In the city that gave birth to modern suicide bombing attacks, the people of Beirut shouldn’t have been surprised by today’s assault on the Iranian embassy. But coming as it did on a target deep in the heart of Hezbollah-controlled South Beirut, all Lebanese will be shocked and very apprehensive, writes The Globe and Mail correspondent Patrick Martin.
It was Hezbollah, the militant Shia movement, that carried out many of the first suicide bombing attacks in Lebanon in the 1980s, and they will not suffer this attack on their Iranian ally lightly, he added.
It was a Lebanese Sunni group, the local chapter of the al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades, that claimed responsibility for the deadly blasts on the Iranian regime’s cultural attaché on November 1 , and it will be Lebanese that will suffer the wrath of Hezbollah now.
According to the Globe and Mail editorial, the Iranian embassy attack, however, involves two principal groups fighting in the Syrian conflict. Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds force have been one of the most reliable battle-hardened forces in Syria helping prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad, while the Abdullah Azzam Brigades are part of the opposition forces that still are waging war on the Iranian-backed regime in Damascus.
Engulfed in the war in Syria, Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said”The tragedy today … should be an alarm for all of us that we need to deal with and unless we deal with it seriously, it will engulf all of us,” in Rome after talks with his Italian counterpart, Emma Bonino.
The bombing attack on the Iranian interest in Lebanon shows the level of anger against Iran’s involvement in the Syrian bloody civil war. Earlier in October, Baluchi Sunni groups in Iran killed 14 Iranian border guards in an apparent retaliation to Iran’s killing of Sunnis in Syria.
Speaking to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television, Syria’s Information Minister Omran Zoubi also accused Saudi and Israeli intelligence of being behind the attack.
The US and Gulf states have criticized Iran, Hezbollah and Russia for giving weaponry to the Assad regime. So far, a number of Iran Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah operatives have been killed fighting the insurgency in Syria.