15 August 2020 speech by Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, translated by Haidar Akarar. [https://vk.com/haidarakarar]. See also al Manar here: http://english.almanar.com.lb/1116766
While we are used to celebrating the divine victory of 2006 war with public celebrations, it’s not possible this year due to COVID-19. First, I want to congratulate the Lebanese, our Arab and Muslim peoples, and all free peoples of the earth over this victory. Thanks be to God for filling our hearts with strength and our enemies’ hearts with fear, and granting us victory. Thanks to all who had a big or small role in achieving this victory. First, the martyrs of Hezbollah, LAF, security forces, civilians, other resistance factions. I want to thank, specifically, Imad Mughniyeh and Mustafa Badreddine, who were in the central command of directing the war. We must also mention here, and for the first time during an anniversary of this war, the presence of Haj Qassem Soleimani, who contributed greatly to our war effort.
We thank families of the martyrs, who lost their loved ones, but only had praise for the resistance. Thanks to the wounded, the fighters, who fought for 33 days on all fronts, in the villages or the fronts, be they Hezbollah, AMAL, Nationalist or Islamic movements.
We thank the civilians, who remained steadfast — and other Lebanese who took in displaced persons from the villages and towns. We also want to thank our brethren in Syria, the government and the people, who took in Lebanese refugees from the war.
We also want to thank the politicians who directed the political dimension of the war, including President Emile Lahoud, who set aside differences with March 14 gov’t, which constantly attacked him and tried to prevent Lebanese gov’t from going in wrong direction.
We must also recall the role of Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who was directing all the difficult negotiations with external and domestic actors, from day one.
We thank all the countries which stood by Lebanon, and they were few primarily, Iran and Syria.
We thank all the parties and factions from the free peoples of the world who stood by Lebanon and its resistance. Thanks to those whom I have thanked and those I’ve forgotten.
What happened in July 2006 was a real war. It started as a military operation, but was made into a real war by the Israelis, who called it the Second Lebanon War. It was a war the Israeli enemy imposed upon Lebanon per an American decision.
Lebanon stood alone against this usurping entity, which is considered one of the strongest militaries in the world, for 33 days. The resistance, its people, Lebanon remained steadfast until Israel was forced to stop its aggression, back off its demands. Regarding Resistance, its weapons, deployment of international forces at all points of entry into Lebanon. Outcome was UNSC Res 1701.
War had several results — strategically, psychologically and culturally. But I will confine myself to 3, and use that to Segway into points I want to address today.
The first result was foiling the American project for a new Middle East that was being led by George W. Bush. All sources afterwards confirmed Israel’s war on Lebanon was part of this project.
Hezbollah kidnapping the 2 soldiers only sped up this American project, intended to disarm Hezbollah, bring Lebanon into the American orbit, collapse Iran, erase Palestine, and crown Israel as the ruler of the region. All of that fell in Lebanon in July 2006.
This entire American campaign, which began in Afghanistan and went through Iraq, fell here in Lebanon. Of course, the American, when one plan falls, they go for another. Now, they’re trying to stabilize Israel via different means, but this is a panicked, defeated, crisis-ridden Israel. Their generals say this..
The 2006 war revealed all of Israel’s military, civilian weakness, forcing Israel to seek external aid, and we still see the impact of this defeat on Israel 14 yrs. later. And we still have confidence, trust in God, and readiness for future victories and accomplishments.
The third result, is that Lebanon and Hezbollah were able to set rules of engagement that protected Lebanon.
Accomplishment of 2000 was liberation. Accomplishment of 2006 was protection, by establishing a balance of deterrence. Yes, they continue to violate Lebanese airspace with drones, etc. and a solution must be found by the state for this. But we don’t see events like the past, there is an equation of deterrence that keeps growing in Hezbollah’s favor every day.
The Israelis and their masters know of this very well
This Hezbollah-established equation of deterrence is the only thing that protects Lebanon. Nothing else, not the Arab League, nor int’l bodies. Anyone who disagrees can say what they want. Today, our problem in Lebanon with America and Israel is the Resistance, because the Resistance stands in the face of their ambitions. Lebanon is strong due to the Resistance, so they want it gone.
We’ve been hearing this since 2000, that if Hezbollah would disarm, USA, EU would take us off FTO list, support us financially and politically, and make us their best friends. So, I want to make this matter very clear to the Lebanese, this is their problem with us. So, when UAE ambassador to US says a few weeks ago, “we fought Hezbollah,” he is ingratiating himself to the Americans and the Zionist-Jewish lobby.
The Americans claim their issue with Hezbollah is its regional intervention. This isn’t true. If we didn’t fight Israel, they would probably tolerate our regional intervention. Their issue is that we are protecting Lebanon. So, now that war has failed to defeat Hezbollah, they are resorting to every other method, and all we are seeing in Lebanon now is a result of that.
