Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has revealed how his Hezbollah movement prevailed in last year’s Israeli war on Lebanon.
He said: ‘We had believed that war would break out, that the Zionists would launch a war against Lebanon because of their defeat in 2000 in order to restore their self-esteem.
‘Consider how psychologically complicated the Israelis were because of what happened in 2000.
‘During the July 2007 war, some details were published about the Bint Jubayl battle. It transpired that the background to the decision to enter the Bint Jubayl town was an order to the northern command to do it – and this means that the northern command neither prepared for it nor approved it.
‘The order came from above; namely, go and occupy the Bint Jubayl town.
‘What was the reason? This had to do with the political, psychological, and morale dimensions.
‘After the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, there was a rally in Bint Jubayl.
‘I made a speech there and said: “It (Israel) was flimsier than the spider web.” They wanted to prove to me, to the Lebanese, and to the Arabs and all Muslims, that Israel is made of steel, that it is not as weak as a spider web.’
He continued: ‘Therefore we had supposed that the Israelis would try to restore their deterrence and self-esteem and would retaliate against Lebanon, the Lebanese people, and the Lebanese resistance because of the 2000 defeat.
‘That was why we were preparing. We were not resting.’
Nasrallah stressed: ‘Of course we had a plan of confrontation. We had a detailed plan, including scenarios of an expected Israeli war and how to confront these scenarios.’
He said: ‘Materially, our combat readiness was very high. Therefore, when the confrontation began on the first day, we had been expecting a reaction to the capture operations. This was natural.
‘However, at night, and after the government decision, we declared general mobilisation in all Lebanese areas. Therefore, all the human and material resources of Hezbollah were placed in the battle and we began the confrontation.’
He stressed: ‘There was a huge and widespread collective work.
‘Of course, each of us played a role. The Hezbollah secretary general played a role during the management of the war.
‘The other brothers had their roles. There was the jihadist dimension in the field, the social popular dimension, the media dimension, the political dimension.
‘All the brothers were shouldering responsibilities, each in his own specialty.
‘There was a military command, a group of fit and efficient brothers. They were managing the war.
‘Some of them were here in Beirut and some were sent to the south in addition to the commanders who left for the south the same day the hostilities began.
‘Therefore, there was a system of leadership, if we want to be exact.’
Asked whether he was ever taken by surprise, Nasrallah said: ‘After the second Qana massacre an agreement was reached to observe a 48-hour moratorium on the fighting for humanitarian reasons – they would stop the raids and the bombing and we would stop firing missiles.
‘The resistance mujahidin were spreading out in valleys, hills and high places.
‘They were dispersed groups. Ours is not a classic army. The forces that fire various kinds of missiles also were widely deployed in the south.
‘You must have observed that during the truce agreement, which was a central decision made in Beirut, no missile was fired.
‘Immediately after the 48 hours expired, 400 missiles were fired within a very brief period.
Before that, the Israelis explained this – because they never imagined or understood that there was such a level of resistance with such a high level of discipline and control – by saying that the Hezbollah missile power was neutralised.
‘They could not believe that Hezbollah was able to control all its groups in the south, in Al-Biqa al-Gharbi and in various other areas for 48 hours and never fired a missile.
‘They had thought that the resistance’s missile systems were hit and they were surprised that when the truce expired, the missile forces proved to be more effective and stronger than they had been before.
‘This was an indication that, in general, contacts and communications with the forces were clearly obvious.’
Nasrallah continued: ‘The Israeli claims, especially during the first days, that they had hit missiles depots during the first days of the war were not true and that the places that were hit were not missiles depots, especially the missiles whose range was greater than 40 km.
‘This is not true. This did not happen during the first days. Most probably they hit houses and civilian targets. I remember when they bombed some of our brothers with their wives and children that they said that they hit missiles depots. They were just homes.’
Speaking about the Hezbollah missile attack that sunk an Israeli warship, Nasrallah said: ‘This was one of the secret weapons that the Israelis did not know we possessed.’
He said: ‘It was time to respond, given that a hard phase of the war had started and we should display the elements of strength that we possessed.
‘During the July war we had not presented any new thing. The first thing, I think, was the warship.
‘The missile was a smart missile and its firing was a complicated issue and it required a number of calculations.
‘There was a certain mechanism for firing it. We do not want to specify the mechanism, whether it was done from a mobile or from a stationary launch pad, I prefer to keep this a secret.’
Nasrallah said the men who fired the missiles ‘were engineers from the resistance.
‘At that time, the Israelis said they were Iranians, Chinese, or Koreans. They were Lebanese men and their forefathers have lived in Lebanon for hundreds of years.’
He added that meanwhile, ‘I was supposed to make a speech, a direct speech by telephone to the Al-Manar Television.
‘I had to make a speech because the security square (Hezbollah-controlled area in southern Beirut suburb) was being heavily bombed.
‘The Israelis said: We have killed this person. A recorded speech was not appropriate.
‘We had to broadcast a speech live, a direct speech so that both the enemy and the friend, those who love us and those who hate us, would be certain that this person was still living, that he was not killed.
‘Here also God’s intervention played a role and there was a divine victory.
‘My live speech, which was coordinated and synchronised with the firing of the missile at the warship and its destruction, proved that this was really a live speech and not a speech recorded one hour or one or two days before the event.’
He added: ‘I can say that by firing two missiles at the warship we managed to knock the Israeli naval force out of the equation.
‘We did do, although the enemy was strong.
‘I want the Arabs to know this fact.
‘An Israeli gunboat was later attacked off the shore of Tyre as we saw on television screens. This means we managed to disrupt the Israeli naval force.
‘Second, we shot down a number of helicopters. Therefore, the Israeli helicopters no longer dared to fly in our skies at daylight but not at night as we had a problem with night vision.
‘Helicopters continued to work at night but we neutralised them at daytime. Knocking the naval force out of the battle and neutralizing the activity of helicopters during the day forced the Israeli enemy to depend on its Air Force in an intensive and unprecedented manner because we had no power to confront their Air Force.
‘Therefore, a large number of raids were carried out. Ma’ariv spoke of 12,000 sorties and most of these sorties were combat ones. The Israeli enemy carried out combat reconnaissance and not reconnaissance that was later followed by bombing.
‘Our ability to hit all targets in northern Palestine, including Haifa and what is beyond it, and the continuation of this ability to the last day of the war, was an extremely large element of strength for us.
‘All the Israeli Air Force, on which they wagered, failed to prevent the firing of these missiles up to the last day.
‘We were ready to the end to strike Tel Aviv if Beirut was bombed. This possibility continued to exist to the last moment.’
He said: ‘Fighters were combating fire from above and around, but their morale, administration, and field presence were excellent. I will conclude by saying the pressure put on us was only that of the people.
‘It was normal to be moved by the martyrdom of our brothers and beloved ones in the resistance, but that was not an element of pressure because that was one of the consequences of war.
‘Also that was the choice made by the youths.
‘Massacres, however, were committed and civilians were killed and houses destroyed.
‘We were moved even by the destruction of houses because it would not be easy to rebuild them. We, however, were mostly moved by the people.
‘That is why I described them as the most honourable, generous, and chaste people.
‘People were destroyed and their men, women, and children were killed. People were forced out of entire areas.
‘Nevertheless, they took an honourable and great stand in support of the resistance.’