Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah – tribute to former Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Salah and discussion of the economic pressures on Lebanon and Syria. Translation by Haidar Akarar, video here: http://www.u-news.net/en/news/30/26515

See also: ‘Sayyed Nasrallah: Our Weapons Will Remain, We Will not Starve, We Will Kill You’ https://english.almanar.com.lb/1066606

“Shalah’s death is a personal loss for me, as we had a close relationship. Had health conditions been different in Lebanon, we would have held a ceremony in his honor. He was a true leader, committed to resistance to accomplish goals. He was also an intellectual figure.

He worked hard to maintain Palestinian unity and unity between Palestinian factions, prioritizing cause over party. His concerns and activities extended beyond the Palestinian cause to the entire Muslim Ummah.

We used to discuss together methods of unifying the Muslim world and bridging the Sunni-Shia divide. Worth discussing the emotional dimension of Salah’s personality – he felt the pain, joy, successes and failures of his people and fighters on a personal level, unlike some leaders who treat subordinates or people as mere tools

Such leaders treat humans as no different than a tank or a rifle, and if thousands of them die, they don’t care. But true jihadi leaders care for the lives of their followers. Salah would cry over the deaths and suffering of his people. We need more of this.

All supporters of resistance and Palestinian cause, all concerned with holy places in Palestinian, Christians and Muslims, have lost great leader with death of Ramadan Salah. As Palestinians face the great danger of annexation, they need a figure like Ramadan Salah now.

We must also honor the fallen Hezbollah commander al-Haj Hassan Farhat, aka al-hajj Ali Farhat. Farhat was a member of the founding generation of Hezbollah, part of the generation that gave and sacrificed everything for the sake of resistance.

Farhat began his path as a mujahid, carrying a rifle, engaging in operations, gathering fighters to carry out attacks, until he achieved a regional leadership position by 1985 in Iqlim al-Tuffah.

He assumed large responsibilities in combating the Israeli occupation of the south Lebanon Security Zone, and had roles in 1993, 1996, 2000, and 2006 war w/Israel. He was also Hezbollah field commander in Syria, had role in Aleppo battle.

He continued in his resistance responsibilities until the last moments of his life. I knew Hajj Abu Ali [Farhat] personally. At times, we even lived in the same place for months, met daily. Farhat was a humble and religious person. He would give and not take, and never demanded anything in return.

To us, therefore, Farhat is an exemplar as a person, a resistance leader, family man, etc.

He avoided the spotlight like many other resistance leaders, and the focus turns to them only after they pass away. Once #COVID19 passes, it is our duty to hold a ceremony to honor Farhat, and if I am alive by then, it will be my duty to offer myself during that ceremony.

I want to discuss domestic issues now —

1) Security issues
2) Economic issues
3) Caesar Act and how Lebanese should react to this barbaric American law

Talk of trying to bring down the PM Hassan Diab government is false and baseless.
We haven’t heard anything related to this from our allies, or in our discussions with them. It is entirely false.

When violent actions happened last week in response to spike of the Lebanese Pound, people blamed the “Shiite Duo” — specifically Hezbollah – and said we wanted to bring down the Diab Gov’t.

On the one hand, they call the Diab gov’t a Hezbollah gov’t. They then say we want to bring down this gov’t, which they claim is ours. Are we that stupid to want to bring down our own gov’t?

Hezbollah doesn’t want to bring down the Diab government. We need to calm the situation in Lebanon, and support all reconciliation efforts. Any reconciliation efforts – like the one hosted in Ain al-Tineh yesterday by Berri between different Druze factions – must be supported.

Regarding the June 6 protests, and their call to implement UNSC Resolution. 1559 and disarm Hezbollah — we think it is wrong, and inappropriate, and an injustice to attribute that day’s protests to the October 17 Revolution.

Proof of that is that many of the October 17 Revolution supporters oppose disarming Hezbollah, and therefore attributing this call to the whole protest movement is inappropriate.

The major demand, the priority, of the October 17 protests is not disarming Hezbollah, despite some within it focusing on the issue. They are protesting about economic, social, etc. issues. And this is understandable.