Resistance is the air we breathe to live, resistance is the water we drink to live. The Resistance, for Lebanon and its people, is a condition for life. It’s not an extra matter, it’s existential, until we are offered a different alternative.
Now I want to address 3 things:
1) Tensions with Israel in south
2) UAE-Israel treaty
3) Israeli connection to Beirut Port explosion, and from there I’ll discuss domestic Lebanese issues.
Israelis on July 20 killed Hezbollah fighter “Ali Kamel Mohsen”. They knew Hezbollah would respond, we didn’t need to say anything, and implemented all security precautions to protect their soldiers’ lives and prevent Hezbollah response.
Hezbollah will respond, but it will be to re-establish rules of engagement. So the response will be studied and measured. Only serious, calculated action, not media stunts, re-establish rules of engagement.
So, everything that has been done since July 20 until today, IDF high alert, etc. part of the punishment we are inflicting. If you kill us, it means across the border you must await our response. This decision remains standing, nothing changed, matter of time.
Now, UAE-Israel Peace Treaty. As a believer, who believes God will take me to account on this issue, I must say a few words on this matter. I don’t care to analyze just to say a couple of clear words.
We weren’t surprised by UAE decision, various forms of Israeli-UAE normalization, cooperation were already underway for a long time. But seems need for such an announcement was an American one, because normalization between Israel/UAE was already underway.
Timing also demonstrates how much Arab regimes serve America. Trump needs an accomplishment before end of his term. He has no foreign policy accomplishments, and now he has COVID, economic crisis, etc. Iran refused to buckle to his pressure when he withdrew from Iran Deal, no accomplishment with North Korea, Palestinians rejected Deal of Century.
So, America’s tools stepped up to serve him a foreign policy accomplishment. Both him and Netanyahu, who is at the weakest point in his political career. We should expect from now until the American elections to see many more Arab countries making peace with Israel as soon as Trump and Kushner give them the signal.
Trump already milked Gulf States financially. Now he’s going to deprive them of their dignity, religion, whatever else they have, just to serve his friend Netanyahu. If they need one or more Arab countries, they’re waiting in line. The standard for Arab leaders is to please America. How do they do that? By serving Israel and fighting its enemies.
Worth noting that those who are proclaiming enmity towards Iran in public to please the Israelis and Americans in private are trying to establish friendly ties with Iran, and want to have relations with both Iran and Israel because they are week.
It must be said, this deal is rejected and it is a betrayal of Islam, Arabness of the Palestinian people. It is a stab in the back of the Palestinian people. If we can’t do anything about it, let us at least reject it with our mouths, or in our hearts.
I want to say to Palestinian people and their Arab, resistance allies, we must condemn this, but not be sad in our hearts. It’s a good thing that what has been happening secretly is now open.
We know from the Qur’an that when God decrees victory for the front of righteousness, he takes out all of the weak, hypocrites, and enemies from its ranks. This makes the resistance stronger.
When the ranks of the people become clean, pure of all these backstabbers, this is a good thing, even if it is painful, just like amputation of gangrenous limbs.
They used to talk to us about Arab Consensus. What Arab consensus? What Arab League? What Arab Peace initiative? I don’t want to say what Arabs, because these aren’t Arabs.
Now, Israel and the Beirut Port explosion. We in Hezbollah don’t have a narrative on the Beirut Port explosion. We’re not investigating, the Lebanese state is, and they’re getting aid from FBI, French, etc.
Now, they are in theory, two possibilities.
1) That it was negligence, and there was no sabotage.
2) Sabotage. Some spoke of planes, there’s no proof of this. Other possibility is someone came and detonated it with a small explosive.
There are several entities that could have come set a small explosive and blown up the ammonium nitrate, including Israel. There are those who said we knew about this, because of our vast intelligence capabilities. This is not realistic. We’re a resistance force, we don’t want or have capability to take over domestic security.
So, we’re waiting outcome of investigation. If it’s an accident, then those responsible will be punished. If it’s sabotage, then those people must still be punished, but it’s a different conversation. If it’s Israel, it’s a different conversation.
I’ve read many analyses saying Israel was behind this, Hezbollah knows this, but is denying it because Hezbollah is too weak to retaliate against Israel.
So, we have to investigate. But if it’s true that the FBI is coming, then we’ll never know, if Israel was responsible. Same with int’l investigation. We don’t trust int’l investigation for that reason.
If Lebanese state investigation proves that Israel was responsible, then it’s not just Hezbollah that must respond all of Lebanon, its institutions, its people, must respond to Israel, because this is an aggression against Lebanon.
So, you Lebanese must answer this before Hezbollah, what will you do if it’s Israel? Will you remain silent because Israel is too powerful?
Hezbollah which cannot ignore the killing of one of its fighters, and insists on retaliating for death of one fighter, will not remain silent against Israel if it committed this action, and Israel will pay a similar price.
