Obama gave Iran the drone technology.
Obama rejected numerous proposals to retrieve the "lost" U.S. Drone: Officials Confirm Authenticity of Iranian TV Images Showing Drone
Iran says Hezbollah drone flight into Israeli airspace is proof of Tehran's capabilities. Yes, thankyouvverymuch, Obama.
Iran's defense minister said Sunday
that Hezbollah's launch of a drone into Israeli airspace earlier this
week proves the Islamic Republic's military capabilities, state TV
The statement by Gen. Ahmad Vahidi was Iran's first
official acknowledgement that the Lebanese militant group's drone used
Iranian technology. It came a few days after Hezbollah leader Sheik
Hassan Nasrallah claimed responsibility for the launch and said the
drone was manufactured in Iran and assembled in Lebanon.
"Great job by Hezbollah," Gen. Vahidi said. "The era in
which the Zionist regime (Israel) could think it has regional supremacy
Israeli warplanes shot down the unmanned plane, but the infiltration marked a rare breach of Israel's tightly guarded airspace.
But Ali Akbar Dareini of the AP (Associated Press) declares,
"Iran claims 'dozens' of its drones reached Israel."
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese
militant group and political party Hezbollah, declared Thursday that his
fighters had assembled and piloted a drone that flew 35 miles into
Israel on Saturday, calling the flight an unprecedented achievement in
"the history of the resistance."
In a televised, 50-minute
speech, Mr. Nasrallah said the drone, which was shot down by Israeli
forces, had been designed in Iran and assembled by Hezbollah experts in
"It is our right to send other drones whenever we want,"
Mr. Nasrallah said, noting that Israel frequently violated Lebanese
airspace. "It was not the first time and it will not be the last."
earlier, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused Hezbollah
in the episode, saying that Israel had "thwarted over the weekend
Hezbollah's attempt" to penetrate its airspace. The group has sent a
drone over Israel at least once before.
There was no immediate
official reaction from Israel to Mr. Nasrallah's speech, or warnings
about the need for a military response against Hezbollah in Lebanon. If
anything, there seemed to be an attempt to point a finger at Hezbollah's
patron, the more distant Iran.
"It should come as no surprise
that the military machine of Hezbollah in Lebanon is substantially made
in Iran," said one senior official, who was not authorized to comment
publicly on the matter.
Mr. Nasrallah's speech was closely watched
because of fears that Hezbollah, a longtime ally of Syria and Iran,
might provoke a clash with Israel to distract attention from Syria's
crackdown on the nearly 19-month uprising there. Hezbollah has been
accused by the United States government, Syrian rebels and Lebanese
rivals of assisting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in his
The possibility of Syria becoming a proxy war, with
involvement from Hezbollah and Iran on one side and powers like Saudi
Arabia, Turkey and Qatar on the other, is one of many factors that could
fuel regional escalation of the conflict.
Mr. Nasrallah denied
that he had ordered his fighters into Syria, but said the group reserved
the right to join the battle in the future.
At the same time, he
appeared to subtly distance himself from Mr. Assad. He never mentioned
Mr. Assad's name — speaking only of "the Syrian regime" — and
refrained from praising Syria's government, as he has in the past, as a
pillar of resistance against Israel's occupation of Palestinian
"As of now, we have not fought alongside the regime," he said, adding, "We don't know about the future."
obliquely acknowledged that some individual Hezbollah militants may
have fought there. Because of the vagaries of post-colonial borders, he
said, more than 30,000 Lebanese live in Syria, including Shiites, some
of whom are members of Hezbollah and veterans of its wars. Some of them,
he said, have fought to defend against rebel attacks on their homes and
villages, including kidnappings and mortar attacks on Syrian
checkpoints protecting the villages.
"What can we expect them to
do?" he asked. He said that a senior Hezbollah operative who died
recently while performing "jihadist duties" was killed in an accidental
weapons explosion, not fighting in Syria.
Hezbollah, which was
formed 30 years ago to fight the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon
and which battled Israel again in 2006, has long relied on Syria as a
conduit and supplier of arms. With its Shiite Muslim base, the group is a
natural ally of Mr. Assad's ruling Alawites, who practice an offshoot
But with many Lebanese Sunnis supporting the Sunni-led
Syrian uprising, Hezbollah is also wary of inflaming sectarian tensions
at home. Mr. Nasrallah said that Syrians of many sects were under
threat from the Syrian uprising, in which some fighting units have taken
a sectarian tone.
It was a reminder that independent of Mr.
Assad's fate, Hezbollah may see Shiite or Lebanese interests as at stake
in Syria, like preserving access to an important Shiite shrine in
Damascus and defending minority groups, as well as Hezbollah's arms
Hezbollah's image as a champion of the oppressed in the
wider Arab and Muslim world has been tarnished by its support for Mr.
Assad against a popular revolt, a stance that critics say exposes the
group's hypocrisy. The speech appeared aimed to show that Hezbollah
would remain a force against Israel even if Mr. Assad falls or is
Talal Atrissi, a political science professor close to
Hezbollah, said Mr. Nasrallah was trying to show that "Hezbollah's
priority for the time being is Israel despite everything that is
happening," and to say, "We're not going to fall with the regime."
Atrissi said the speech was also aimed at Syrian rebels and their Sunni
Muslim supporters, to convey that Hezbollah had the means to stand up
to threats and attempts to weaken its influence.
an expert on Hezbollah at the Institute for National Security Studies in
Tel Aviv, said Hezbollah taking responsibility for the drone proved
Israeli suspicions that "yes, 2006 was somewhat of a blow to Hezbollah,
but in the past few years, they're more than compensated."
upgraded their arsenal," she said. "This is what we knew, at least what
we believed. It's one more indication that Hezbollah has been rearming
and retraining and getting ready for Round 2."
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