Injecting the issue of Hezbollah weapons is inappropriate, and causes division within the protest movement, as we have seen so far. This is why the June 6 protest ended up being a weak one, even according to media supporting those protests. If anyone wants to protest Hezbollah weapons, let them do so. We have no problem with that and we’re not worried about it — but don’t mix this issue with the rest of the protest movement.

Some are even spreading conspiracy theories about the June 6 protests, that Hezbollah spread the demand for disarming Hezbollah as an excuse to inject its followers into the street and take over the protests. This is pure idiocy and trying to fool people.

You can talk day and night about disarming Hezbollah – on TV, social media, news outlets. No problem. But if you’re serious, you’re going about this the wrong way — with slogans, protests, and screaming.

What you need is to convince the supporters of the Resistance that you are offering a better alternative to Hezbollah’s weapons.

Hezbollah has offered a tangible example of how to liberate territory and defend national rights and sovereignty. What is the alternative you’re offering?

You can talk from now until eternity, but with mere slogans you aren’t going to convince the people who tasted Israeli occupation and attacks, when you are not offering a genuine alternative. For the supporters of the resistance, this is now an ideology and a belief system that has demonstrated its efficacy. You can’t reverse that with slogans and cursing. regarding acts of violence and attacks on property, security forces – and even more dangerously, cursing important symbols, either those of Muslims or Christians.

Go back to my initial speech after October 17, I called for not attacking public or private property, attacking security forces, cursing political or religious symbols, or blocking roads. We’ve been consistent on these points since then.

For a simple reason , these methods don’t serve the purpose of pressuring the gov’t into implementing reforms. Not only that, these methods are counterproductive and will lead the people to oppose the protester’s demands. If anything, this leads to total chaos, and I don’t think anyone wants chaos.

Regarding cursing political and religious symbols, this reflects a certain moral deficiency and lack of discipline, on social media, in the street, and even in the traditional media. Responsible leaders must prevent any type of domestic strife, particularly of a sectarian nature. We are all responsible for maintaining restraint.

On the media recently, someone insulted #ImamAli, and Shia took this as a personal attack. During 6-June-2020 protests, some cursed Hazrat Aisha, and our Sunni brothers took this as a personal attack.

Electronic armies – belonging to Israelis and others – want this country to fall into sectarian strife. Should the rest of us inadvertently aid their efforts, or should we act responsibly? And how do we act responsibility by not blowing matters out of proportion.

For example, when this person cursed imam Ali on TV , Shia leaders in Lebanon must take a stand and say these views don’t represent the Sunni community or its beliefs, and let the authorities deal with this person. Keep this matter confined to the individual who committed the offense, and don’t attack their family, or even political party, let alone their sect. This is what wisdom requires. But blaming all Sunnis is counter-productive, to Shia Muslims first and foremost.

Sunnis should react the same to alleged curses against Hazrat Aisha, and not blame the entire sect, political party, etc. of the person who committed this offense – and push the country to the edge of chaos.

The same applies to Christian/Muslim relations, if someone from one religion insults the symbols of another, especially when this is coming from youths speaking in the heat of the moment. This is going to continue happening, because this is the mood of the country. So, leaders of any insulted sect must be the first to step to the forefront and tamp down tensions.

It would be great if we could get to a point where we are no longer insulting each other. But that’s a heavy lift now, so we must react to these events to prevent sectarian strife.

I want to address acts of violence, especially last Saturday in Beirut and Tripoli. I want to condemn these acts totally.. even if someone is hungry or upset, they have no right to commit vandalism or violence.

Since these acts of violence began happening – since the price of the Lebanese Lira collapsed – people started saying this was the Shia’s of Dahiyeh, the people of the Shia Duo Amal and Hezbollah. Some went further to say this was organized Hezbollah/Amal effort.

First, I want to note violence also happened in Tripoli. Did Shia go to Tripoli and do this? Did Dahiyeh go to Tripoli and commit violence?

I want to add my voice to parliamentarians and others, the videos are there of people who committed violence. Go after them, interrogate them and see whether they are politically affiliated and whether their political parties ordered them into the street.

It is therefore wrong to blame the #Dahiyeh for these acts of violence, which we condemn. But we need to see where this campaign of blame came from. We don’t want problems in the country. We don’t want anyone cursing or beating people. It’s not in our interest for this to happen, and we’re not going to act against our interest.

