli strikes were fiercest – and sought refuge inside Syria.
Syrians welcomed them into their homes, schools and mosques. Several thousand were sheltered in Qusayr, a Sunni agricultural town between Homs and the Lebanese border. It made no difference that most of these refugees were Shia Muslims. They were just Muslims, and Arabs, and they were paying the price of a resistance war against Israeli occupation and assault. That’s how they were seen.
Summer 2013. Throughout May, hundreds of Hizballah fighters led a devastating assault on Qusayr. Because they were local men defending their homes, the Free Syrian Army were able to resist the onslaught for weeks, but were finally defeated. A Shia flag was allegedly hung over the town’s main Sunni mosque, if true, a signal of sectarian conquest.
Various excuses were offered up: to protect the Lebanese borders, or to protect the shrine of the Prophet’s grandaughter Zainab outside Damascus. None of them explained Hizballah’s participation in battles as far afield as Hama or Aleppo. Why would Nasrallah choose to infuriate Lebanese Sunnis, to make Lebanese Shia targets of sectarian revenge attacks, to deplete and downgrade his anti-Zionist fighting force?
Sheikh Subhi al-Tufayli, who led Hizballah between 1989 and 1991, blamed Iran: “I was secretary general of the party,” he said, “and I know that the decision is Iranian, and the alternative would have been a confrontation with the Iranians. I know that the Lebanese in Hizballah, and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah more than anyone, are not convinced about this war. ... Iran and Hizballah bear responsibility for every Syrian killed, every tree felled, and every house destroyed.”
This is something that leftists, when they were internationalists, once understood: states are designed to protect the property, position and privilege of the various elites which run them, not to safeguard the interests of ordinary people. This means Iran is not the protector of the Shia, Saudi Arabia is not the protector of the Sunnis, and Israel is not the protector of the Jews.
Need it be said that the Assad regime is the deadliest enemy of Alawis?'