At a rally in southern Lebanon on Saturday, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah spoke out in favor of Trump’s assessment of the origins of ISIS. “This is an American presidential candidate who is saying this. What he says is based on facts and documents,” according to the Associated Press.
The Lebanon-based militant organization, which is Shiite and allied with the government of Iran, is a staunch opponent of ISIS, which is Sunni. Hezbollah paramilitary units have deployed to Syria, fighting in support of strongman Bashar al-Assad’s government there, with their principal opposition being ISIS militants. According to Newsweek, since 2014 ISIS has made growing inroads into Lebanon in an attempt to take the fight back to Hezbollah’s base of operations.
Whether or not Trump actually thinks Obama is the founder of ISIS — since making the comments last week, the candidate has tried to portray them asjust another joke — Nasrallah may be a true believer. In 2014, the New York Times reported theories former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama funded ISIS “as part of a plot … to replace the region’s autocratic rulers with more pliant Islamist allies,” many of which seemed to originate in Egypt, had spread rapidly throughout much of the Middle East.
According to the Times, one of those won over by the rumors of conspiracy was Lebanese foreign minister Gebran Bassil, who posted on Twitter that he had demanded an explanation from the U.S. embassy.
In her book, Hard Choices, Clinton blamed the spread of the rumors on “some unusually irresponsible and demagogic right-wing political and media personalities in the United States, including members of Congress,” according to the Times.