THE leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, on 14 February warned Israel that it will respond to the killing the previous day of one of its senior commanders, Imad Mughniyah.
Addressing mourners at Mughniyah’s funeral in Beirut via a video link, Nasrallah said: ‘Leader and martyr Imad Mughniyah sincerely made a covenant with God and yearned for meeting with Him.
‘He died as a martyr on the days of the martyrdom of Abu-Abdallah al-Husayn, the master of martyrs, peace be upon him. Al-Hajj Imad was ready to sacrifice his blood and carried his shroud on his shoulder at a young age. Years passed by and during them he scored victory and sought martyrdom. He has finally reached it.
‘Congratulations to him on getting this sublime heavenly medal. . .’
He added: ‘Brothers and sisters, today time is tight and rain is falling and our beloved ones are waiting. This is not the time to be fair to Al-Hajj Imad now. We will do some of our duty in the coming days, but I would like to stress a few points in front of the leader martyr and his chaste body and in front of you and the world, which is waiting for Hezbollah’s position.
‘First, they, that is, the Zionists, consider the martyrdom of Al-Hajj Imad a great achievement while we consider it great news, signalling the upcoming decisive and final victory, God willing.
‘Let us go back a little in memory. This is what happened to Shaykh Raghib. They killed him but the resistance escalated and Israel got out of the capital, the mountain area, the western Bekaa Valley, and most of the south except for the occupied border strip. It did so as a result of his pure blood and the proud resistance and not the international resolutions or international intervention, which has always supported the Zionists.
‘This, too, was the case with leader martyr Al-Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi. They killed him, imagining that by killing him the resistance would collapse. Resistance escalated and took an upward turn.
‘A few years later, that is, in 2000, they left defeated and humiliated as a result of his blood and resistance which carried the name and banner of Abbas al-Musawi, and not as a result of the international resolutions or international community.
‘Today, they killed brother leader Al-Hajj Imad Mughniyah, thinking that by killing him the resistance will collapse. They killed him against the backdrop of the July war, which, brothers and sisters, is still ongoing. Until this moment, no ceasefire has been announced. It is continuing on the political, media, financial, and security levels, and is supported by the same countries which supported the July war. He was killed against the backdrop of this war, but they are completely mistaken in the same way as they were mistaken when they killed Shaykh Raghib and Al-Sayyid Abbas.
‘From the July 2006 war, which was closely linked to Imad Mughniyah, to the blood of Al-Hajj Imad Mughniyah in February 2008, let the whole world note – and I take responsibility for this – that we should start writing the history of the phase which signals the beginning of the collapse of the State of Israel.
‘If the blood of Shaykh Raghib forced them out of most of the Lebanese territories and if the blood of Al-Sayyid Abbas forced them out of the occupied border strip except for the Shabaa Farms, the blood of Imad Mughniyah will put an end to their existence, God willing.
‘This is not said as an expression of emotions or sympathy. It is said in a moment of reflection and contemplation. Hear me well. You all know that Ben-Gurion was the founder of the Zionist state in occupied Palestine. Therefore, he knew better than others the points of strength and weakness of this entity, and the equations which protect or destroy it.
‘Listen to what Ben-Gurion said. Had the Arab leaders heeded what he said, this conflict would have ended long ago.
‘Ben-Gurion said Israel would collapse.
‘He did not say it would get out of the south or from the Golan, Sinai, or the West Bank. No, he said Israel, which is an artificial entity, would collapse after losing the first war. He said Israel would collapse after losing the first war.
‘Israel waged war in July 2006. Some Zionists called it the sixth war as it became known to the world, but high-ranking strategic commanders in Israel called it the first war. All the right and left wings and all extremists in Israel – because there are no moderates – were unanimous in saying that Israel lost the war.
‘The Winograd report, which was softened and made appropriate to keep what is left of Israel, could not conceal the bitterness of the fact that said hundreds of times the words serious failure, great failure, inability, and weakness on the level of the political and military leaderships and the Israeli Army. Did the Winograd report not say this? It was not Imad Mughniyah who said this. It was said by a judge appointed by Olmert. He told part of the truth in order to alert Israel to its fate.
‘The question, O brothers and sisters, is why they have failed and lost the July war, although, as he said, they have the strongest army in the Middle East. They also have more advanced equipment and technology than any other. This is simply because they faced in Lebanon over the 33-day war a serious, honest, and valiant resistance and because Imad Mughniyah was fighting them during the July war in Lebanon, along with his brothers and students.
‘They were lying in wait for them and fought them bravely, courageously and cleverly. Therefore, Israel has lost the first war, and according to the historical laws and rules and the promise made by its founder, it is doomed to collapse, and will collapse, God willing.
