HEZBOLLAH leader Hassan Nasrallah addressed a mass rally in the Lebanese capital Beirut last Saturday to mark ‘Martyrs’ Day’ celebrations.
He spoke about the military exercises which were recently announced by Hezbollah.
He said that these exercises were a direct response to earlier Israeli army exercises carried out in ‘northern occupied Palestine’, the aim of which was to attack Lebanon.
He told the rally: ‘This doesn’t mean that there is a decision to attack Lebanon. But the enemy, with its aggressive nature, is preparing for a decision of this type or an eventuality of this type.’
Nasrallah then launched a scathing attack on the Lebanese government for not condemning the Israeli military exercises on Lebanon’s southern border and for not regaining the Shabaa Farms (which Israel seized and occupied in 1967).
He said: ‘We ask what have you, the Lebanese government, done to regain the Shab’aa Farms and what international contacts have you utilised to regain the them.
‘They have not even been able to convince the Zionist enemy to place the Shabaa Farms under international control.’
Nasrallah then sought to undermine the government’s rhetoric on national sovereignty and embarrass it over its links with the West, he said:
‘If we move on to the issue of Israeli aggression, is there no one in the Lebanese government who holds any influence who can stop the Israeli aggressions on Lebanon, if only to gain credibility for the government side, or to show that the political and diplomatic track can achieve anything?
‘And they claim to be the defenders of national sovereignty!’
He added that the (pro-government) 14 March Forces were ‘delighted by the Israeli military exercises’.
And the Hezbollah leader went on to accuse his political opponents in Lebanon, (the pro-government 14 March Forces), of being in collusion with Israel. He said: ‘The Israeli exercises in the north mean nothing to these people.
‘They do not consider Israel to be an enemy. For he who declares openly that he is part of the US project in the region, it therefore follows naturally that he does not consider Israel to be an enemy.
‘If we wanted to be more cynical, I will say that some on the March 14th side, and I say some and not all, were delighted by the Israeli military exercise in northern occupied Palestine.
‘We hear from here and there that some from this side are banking on a new Israeli war against the resistance and the opposition.’
Nasrallah then went on to clarify the aim of the Hezbollah military exercises.
He said: ‘We say this to the enemy: This is the real message of the exercises. The resistance in Lebanon possesses the will and the determination, the resistance in Lebanon has the brave men, the resistance in Lebanon possesses weapons and enough of them God willing, the resistance in Lebanon possesses the necessary knowledge and scientific plan for the defence God willing, the resistance in Lebanon possesses the command and control ability, the resistance in Lebanon is ready day and night and at every location to defend the south of Lebanon and all of Lebanon, and not just to defend it but is waiting to create the historic victory which will change the face of the region.’
The Hezbollah leader then went on discuss widely circulating reports in Lebanon of Palestinian refugee camps Burj al-Barajinah, Sabra and Shatilla being used as a staging ground to destabilise Lebanon.
He said: ‘In all probability these reports are not true. We bank on the good relations between Beirut and the Southern District and the refugee camps.
‘In reality, the Palestinians know that there are people in the world who like them, but they will never find a people who like them as much as we do.’
He also said: ‘We bank on good relations with the Palestinians factions in the refugee camps whether they are in the PLO or in the Coalition.
‘We must cooperate so as not to allow the Israelis or the agents of the Israelis in Lebanon to misuse or direct events in the wrong way, despite there not being real grounds for this.’
And he concluded: ‘For those who talk about embroiling Hezbollah and even Amal in a new war of the camps, I say unequivocally: There will be no war of the camps here at all.’
Nasrallah then moved on to the issue of the presidential election in Lebanon. He said: ‘The manner and spirit in which the next president of Lebanon will be elected, and the person of the president, in other words the name and character of the president will point to the general political direction of Lebanon.’
And he highlighted the need for the future president to insist on a ‘government of partnership’, to stamp his identity on government fiscal and foreign policies, and to appoint an army chief who believes in a consensus government.
He said: ‘Imagine if that side, the 14 March Forces appoints an army chief who thinks the way it does, who has the same mentality and feelings, I don’t know what will happen to the army and the country.
‘That side has been dreaming of using the army against oppositionists and the resistance.
‘Until today, what has stopped this is the command of the army, the mentality of the army, its composition and its national creed!’
He went on: ‘Therefore there cannot be any leniency when it comes to the presidential election’.
Nasrallah added: ‘If we cannot reach a consensus, and a president is elected on 50+1 formula, the opposition will not recognise this president and will consider him a usurper of power.’
The Hezbollah leader then attacked the US role in the election of the new Lebanese president.
‘The Americans are interested in the Lebanese president only if he implements Resolution 1559.
‘That’s all. Have you ever seen the Americans saying that they want a Lebanese president who wants to tackle the economic situation in Lebanon?’
Nasrallah then went on to condemn Resolution 1559 (demanding that Hezbollah disbands and lays down its weapons). He was adamant that Hezbollah’s arms will not be surrendered.
‘The Israelis themselves said that there is no army in the world that can disarm Hezbollah, and I say to them there is no one in the world that can disarm Hezbollah.’
Leading Beirut TV station Al-Manar Television interrupted its regularly scheduled programming to carry live coverage of the Hezbollah ‘Martyrs Day’ celebrations.