N A RARE interview recorded some 20 years ago and aired this week, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says the resistance movement rejected American offers of money and support that were made in exchange for its elimination from the Arab-Israeli conflict equation.
Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen channel is airing a five-part documentary series dubbed ‘40 and Beyond’ about Hezbollah.
The series comes on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Hezbollah as well as the 30th anniversary of the election of Nasrallah as the head of the movement. The episodes include an unseen interview of Nasrallah with Ghassan Ben Jeddou, current CEO of al-Mayadeen.
In the third episode of the series, Nasrallah says the United States made several offers to Hezbollah after the liberation of southern Lebanon and western Bekaa in 2000, aiming at neutralising the movement and eliminating it from the Arab-Israeli conflict equation.
The United States was trying to convince Hezbollah that the Shebaa Farms were not worth a conflict and that the issue could be resolved through dialogue, Nasrallah said.
According to the top resistance figure, what the United States was offering in exchange for the movement’s neutralisation included working out a solution about the issue of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli prisons, recognising Hezbollah’s political role and its inclusion of Hezbollah into the government, providing the resistance with a significant financial aid to rebuild the liberated areas, and removing Hezbollah from the so-called terror list.
Washington was also asking the Lebanese movement to abandon its military and financial support for the Palestinian Intifada, said Nasrallah.
These offers, he said, were strongly rejected by Hezbollah because the movement sought to help the Palestinians and considered Israel a permanent threat to Lebanon’s security.
American authorities repeated the same offers after 9/11 following its declaring of war against organisations it recognises as terrorists, added the resistance leader.
Hezbollah was established following the 1982 Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon. Since then, the popular resistance group has grown into a powerful military force.
The resistance group fought off two Israeli wars against Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, forcing a humiliating retreat upon the regime’s military in both wars. The movement has vowed to resolutely defend Lebanon in case of another Israeli war.
In an interview with Iran’s Arabic-language al-Alam news network in early January 2022, Nasrallah also pointed to the offer by the United States to turn its back on Palestine and end confrontation with the occupying regime.
‘Previously, they (the Americans) sent us a delegation on behalf of Dick Cheney to negotiate a halt in our support for Palestine and attacks against Israel. In return, they said that they would pay us billions of dollars and even allow us to have our weapons, an offer which we naturally opposed,’ he said.
Lebanon and the occupying entity are technically at war since the latter has kept the Arab country’s Shebaa Farms under occupation since 1967.
‘We do not recognise the existence of Israel. This is the land of Palestine,’ Nasrallah said.
In a recent statement, referring to the gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean Nasrallah asserted that Israel will not be allowed to extract from the disputed Karish gas field if Lebanon’s rights are not secured.
- The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) naval forces says any presence of the Israeli regime in the Persian Gulf region will only fuel insecurity, asserting that regional countries are able to maintain security.
‘We believe that the Zionist regime gaining a foothold in the Persian Gulf region will have no result other than sowing sedition and creating insecurity,’ Brigadier General Alireza Tangsiri said on Friday in a meeting with the commander of Oman’s navy, Rear Admiral Saif bin Nasser Bin Mohsin Al Rahbi.
The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the presence of foreign forces will not help regional security, but rather will foment insecurity, he said.
The comments come days after sources familiar with the matter revealed that the US and Israel are seeking to lay the groundwork for the so-called security alliance with some regional Arab states to fight off what they call the threat from Iran.
Discussions on the plan are still at an early stage and have already met resistance from several Arab countries who refuse to do business with Israel.
Iranian officials have repeatedly described Israel’s destabilising activities as the main source of insecurity in the region, warning regional countries about the perils of allowing Tel Aviv to establish a foothold in the region.
Tehran will hit the nearest targets if the ‘threatening plans’ are implemented, warned Iran’s Nour News, quoting an Iranian commander who said: ‘The country will give a decisive response to the nearest and most accessible targets threatening its security.
‘We believe that countries of the Persian Gulf region have the required capacity and capability to preserve the security of this sensible region,’ the Iranian commander added.
Pointing to the strong support of Iran for all oppressed nations across the world, especially for Palestinians, he dubbed the Zionist regime as the ‘number one enemy of Muslims’.
The regime was established based on oppression and aggression and has not spared any oppression to secure its existence, he said, noting that the regime will perish just as all sorts of oppression have the same destiny.
For his part, the Omani commander, Al Rahbi said that foreigners only consider their own interests by being present in the region.
The security of the region, he maintained, is provided by regional countries in the first place.
Many countries covet the great wealth of this region, he said, adding that increasing the level of ties in line with strengthening regional security and stability will limit foreigners’ intentions.
A senior Iranian official says Tehran will respond in kind to any measure against its national security.
Tehran has repeatedly made clear that its homegrown military capabilities remain defensive and deterrent in nature and are intended to keep foreign intruders from destabilising the region.
It has also urged Persian Gulf states to quit relying on foreign powers for their security and that regional security can only be achieved by neighbouring states.