Arts, Culture & Media

Hezbollah Intervention in Syria Risks Regional War


The funeral in Beirut last week of a Hezbollah soldier, one of dozens killed fighting in Syria on behalf President Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah's intervention is raising fears of a wider war. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Issam Kobeisy)

There's slim hope for peace in Syria this Memorial Day.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

A peace conference is being scheduled for next month.

However, the government of Bashar al-Assad is pulling out all the stops to try gain an advantage militarily, ahead of any talks.

There are fresh reports of chemical weapons being used.

But perhaps the key to the government's successes might be the large reinforcement it's currently getting from Hezbollah.

The Lebanese Shiite group now openly says it's part of Syria's civil war.

Beirut-based journalist and writer, Thanassis Cambanis, says Hezbollah has quietly been involved in the war since it began two years ago.

"But over the last month, there's been a real marked escalation in Hezbollah's involvement," says Cambanis.

Cambanis is a fellow with the Century Foundation, and author of a key study of Hezbollah, called "A Privilege to Die."

"Just this weekend," says Cambanis, "Hezbollah made official … that they're not only fighting in the Syrian civil war, but they're in it to win it."

Hezbollah is hoping that it's strong enough to deter Israel and other Lebanese factions attacking it while they're fighting in Syria, but "there's a lot of room for instability and miscalculation here."

Cambanis added that this moment is very important point in the "semi-cold, semi-hot war between Iran and the Gulf States."

"They (the Gulf states) are terrified of Iran, and they see the war in Syria as a place where they can try and turn the tide against Iran."