In late March, the Assad regime released a propaganda video aimed at the young men of Syria. In the video, titled “Braids of Fire,” Asma al-Assad, the wife of Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, stands before a squad of female army volunteers dressed in camouflage and army boots.
Hezbollah’s yellow flags stretched for miles along the highway to Baalbek, a Lebanese city near the frontier with Syria. They hung from every light post, interspersed with images of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the party. In some, he smiled; in others, he wore a grave expression and saluted. The message to voters on the party’s banners was simple: We protect, and we build.