The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group has accused the U.S. and President Barack Obama of creating Islamic State, using the words of presidential hopeful Donald Trump as proof.
Quoting the Republican candidate, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also accused Trump’s Democratic Party competitor Hillary Clinton of helping create the militant group.
“This American candidate, who speaks in the name of the American Republican party, has facts” that can support this claim, Nasrallah said in a speech on Saturday, according to a transcript published by Al Manar TV.
The Hezbollah comments are the latest instance of rogue foreign leaders or groups making comments complimentary or supportive of Trump. In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin termed the Republican “the absolute leader of the presidential race.” An official mouthpiece of North Korea’s government lauded Trump in June as “a wise politician.”
Trump called Obama and Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, “co-founders” of Islamic State during a campaign rally on Aug. 10. He has since downplayed the comments as having been meant as sarcasm, echoing his response to the outcry over earlier comments in which he exhorted Russia to hack Clinton’s emails. A White House spokesman declined to comment on the most recent remarks.
Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, in an interview taped on Aug. 12 and broadcast Sunday on Fox News, said Trump hadn’t been joking.
“He was being very serious, and he was making a point that needs to be made, that there is no question that the failed policies of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the wider Middle East, created a vacuum within Iraq in which ISIS was able to arise,” said Pence, governor of Indiana.
Hezbollah, listed as a terrorist group by the U.S. and Israel, has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his fight against Islamic State and U.S.-supported rebel groups.
“Who can imagine that the U.S. can’t know who is behind sending money and arms to the terrorists in Syria and Iraq?” Nasrallah said. Beyond quoting Trump, he offered no proof to back up his claim.
Nasrallah’s remarks come after U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, along with Gulf Cooperation Council countries, labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization in March, blacklisting companies and individuals with ties to the group.
(c) 2016, Bloomberg · Nour Al Ali