‘The consequences of shedding the blessed, pure blood of Hajj Imad Mughniyah, Shaykh Raghib, Al-Sayyid Abbas, Fathi al-Shaqaqi, Ahmad Yasin, and the other martyrs, leaders, and mujahideen will destroy this cancerous, usurper entity which has been planted in the heart of our Arab and Islamic nation.
‘Second, let our worried friends be reassured and let the enemy know that it has acted very foolishly. I am now in front of Hajj Imad, and my brothers know the reality.
‘I would like to tell both friends and foes that there is no weakness or loophole in the body of the resistance. Imad Mughniyah’s brothers will press ahead with his project and jihad. Israeli does not know what the blood of Imad and Al-Sayyid Abbas has done in the heart of Hezbollah.
‘It does not know that it has created an emotional and spiritual unity inside Hezbollah and that it has provided a great new incentive to the resistance. They do not know all this because they belong to a completely different culture.
‘The blood of Hajj Radwan will further our unity and firmness and will give us an incentive to press ahead with our march more strongly, God willing.
‘At this point, I would like to tell the enemy before the friend, that Hajj Imad has accomplished his mission, along with his brothers. Today, before leaving us as a martyr, he left behind him only a little to be accomplished.
‘Since the end of the July war on 14 August, we have been preparing for another day, for a day we expect Israel, which is aggressive by nature, to attack Lebanon and wage other wars on Lebanon and the region. This is what Winograd has recommended.
‘On 14 August, the second day, the displaced began to return and a large part of our organisation was supervising the housing and compensation issues and removing the debris. But since the first day, the fighters have prepared for a possible upcoming war.
‘What I have previously promised has been fulfilled by Hajj Imad and his brothers. Today, Hezbollah and the Islamic resistance are fully prepared to face any potential aggression or war against Lebanon.
‘In the past, I have talked about rockets, but today, I will talk about youths because we are now in front of one of the great leaders of youths. Winograd says that several thousands of fighters stood firm for several weeks in the face of Israel’s army, which is considered the strongest in the Middle East and which has admitted defeat.
‘After they killed Hajj Imad, let them hear me well: In any coming war, not just one Imad Mughniyah will be waiting for you, and not just a few thousands of fighters. Imad Mughniyah has left behind him tens of thousands of trained, equipped, and ready-for-martyrdom fighters.
‘Third, we tell the enemy that we do not act treacherously and we apologise to the friends. The Zionists killed Hajj Imad Mughniyah in Damascus. All our field and investigative information so far confirms this. The Israelis have been handling the issue with hints – which are even stronger than being explicit – that claim responsibility for the assassination. I tell them: You have killed Hajj Imad outside the recognised battle zone.
‘Our battle with you has been and continues to be on our Lebanese land. You used to kill us on our Lebanese land and we fought your usurping entity back.
‘You have crossed the border.
‘I will not say much now, but I will quote one phrase from the July war, when I addressed you the first time and told you Zionists: If you want an open war, then let it be an open war. I promised the believers’ victory, because I trust God, the believers and our people and mujahideen.
‘Now, there is only one thing to say: With regard to this killing, considering its date, place and style, I tell you Zionists: If you want this kind of open war, then let the entire world listen: Let it be an open war.
‘We have a sacred right to self-defence and we will do everything this right entitles us to do to defend our country, brothers, leaders, and people, God willing.
‘Fourth, on the anniversary of the martyrdom of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, we wished the martyrdom had helped people assemble together in squares, but some want to use such occasions for insults, abuses, and baseless accusations. . . Let everybody hear this: Lebanon, to which we have offered our dearest leaders, ulema, brothers, sons, women and children, will not be an Israeli territory, will not be an American territory, and will not provide a foothold for the Zionists.
‘Lebanon will not be American and will not be divided or federalised.
‘Concerning those who want to divide the country, let them leave this country and let them go to their masters in Washington and Tel Aviv, and Lebanon will remain a country of national unity, coexistence, and civil peace. It will remain a country of resistance, victory, and national dignity in spite of the dwarfs.
‘In spite of those summoning armies to fight Lebanon and Syria on their behalf and in spite of those who try to sow sedition day and night, Lebanon will remain a country for unity, dignity, loftiness, sovereignty, and strength. Therefore, it has always deserved martyrs, like Abbas al-Musawi, Raghib Harb, Imad Mughniyah and Rafiq al-Hariri. . .
‘We tell the enemies and killers that we will press ahead with resistance until complete victory. God bless you. Let our martyr join the prophets and messengers, and may God grant him paradise. O Radwan, you will continue to be a pillar because you have left behind you thousands like you from your soul, mind, honesty, cleverness, and courage. Let Imad join the other martyrs.’