The Daily Star quotes Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Bilal Y. Saab on the al-Nusra Front’s recent attempts to destroy resources from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah:
“The Nusra Front is specifically seeking to bleed Hezbollah as much as possible, create new supply lines, and regain control of Arsal and adjacent areas to recreate a command center that would be used to target Hezbollah’s interests across the country,” said Bilal Saab, a senior fellow for Middle East Security at the Atlantic Council’s on International Security.
“The fate of those soldiers might have been sealed a while ago, regardless of the clashes. However, battlefield outcomes could have a say too, but I am not sure how rational or flexible the Nusra Front’s hostage-taking approach is,” Saab said. “Is the Nusra Front risk prone or risk averse? I don’t know.”
“At this point the negotiations have almost deteriorated,” said Abou Zeid. As winter approaches, the Nusra Front will use whatever means necessary to gain access to Lebanese soil and supplies, he added.