Last Saturday, Hezbollah and Amal agreed to send our guys into the street to impose discipline, to pursue the people committing vandalism and roaming around on motorbikes. We spoke with them and told them their actions were counter-productive. We expended all efforts, we could to restrain them, because we don’t want one “street” clashing against another “street.”

Let the media say what it wants about Hezbollah using its private security, when it comes to preventing a conflagration in the country, we and Amal will do whatever is necessary to prevent that, including deploying security forces to prevent clashes.

Regarding how Dahiyeh is being treated. Dahiyeh has thousands of people, of different sects but predominantly Shia Muslims. It is not proper if one person from Dahiyeh commits an action, it is improper to blame Hezbollah and Amal.

It’s irrational, one the one hand, they say Hezbollah, Amal don’t represent all Shia. Immediately after, if someone Shiite does something, they blame Hezbollah and Amal. They’re even accusing Hezbollah of smuggling goods on trucks to Syria via Tripoli. Why would we do that? They’re saying we control illegal crossings in the Bekka..why not just smuggle through those? If you’re going to lie, at least do it smartly. If you want to accuse, go ahead, but at least let there be a kernel of truth to it, not a blatant lie.

Again, I call for calm, deconfliction, restraining social media activists who are creating strife in the country. It’s responsibility of religious, political leaders, media, authorities, and every individual in this country.

Regarding the economic and monetary issue, I want to discuss the collapse of the Lebanese Lira and its impact on various aspects of daily life. This a challenge. We can’t learn to live with it or adapt to it. We need to press the government to fix this problem or at least alleviate some of its impact.

Issue is lack of dollar supply. I’ve read that Americans are preventing transfer of dollars to Lebanon, and Americans are pressuring BDL not to inject dollars into Lebanese market.

This isn’t secret information, this is known and discussed in Lebanese media. The Americans say they are doing this because they claim that when the dollar is injected into the Lebanese market, Hezbollah and others are buying them up and sending them to Syria and Iran. For this reason, the Americans, the AMERICANS the US admin, Treasury, State Dept are preventing dollars from coming to Lebanon, and preventing BDL from dealing with this problem.

When you’re going out to protest, know the cause of the problem. What do these stores people are attacking have to do with this?

If Hezbollah is indeed transferring dollars to Syria and Iran, then let the security forces investigate the matter and show us proof. Hezbollah doesn’t take dollars out of Lebanon. Hezbollah brings dollars into Lebanon, and I won’t get into how we do this.

Dollars are being taken out of Lebanon, but not by us. A specific bank, which I won’t name, has been doing so.

$20 billion dollars have been smuggled abroad before 10/19 up to 02/20. But not by Hezbollah, and not to Syria and Iran.

Issue of dollars is a conspiracy against Lebanon. Go ask the bank in question if any of the dollars went to Syria or Iran, and how much. So there is someone trying to take dollars out of Lebanon to cause economic collapse in Lebanon. This is the truth.

We should know in this issue who is our enemy, so we can blame them, and know they are our slaughterer and executioner, this is the one humiliating our country, so we can know how to confront them properly.

So it’s not the issue of one money changer or another here or there. It’s a smokescreen to cover the real party responsible for preventing dollars from arriving in Lebanon.

Issue of dollar supply isn’t a matter of the liberal capitalist system or whatever, it is a national security issue and must be dealt with accordingly. We also must not be sucked into rumors like 7000 LL to $1, or claims that parties are trying to bring down the gov’t, etc.

If the dollar is the pressure point used against us, for even basic needs.. how do we reduce demand for the dollar?

We can’t confront America in America or around the world. But can we find a friendly regional country..Iran to sell Lebanese gov’t or companies oil, gas, fuel, petrochemical products, and other products without the dollar, with the lira..? Not just Iran.

But first we have to convince the Lebanese people to accept this. Hezbollah hasn’t gone to the Iranians yet to ask them, and if there are any Iranians watching this they might be surprised.

In the past, when Mohammad Fneish was electricity minister, I went to Iran for two weeks to try to convince them to aid us, but things didn’t work out on the Lebanese end.

Maybe they won’t accept the Lebanese pound, but maybe we can find an interlocutor Iran or others , who would accept Lebanese products in exchange for the products we need..

