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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

From Now Lebanon:
In its first-ever military parade on foreign soil, Lebanon’s Hezbollah flaunted a sizeable fleet of heavy weaponry in the Syrian city of Qusayr Friday, according to news reports and photos circulated by social media accounts close to the organization.

Among the arms and vehicles on display were Soviet-made T-72 tanks and KS-12A anti-aircraft cannons; Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles (mounted, in some cases, on quad bikes); dune buggy-mounted machine guns; and off-road motorbikes. Significantly, the parade also featured American-manufactured M113 armored personnel carriers (APCs).
Al Asharq al Awsat notes:
 Member of the Syrian Coalition opposition, Michel Kilo told Asharq Al-Awsat that the party’s military parade in Syria proves that “Hezbollah” was not only a force fighting there, but also rather an occupation force. “The presence of Hezbollah in Syria is not an emergency and is not temporary anymore. The party wants to assert that its presence is part of the widespread Iranian presence that covers Syria entirely,” Kilo said.
He's right. A military parade only makes sense for those who claim sovereignty over the area the parade is being  held. It is an assertion of power.

Of course, Hezbollah can only do this with Iranian support, and Iran's support comes in no small part because the US has allowed the world to resume pouring money into Iran in exchange for a temporary slowdown in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Legal scholars seem to have taken both sides on the question of whether the definition of military occupation includes occupation at the invitation of the host government. This parade indicates that the line has been crossed into an actual occupation; Syria's government has turned into a puppet of the forces that it is asking to help it and it can no longer say no even if it wanted to.

The proof? There was no Syrian involvement in the parade. If Hezbollah just wanted to show off how it was helping Syria fight off what they call "terrorists," then why not invite their benevolent hosts?

In addition, locals were not allowed to even view the parade.

Iran and its proxies control Syria, they are not acting on behalf of Syria.

Hezbollah is, of course, a designated terrorist organization. But it is also a foreign occupier as a proxy for Iran, whose goal is to inexorably take over the Middle East - from Lebanon to Syria to Iraq to Yemen.

While human rights activists are generally vocal about Syria, it is interesting how silent the human rights community is specifically about this occupation of Syrian territory.

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