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WASHINGTON – Washington’s threat of an attack on Syria not only has prompted Iran to consider retaliatory action, but sources tell WND that the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah also would be unleashed.
These sources who are close to the Lebanese group said that if the scale of a U.S. military strike shifts the balance of power on the ground in favor of the “terrorists” – meaning the Islamist militant foreign fighters in Syria – or intends to change the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, then “all hell will break loose.”
Sources say that the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, which is next door to Syria, has begun to evacuate non-essential personnel out of concern for a possible spill-over of the conflict in Syria should there be an attack.
While Hezbollah looks upon itself as a resistance group, the United States, European Union and Israel regard it as a terrorist organization.
Sources say that the Sunni opposition in Syria, along with its ally, the Islamist militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, also may use the attack to coordinate its own attacks on Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon due to the resistance group’s support for al-Assad.
In recent months, there already have been two significant car bomb explosions in the Hezbollah stronghold of south Beirut.
Recent intercepted messages suggest that Iran also plans an attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq if the U.S. launches a military strike on Syria, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, reportedly had a message intercepted that called on all Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups in Iraq to prepare for a forceful response to a U.S. strike on Syria.
Yet, Iranian officials deny that Tehran was planning attacks in Iraq against U.S. interests.
Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for the Iranian United Nations mission, said the allegation, based on alleged intelligence reports, was only to “provoke Congress.”
“We should remember that relying on U.S. intelligence reports from anonymous officials will repeat the tragedy of Iraq,” Miryousefi said.
He was referring to the intelligence used by then-Secretary of Defense Colin Powell before the United Nations in 2003 making a case for U.S. action against Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction program.
Following the U.S. invasion which occurred a month later, it was discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that the intelligence was a mix of deceptive communications among Iraqi officials to make the Iranians believe Iraq still had WMD to prevent future attacks.
Iran and Iraq were embroiled in a major conflict from 1980-1988.
Plans to unleash Hezbollah come as it continues to fight against the Syrian opposition, especially Islamist militant foreign fighters inside Syria.
Sources believe that a U.S. airstrike inside Syria also could be aimed at Hezbollah, prompting its leadership to order its commanders to prepare for a U.S. attack, even if Congress doesn’t approve a resolution sought by President Barack Obama to undertake action against Syria’s chemical weapons delivery capabilities.
However, the president as commander-in-chief can initiate an attack without congressional approval, under the War Powers Resolution of 1978, with certain reporting requirements.
There is some controversy among Obama’s national security advisers whether the president will act absent congressional approval. Some say he won’t act without Congress’ okay.
At a news conference following the G20 meeting, however, the president suggested that such a discussion went beyond his intentions to undertake a “limited” military strike against Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.
There also are reports out of the Pentagon that it has enlarged the original “limited” targeting that could be more widespread than previously planned.
Sources believe it is meant to give the Syrian opposition, which has suffered numerous military defeats, more of a battlefield advantage with the objective of ousting al-Assad.
In preparation for a much wider military campaign in Syria, sources say that many Hezbollah members have vanished from their Lebanese homes, turned off their cell phones to prevent intelligence agencies from monitoring their movements through electronic means and are heading into Syria to prepare to fight.
If there were to be a U.S. attack on Syria, sources believe that Hezbollah would mount an attack on Israel from Syria as opposed to Lebanon.
Because of Hezbollah’s worldwide outreach, the group has continuously warned that any attack on Syria would result in an attack not only on Israel but against the U.S. and its interests in the Middle East and North Africa.