Is Iran supporting Turkish Hezbollah?

The day I called attention to tensions between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Turkey’s Hezbollah, the unrest in Diyarbakir escalated. It’s obvious that the escalation will continue.

Let me point out that Hezbollah is an incredibly well-organized group. It is influential not only in the southeast but all around Turkey, and it seems that its political clout will increase.

To fend off likely objections to what I will say next, let me first state this: There is no parallel between the Hezbollah in Turkey and the Iranian Hezbollah. They are two different organizations. The most important difference is that the first is Sunni, while the second is Shiite.

Having said this, I’d like to present a theory for you.

You would recall that Hezbollah leaders and members, detained since 2000 over dozens of murders and corpses that emerged from Hezbollah’s “grave houses,” were released last year under legal amendments to the maximum period that suspects can spend behind bars without conviction.

The leaders immediately fled abroad, vanishing without a trace. Now, both the religious and the military leaders of Hezbollah are believed to be based in Iran. It was already known that a relationship — or at least a mutual understanding — existed between Hezbollah and Iran.

A process is currently underway in Turkey to convince the PKK to lay down arms. It is impossible for Iran to have welcomed the prospect of the PKK ceasing to be an armed force that could be used against Turkey and becoming one that could be used primarily against the Syrian regime.

Some political theorists have begun to float the following idea: Is Iran pushing Hezbollah back to the scene in response to the PKK’s disengagement as a force against Turkey? Are they grooming Hezbollah to confront the PKK, which is now siding with the opposition in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad?

I can’t say whether this is accurate or rather a conspiracy theory. But it’s an idea worthy of consideration.

By Al-Monitor


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