Hizballah accuses Iraqi-Kurds of Middle East 'partition'
Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has said last week's controversial Iraqi-Kurdish referendum will only deepen divisions in the region and must be opposed.
Speaking on the eve and day of Ashura - a Shia religious ceremony marked by many of Hizballah's followers – he accused Israel of sowing divisions in the Middle East.
This was in part done through Israeli backing of the Iraqi-Kurdish independence referendum, he alleged, which was overwhelmingly backed by Iraqi-Kurds.
Regional powers have seen the vote as a tentative step to the Kurdish region breaking away from Baghdad.
In the address, Nasrallah, too, said the vote would lead to "partition" in the Middle East.
"It will open the door to partition, partition, partition," Nasrallah said. "Partition means taking the region to internal wars whose end and time frame is known only to God."
The comments back those of Hizballah allies Iran, Syria and the Iraqi government. Israel has become the only regional power to back the referendum.
The next day, on Sunday, Nasrallah went on to accuse Israel of plotting war in the region.
"They do not have a correct picture about what is awaiting them if they go to the idiocy of this war," he warned.
He told Jewish Israelis to "leave and return to the countries from which they came so they are not fuel for any war that the idiotic Netanyahu government takes them to".
Israel has been concerned about the rise of Hizballah, which has been embroiled in Syria's civil war.
Although the Lebanese militia has lost thousands of fighters in the war, it has also gained valuable experience on the battlefield, procured new weapons and opened up direct land routes to regional allies Iran and Syria.
Israel is also wary of Iranian troops operating in Syria and a powerful Shia militia umbrella Tehran has established with fighters from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Nasrallah warned that the new militia units could be employed against Israel if war breaks out.
Israel has responded to the new threat by launching military drills and war games simulations.