MESOP : RESTLESS DEBATES – Discussions with Hezbollah After Killing of Its Top Commander in Syria

May 16 – 2016 – by Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine, killed last Thursday in Syria — but who did it?

Iran has held talks with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, after the killing of the Lebanese organization’s top commander in Syria on Thursday night.Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian visited Nasrallah in Beirut on Sunday, amid confusion and mystery over the death of Mustafa Badreddine.Hezbollah has put out varying accounts over the demise of Badreddine, a leader in the group’s operations since 1983 and the commander of its Syrian intervention from 2013. Initially it blamed Israel, indicating that the commander was killed near Damascus by a missile. However, it later said that Syrian rebels had struck with an artillery shell.

The confusion has led to other theories, including that Badreddine was the victim of an internal coup or that he actually died on the military frontline near Aleppo city, where rebels and Jabhat al-Nusra have been gaining territory. One journalist linked to Hezbollah even asserted that the head of Iran’s elite Qods Force, General Qassem Soleimani, had met Badreddine only 30 minutes before the deadly attack, feeding speculation that Soleimani was the target or that the Iranians had helped set up the Hezbollah commander.No details were given of Abollahian’s meeting with Nasrallah, which officially was framed as a conveyance of condolences. Other high-level Iranian officials have sent messages of consolation and support, and Tehran’s representatives have gone to Badreddine’s grave.