Hezbollah’s threat surprised Cyprus; what’s at stake?

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By Creative Media News

  • Hezbollah threatens Cyprus over Israel conflict
  • Cyprus assures no involvement in conflict
  • Cyprus’s geopolitical challenges highlighted

According to commentators, Hezbollah’s vow to retaliate against Cyprus if it assists Israel in attacking Lebanon has emphasized the Mediterranean island’s precarious geopolitical situation.

Cypriots were taken aback when Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah named them in a June 19 speech, claiming Cyprus would be deemed “part of the war” if Israel used Cypriot airports and bases in an attack on Lebanon.

“The Cypriot government should be careful,” he told reporters.

The announcement caught many people off guard.

In response to Nasrallah’s comments, President Nikos Christodoulides assured reporters that Cyprus is not involved in military confrontations.

“I don’t understand it,” Angelina Pliaka, a lawyer from Nicosia, said. We “have no involvement, and we don’t support Israel.


Throughout IsraIsrael’sastrophic eight-month war on Gaza, Hezbollah traded fire with Israel in an attempt to divert IsraIsrael’sources away from the Gaza campaign.

Analysts have long warned that a full-fledged conflict between Israel and Hezbollah would engulf countries and actors throughout the region.

Despite escalating regional tensions following a Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7, Hezbollah has not openly threatened Cyprus, which has close relations with Israel but also serves as a staging point for assistance delivery into Gaza.

NasrNasrallah’simatum emphasized NicoNicosia’sition as a US ally and European Union member within range of Hezbollah rockets, as well as a country where many people are becoming increasingly anxious about the entry of desperate refugees from adjacent warzones.

According to Harry Tzimitras, head” of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) Cyprus Centre, the danger from Hezbollah is “a stark reminder to the people of Cyprus of where the country is located and how easily situations can be derailed.”

Cyprus, famed for its beaches rather than its proximity to war zones, is the EU’s most easterly state, located only 160 kilometres (100 miles) from LebaLebanon.

In recent years, it has sought to exploit its position to serve as the EU’sEU’sdge to the Middle East, establishing tight connections with Israel and Egypt while keeping communication channels with Iran.

Tzimitras stated that Cyprus has been near Israel since 2010-11.

In particular, the Netanyahu government has used CyprCyprus as a close political, financial, energy, and military partner and a friendly country in its ties with the EU.

Despite these linkages, Cyprus has tried to distance itself from the confrontations in Gaza and along the Israel-Lebanon border.

Christodoulides also mentioned the humanitarian corridor, adding, “Our” country is not involved in any way, and it is not part of the problem.”

A” EU state is in jeopardy.

According to James Ker-Lindsay, a research associate at the London School of Economics and an expert on Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cypriot administration was “caught off guard.

“The”main point is that Hezbollah has issued threats against an EU member state. There will be conversations in Europe about how to respond and requests for Iran to tone down its rhetoric.”

N”Nasrallah stated in his address on June 19 that the Israeli military conducted manoeuvres in Cyprus two years ago to simulate invading Lebanon since the islaisland’sged topography resembled southern Lebanon.

In a speech shortly after the exercises in 2022, he made no mention of them.

Jack Watling, senior research fellow for ground warfare at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), believes HezbHezbollah’seat “likely” ly relates” more to British bases in Cyprus than anything else.

Cyprus was a British territory until 1960 when it gained independence. The United Kingdom maintained two huge military posts there.

They played an essential role in the flight of British citizens from Lebanon during IsraIsrael’s6 war with Hezbollah.

Its air force used one of the bases, RAF Akrotiri, during the invasions of Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011, as well as air strikes against ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq in 2014.

In January, the RAF used the facility to execute strikes against the Houthis in Yemen, hoping to prevent them from hitting ships they perceived to be Israeli.

Declassified UK, an investigative media site, stated in May that Britain had deployed 60 flights to Israel since it began bombing Gaza in October, the majority of which came from Akrotiri.

LondLondon’sistry of Defence has refused to reveal what those flights carry.

Declassified UK documents also revealed that we were secretly utilizing the station to deliver weapons to Israel.

The British government has also failed to confirm whether its Cyprus bases are being used to attack Gaza or if Israeli fighter jets have landed there.

However, Watling stated that Cyprus’s UK bases provide the most significant strategic threat to Hezbollah.

I would interpret (NasrNasrallah’stement) as Hezbollah trying to encourage the UK and the US to put pressure on Israel not to escalate,” he,” said.

“Given that Hezbollah has ballistic missiles, it is it’sit’slausible threat.”

T”The Refugee Question

Cyprus is dealing with more than just one geopolitical issue.

Following the crisis in Ukraine, Cyprus has firmly aligned itself with the West, abandoning its longstanding cordial ties with Russia.

However, this move may have come at a cost, as HezbHezbollah’sger to Cyprus is not limited to military action.

The island, located just a few hours by boat from war-torn Syria, has the highest asylum seeker-to-population ratio in the EU.

“Take a step towards financial freedom – claim your free Webull shares now!”

In May, Nasrallah urged the Lebanese government to “open” the sea” so”Syrians could go to Cyprus.

Cyprus had been ready for a Lebanese migrant wave if things went wrong in Lebanon. Tzimitras stated that major migrations from Lebanon have occurred twice previously.

“It “could be tough to host more people the way things are now with migration on the island.”

N”Coletta Georgiadou, a lawyer based in Nicosia, agreed that Cypriots are more anxious about a military escalation against their island than a surge in refugee arrivals.

“If “hat threat became real, it wouldn’t be through war, but they would fill Cyprus with Syrian and Lebanese refugees,” sh,” they told reporters.

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