And we will punish Israel not just for what happened, but what could have happened, because by God’s mercy the explosion was less destructive than it could have been.
Now, regarding Hezbollah, we’ve done away with the claims that this was Hezbollah’s weapons storage.
What’s more dangerous now is that there’s a project underway to bring down the Lebanese State. Not just the parliament. But the State itself.
From the first moments, there were parties, media and electronic armies targeting the state itself.
First, they Michel Aoun and riled up Christian street. Before even knowing who was responsible, they blamed President Aoun, with media, social media and street campaigns.
All of this was pressure on President Aoun to resign, but there were other political factions that rejected this campaign. Others wanted to support, but not be tip of the spear. This attempt on Presidency failed.
Second targeted Lebanese state entity was parliament, through resignations, not constitutionally, or legally, but practically. This failed.
The attack on presidency failed because President Aoun is not the type of man that can be brought down by such petty methods. His history, braver, steadfastness attests to this.
They also failed to bring down parliament. Some parliamentary blocs wants early elections, but not through resignation for their own reasons.
So, the goal was to bring down the state. Does any sane person, who is loyal to Lebanese people, to the wounded and missing, to the country to needs aid, take the country to the collapse of all Lebanese state institutions?
They are trying to take the country to civil war. They were trying to do what they did when Saad Hariri was kidnapped. I accuse Lebanese political parties and powers of bringing Lebanon to the brink of civil war for foreign interests.
Now, I come to the Cabinet. These people and their attempts didn’t bring down the government. Several difficulties brought down the gov’t, and it would have been difficult for any govt to remain in power after such a disaster like Beirut Port.
Now, regarding formation of future gov’t, we tell the Lebanese not to give ear to those attempting to exploit disaster to accomplish their political goals. Every political clash, popular movement, must have a limit and that must be not destroying the state, maintaining domestic peace, avoiding civil war. We must all operate under this limit.
What’s happening now makes Lebanon prey for those who want to destroy and tear it apart
I want to thank PM Hassan Diab and his gov’t for their performance. We understand their resignation in light of the great disaster. We hope that until new gov’t is formed, they carry out their caretaker duties faithfully.
Regarding new gov’t from Hezbollah’s perspective, any people should want a strong, responsible, capable gov’t. Gov’t isn’t just to gain titles, especially for a country going through Lebanon’s conditions.
So, we ask for a strong gov’t that has political backing from parliamentary factions, so it can withstand pressure. Traditionally, we have called for national unity gov’t since 2005. Or a gov’t with the broadest political, popular backing.
Today, whomever the next Prime Minister will be, we ask him to form a national unity government. If he can’t, then he should form a gov’t w/broadest political, popular backing, and formed of politicians and technocrats.
We ask future PM to deal with rebuilding, economic crisis, fuel, electricity, public schools, etc.
Primarily, we ask that they focus on investigating Beirut Port explosion.
Let’s not waste our time. We all know what each political faction is going to ask for in Lebanon, and what’s possible and what isn’t in Lebanon. A neutral government is a waste of time in this gov’t. Is there neutrality in Lebanon?
Let me explain this matter of “neutral gov’ts.” Americans, when their political opponents win popular elections, start calling for neutral, expert governments. But when their allies win, they don’t call for a neutral government. So this call for a neutral government is a way to bypass the popular will. So we in Hezbollah dismiss and reject this notion of a neutral government.
So this call for a neutral government is a way to bypass the popular will. So we in Hezbollah dismiss and reject this notion of a neutral government.
So let’s learn from previous experience, not waste time, and install a national unity gov’t or one with the broadest possible representation.
Regarding protests, we’ve seen all boundaries crossed. They have put up nooses. Who do these people represent?
This isn’t everyone, and we respect those peacefully protesting. But there are others who are backed by embassies. Now some will come and tell me they aren’t personally backed by embassy, maybe not, but whomever is leading them might be.
Let us not be fuel for those who want to drag us into civil war. I don’t say let go of your anger. Hold on to it, but restrain it, because the day might come when we need it to end all attempts to drag Lebanon into civil war. Hold on to it until that day.
Regarding Special Tribunal Lebanon, our position is known. I don’t care to repeat any of that. But, regarding its verdict, whatever it might be, we don’t care. If STL finds any Hezbollah people guilty, we maintain their innocence. So any STL against us will be as if it was never issued because it might as well have been issued years ago. There are those who will doubtlessly try to exploit the STL decision, so I ask Hezbollah’s supporters to be patient.
Through patience, we will get through these difficult times.
My last point is regarding COVID-19, numbers have risen, and hospitals are beyond capacity. COVID-19 is now out of control. So I again reiterate my point that from humanitarian, religious all religions position, it is forbidden to risk oneself or others.