The possibility of “total war” is “realistic”, warns the leader of Hezbollah

Pro-Iranian Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday blamed the United States for the ongoing war in Gaza and said “all options” were open for an expansion of the conflict on the Lebanese front with Israel.

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In his first speech since the outbreak of Hamas’ war against Israel on October 7, he claimed that his movement was “not afraid of the fleet” sent by the United States to the Mediterranean, and that it was ready to ” make a face”.

“You Americans know very well that if war breaks out in the region, neither your fleet nor air combat will be of any use to you,” he warned. “Your interests, your soldiers and your fleet will be the victims and the biggest losers.”

Washington responded by warning Hezbollah that it should not “seek profit” from the war between Israel and Hamas.

Hassan Nasrallah’s speech was eagerly awaited, to see if he would drag Lebanon into the conflict. Hezbollah fighters intervened against Israel on the border between the two countries the day after the war, but fighting remained limited.

Hailing Hamas’ “heroic” battle in Gaza, Hassan Nasrallah claimed that the Palestinian Islamist movement, his ally, had taken the sole decision to launch the war against Israel, and had not informed Hezbollah or Iran .

He placed “full responsibility” on the United States for the war in Gaza, saying Israel was “only an instrument” of execution.

“America is preventing the ceasefire and stopping the aggression” in Gaza, he said, in his televised speech broadcast to tens of thousands of his supporters in the southern suburbs of Beirut and other Lebanese regions.

However, he stressed to the United States, whose foreign minister Antony Blinken visited Israel on Friday, that “those who want to avoid a regional war must quickly stop the aggression in Gaza.”

“Blessed Battle”

The war was sparked by Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel, which left at least 1,400 dead, mostly civilians.

Hassan Nasrallah stated in this context that Israel had “committed massacres” by regaining control of the kibbutz (collectivist agricultural villages) and localities near Gaza that Hamas had attacked.

The ensuing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip left more than 9,000 dead, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas government.

Referring to the Lebanese front, Hassan Nasrallah stated that “we entered the battle since October 8” to support Hamas.

“This front is a front to support Gaza (…) and mobilizes a third of the Israeli army,” he said.

Hezbollah, which has a large arsenal, has announced that it has lost 54 fighters since then in clashes with the Israeli army in border areas.

“The possibility that this front will experience further escalation or all-out war (…) is realistic and can happen, and the enemy must prepare for it,” Hassan Nasrallah said.

He felt “all options” were on the table.

“We tell the enemy that he can think of attacking Lebanon or carrying out a pre-emptive operation that would be the greatest stupidity of his existence,” declared the leader of Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006.

The Hezbollah leader stressed that Iran’s allies have also mobilized across the region to support Hamas, praising the Iraqi and Yemeni formations “who have entered this blessed battle” claiming the fire against Israel.