This will stimulated Lebanese production, demand for dollar will be reduced, it won’t go away entirely and our national currency will go up. It will reduce American leverage over Lebanon.

I’m addressing the Lebanese people to tell them there are options, and to pressure Lebanese officials if they say “no” or if they are intimidated by American pressure. We will address this earnestly with Lebanese officials, to convince them to talk to Iran and other countries, I won’t name those countries so as not to put them on the spot.

I have confirmed information that Chinese companies are willing to inject money into this country. Like on light rail from Tripoli to Naqoura, which would improve economy in Lebanon.

I’m speaking to you, officially, Chinese companies are ready to help us.

If the Chinese are ready to help us, why are we waiting for the Americans?

I want to talk directly to the Lebanese people.. we can’t sit, wait for the Americans. The country can’t last like this. IMF negotiations could take a year or two.

Do we have that long? France, EU waiting for American permission on CEDRE. Can we wait for that? There is no such thing as the Lebanese interest in the American calculus. They don’t care for us. I’ll say more.. there’s no such thing as American interest in Lebanon, only Israeli interests. They don’t care if we live or die.

Look at how Americans treat their allies around the world. They humiliate and insult them. Look at the Europeans, Trump reduced US forces in Germany by 1/2 w/o even consulting their beloved allies. These are the Americans you’re betting on

Just go back and see videos of Americans throwing their Vietnamese tools out of helicopters in Vietnam. If they have a problem with us and our weapons, fine, let them punish us. Why are they punishing the Lebanese people? This is how the Americans operate.. if they have a problem w/a country’s regime, they punish the people: Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, etc.

What’s the humanitarian, legal, or religious justification for this?

If they think this is how they’ll turn the Resistance’s base against it, we’ll starve for years and not turn. If the think Lebanon will starve, we won’t, we’ll find alternatives. We won’t submit to them or the Israelis.

They’re trying to lead us to an equation where we surrender our arms in return for bread. We won’t accept this equation, and if it comes to this, we have our own equation – a more dangerous equation, and let them go analyze [what I mean.]

We’re surrounded by wolves, and they’re asking us to give up the only weapons that prevent us from these wolves.

Who will defend the Lebanese [without Hezbollah’s weapons?] Look at the Palestinians, who is protecting them? All the pressure on Israel isn’t stopping the annexation. Only our weapons will defend our sovereignty and land, and if they try to put us in a position of starving or giving up our weapons, or they’ll kill us.. I say we won’t starve, or give up our weapons, and we’ll kill them. We’ll kill them!

When I say turn eastward, I’m not saying close the door to America. America is an enemy, but if they’re going to help Lebanon, fine. Anyone but Israel.

I’ve gone over my time, so I won’t be able to address Iraq and Yemen, but I will address Caesar Act, because Lebanon and Syria will be affected by this.
Syria has emerged victorious against all previous American efforts, so Caesar Act is the last American weapon to defeat Syria.

So now they’re going to starve Syria. Is this out of love for the Syrian people?
I want to tell Syria, and everyone concerned with Syria, that Syria’s allies who did not abandon it during the past 10 yrs will not abandon Syria now as it confronts this economic war.

Syrian gov’t is working to deal with Caesar Act, and Syrian people must demonstrate solidarity in confronting this law. Syrian people must not let anyone fool them into thinking goal of Caesar Act is to change Assad regime.

Those who spent blood and treasure since 2011 to defend Syria will not spare any effort to protect Syria against this new economic war. Any Lebanese rejoicing over this must realize Caesar Act will impact them as well. Syria is Lebanon’s only land outlet to the east. Those who are trying to close the Lebanese door to Syria are implicitly trying to force Lebanon to open door to Israel.

Syria has also been inviting Lebanese companies to help in rebuilding their country. I’m not saying the Lebanese gov’t should confront America over this. I know this isn’t possible. What I’m saying is that we don’t submit to this American move.

Americans are trying to close all doors to Lebanon, to break, humiliate, and pressure us to submit. I wish to the Americans. To the Israelis, like they are with the rest of the Arab world. Don’t allow this.

We must deal with these challenges as if we’re in a war. We don’t need the Americans.

End