Hezbollah visited Moscow to find out about Assad’s fate
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A delegation of the Lebanese military and political organization Hezbollah, led by the parliamentary bloc’s head Mohammad Raad, paid a visit to Moscow.
One of the goals was to discuss the political impasse in Lebanon, but experts believe that it was crucial for the party’s members to find out whether Moscow’s position regarding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had changed, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov received the guests from Lebanon in Moscow. A thing to note is that the Hezbollah delegation’s trip comes right before Israeli top diplomat Gabi Ashkenazi’s visit to Moscow, scheduled for March 17.
“Russia apparently seeks to bring the Syria issue back on the diplomatic track,” Russian International Affairs Council expert Anton Mardasov told the newspaper, commenting on Raad’s visit. “It is largely associated with the security forces in the region but there is a need for talks on the current deadlock, just like in 2011-2012, when Russia wasn’t sure about Bashar al-Assad’s fate.
Since the Astana process has stalled and it is impossible to give the Syrian Constitutional Committee the appearance of a serious structure focused on reforms, Hezbollah’s visit, as well as the efforts to step up the activities of the Russia-Turkey-Qatar group do not seem random,” the expert pointed out.
According to him, the Moscow talks most likely did not cover just the domestic situation in Lebanon. “Positions on the issue of Syria need to be clarified given the upcoming presidential election and a media campaign concerning ‘General Tlas’ resurrection’,” Mardasov said, referring to discussions about creating a military council in Syria.
“The visit brings to mind the 2011 trip, when a Hezbollah delegation arrived in Moscow at the invitation of Russian officials, its members even gave lectures at Moscow State University but everyone could see clearly that they were primarily interested in learning about Russia’s stance on Assad,” the expert emphasized.