‘OLMERT WILL EITHER RESIGN OR BE TOPPLED’ says Hezbollah leader Nasrallah

Demonstrators in London on July 27 last year condemn Olmert and Bush for their crimes in Lebanon
Demonstrators in London on July 27 last year condemn Olmert and Bush for their crimes in Lebanon

HEZBOLLAH Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah said in an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV broadcast on 19 January: ‘We will accept a transitional government that would hold early elections.

‘We also accept a national unity government whose primary duty would be the endorsement of the international tribunal. Second, it should enact a new election law. The third duty would be holding early parliamentary elections. Fourth, it should conduct presidential elections.

Nasrallah said that the first thing that came to his mind when he learned about Halutz’s resignation was ‘the martyrs, the victims of the massacres, those who supported the resistance and the resistance men who, thanks to their steadfastness and bravery, made this legend’.

Nasrallah said: ‘There are some positive things’ about this ‘racist entity’. He notes that one of the ‘positive’ things about the Israelis is that they never abandon their prisoners or even the remains of their dead, adding that this is something that evokes respect.

He added that the Israeli army is the ‘pillar’ of the Israeli state. He says that the Israeli army is currently facing a problem of confidence. The commanders, he says, accuse their subordinates of lacking competence, while the latter accuse their superiors of lacking management and command skills.

On the next Israeli official he expects to resign after Dan Halutz, Nasrallah says: ‘It is natural and logical that Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz will be next to resign. Before the investigations committees commenced with their work, he started to prepare his party for assuming another ministerial portfolio.

‘He wanted to escape from the Defence Ministry to another ministry under the pretext that he is a civilian and prefers a non-military portfolio.

‘However, he and many others know what his performance was like during the war. He will be the second victim. I expect Peretz to resign next. On the other hand, Olmert will contend stubbornly, but at the end of the day he will either resign or be toppled.’

He added: ‘Of course, this will not be the end of the issue. One of the results of this war is that it brought down the largest political party in the Israeli entity: namely, the Kadima Party.

‘Now, you can see in all opinion polls that Olmert enjoys the confidence of less than 14 per cent of the Israeli people.

‘Second, only one-fifth of the Israeli voters support Kadima, which means that the party lost four-fifths of the votes it won during the last elections. Should elections be held now, Kadima will be a second-ranking party, or it may fall down. This is because the war has proven that the leadership of this party is a failure and it is not qualified to lead the Zionist entity.’

Asked if Halutz’s resignation will have an impact on the Lebanese arena, Nasrallah says that even if Peretz and Olmert resign and even if the entire world, including George Bush and Feltman, acknowledge Israel’s defeat, there will be some sides in Lebanon who will keep saying that Israel won the war.

Reflecting on the internal situation in Lebanon, he says there are some who are born leaders and who are never brought to account, no matter what they do, even if they commit crimes. He says ‘those people win applause’ even when they confess to their crimes.

He affirmed that Hezbollah is ready to be brought to account, especially with regard to the recent war.

Asked whether he still has other documents proving the involvement of the ‘other team’ in plotting against Hezbollah, he says that ‘this brings us back to the goals of the war’.

He said that the goal of the war was far more than ending the presence of Hezbollah. He quoted Condoleezza Rice at the start of the war as having said that this war marks the early signs of a new Middle East.

He said that the new Middle East, as envisioned by the US administration, is a group of small countries divided along sectarian, religious and ethnic lines.

Nasrallah cautioned the Arab countries not to rush to the rescue of Israel by acquiescing to the US demands. He asserted that the only way to rescue Israel and the US role in the region is to divide the region along sectarian, religious and ethnic lines and to create conflicts among these states.

Nasrallah stressed that a large-scale demographic change would have been created in Lebanon if Hezbollah and ‘the resistance as well as its allies and those who protected it’ had been defeated.

He said that Israel’s role through its recent war on Lebanon was to open the ‘Western gate’ as a prelude to implementing the new Middle East plan.

Regarding the progress of the July-August 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war, Nasrallah said: ‘There was internal collusion in terms of those who called for the war.

‘There was internal collusion in the continuation of the war.

‘The Israelis wanted to stop the war because of their inability, and not out of their ethics.

‘However, some parties inside Lebanon called for the continuation of the war. There was internal collusion during the war, as I said earlier, and there was internal collusion after the war; and I would accept the formation of an investigation committee to look into this matter.’

Nasrallah added: ‘On Sunday, 13 August, we were informed that the displaced people cannot return, and that we should not make efforts to return the displaced to their homes, because the cease-fire had not been announced.

‘We were also told that the displaced would return only when the cease-fire is announced, and that their lives would be in jeopardy. We were informed of this by official bodies in the Lebanese state.

‘Nevertheless, at 0800 on the morning of Monday (14 August), the displaced people surprised the official bodies, Israel, the United States, and everybody by returning without obtaining a permission from anybody, or without being asked to do so by anybody.

‘Meanwhile, we were blamed for bringing the displaced back. Even the Israeli side was surprised.’

Nasrallah continued: ‘No cease-fire has been announced thus far. Brother, the official Lebanese position was that the displaced people should not return before the announcement of the cease-fire.’

Nasrallah said that Israel dropped three million cluster bombs over Lebanon, not to mention the dozens of thousands of homes that were demolished or damaged in southern Lebanon and Al-Biqa al-Gharbi, as well as the damage caused in Beirut’s southern suburb.

When asked about the emergence of sectarian sentiments in Lebanon and the region, as manifested in declining support for Nasrallah in the Arab states, and whether Hezbollah’s involvement in domestic Lebanese politics negatively affected the ‘image of the resistance’ in the Arab and Muslim world, Nasrallah said: ‘If a mistake is made now in Iraq, Bahrain, or in Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Sayyid Hasan will be held accountable for that, and consequently gallows will be erected for us.

‘This is deliberate, and is indicative of a real targeting related to the war, and not related to the Lebanese domestic situation.’

Furthermore, Nasrallah said that since 1982, he, along with other Hezbollah leaders and figures, have never sought prestige or reputation, or even official posts. He said that Hezbollah takes pride in the trust and affection of the Arab masses.

Elaborating on this, Nasrallah says: ‘In no way should anybody entertain the notion that we within Hezbollah could abandon our duties or our cause to protect a reputation, a fame, or a personal standing.

‘We – my brothers and I – are willing to sacrifice our lives to uphold the cause for which we are engaging in jihad. How then could the situation be if what is required of us is just to lose face, to lose our reputation, or to lose our personal standing?’

He added that the US-Israeli plan aims to foment ‘sedition’ in the region, contending that the ‘respect’ that Hezbollah enjoys within the Arab and Muslim worlds will enable it to play ‘a central role’ in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and also in confronting ‘internal sedition’ among Muslims.