A Deadly Blow to Hezbollah's Prestige: The Victories In Syria that Hezbollah Has Championed Are Illusion
04 November 2014
By Diana Moukalled
Hezbollah's media wing and those media outlets aligned
with it have recently tried to limit the spread of a
video distributed by the Al-Nusra Front which shows an
attack on a Hezbollah post in the Lebanese border town
of Brital last week.
The video shows the corpses of Hezbollah fighters,
while Al-Nusra fighters calmly and coldly roam the
town before they finally gather whatever ammunition
and equipment they find and leave.
The video has been branded the first footage of a
confirmed attack on Hezbollah since it got involved in
the Syrian war. However, this attack took place in
Lebanon, not Syria, and it was carried out by
non-Lebanese gunmen who violated the supposed
sovereignty of the Lebanese state, killing Lebanese
citizens before withdrawing. Hezbollah and the media
outlets that support it have made efforts to contain
the spread of this footage and remove it from YouTube.
Nonetheless, images of the attack have spread and
Hezbollah has suffered a major setback.
This time, Hezbollah's defeat was in the Lebanese town
of Brital and not in Al-Qusayr or Yabroud—the Syrian
towns it has invaded claiming to be combating
terrorism and eradicating takfirists. Hezbollah
launched media campaigns to spread the message that
Al-Qusayr and Yabroud were bases of terrorism and
asserted that the towns had to be seized in order to
The question was always how this conquest of Al-Qusayr
and Yabroud would backfire. Today we are witnessing
how these conquests resulted in the death and capture
of Lebanese nationals and raised concerns throughout
Lebanon. Al-Qusayr and Yabroud are two Sunni-majority
towns in Syria that a Lebanese Shi'ite militia
forcibly entered. As for Brital, it is a Lebanese
Shi'ite town that a Syrian Sunni force invaded. These
facts are not lost on anyone.
When Hezbollah entered Al-Qusayr, a video showed its
fighters raising their banners in the town. Meanwhile,
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the town's
mosque was Shi'ite and that Hezbollah had rescued it
from takfirists. The Al-Nusra Front has come to
Lebanon and this armed terrorist group has been
supplemented with Lebanese members. Al-Nusra has
managed to drag Hezbollah into a battle inside
Lebanon; the battle is no longer just in Syria.
Such photos and videos represent evidence of
Hezbollah's actions. Likewise, Al-Nusra members
standing on Brital's outskirts, shooting a video of
the town and uploading it onto YouTube make it seem as
though this is a counter-move in a game that the group
is playing with Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has invested heavily in its image, to
bolster its power and win the trust of its audience.
Al-Nusra has not shaken Hezbollah's relationship with
this audience, but it has begun to shake the
audience's trust in Hezbollah's strength.
Hezbollah's reaction to this development, via the
operation it carried out in the Shebaa Farms region a
day after the attack by Al-Nusra, is an indication of
the size of the injury it sustained in Brital.
The Al-Nusra Front violated Lebanese sovereignty and
this resulted in the need for a united Lebanese
Footage of Hezbollah fighters in Al-Qusayr have pained
Syrians—similar to the pain we Lebanese felt when we
learned Al-Nusra had trespassed across our borders,
first in Arsal and then in Brital. The victories in
Syria that Hezbollah has championed are illusions, and
these illusions are literally killing us in Lebanon.
Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected
TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her
phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked
Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas
and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and
satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a
veteran war correspondent, having covered both the
wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the
Isreali "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern
Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained world wide
recognition and was named one of the most influential
women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine