‘WE WERE THE FIRST TO CALL FOR A UNITED, UNIFIED, SOVEREIGN LEBANON’ – says Hezbollah leader

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‘WE were the first to call for a united, unified, fully sovereign, independent, free, and lofty Lebanon where the state and the government represent all segments of the Lebanese people without any discrimination and we continue to call for this in the wake of the recent war.’

This is what Al-Hajj Husayn al-Khalil, the political assistant to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah last Friday told Al Arabiya TV.

He added: ‘We have always called for consolidating what we call as national unity in this country, which produced the results we witnessed during the war.’

Al-Khalil continued: ‘Hezbollah believes that Lebanon is an indivisible part of its Arab or Islamic environment and that Lebanon has been afflicted like many other countries by having borders with occupied Palestine.

‘Israel is accustomed to attacking Lebanon, as has been the case over the years and this enemy continues to pose a basic threat to this country, which we hope will always be free, sovereign, and independent.’

Al-Khalil adds that ‘this free and independent Lebanon must prepare itself to counter the Israeli threats and attacks.’

He continued: ‘This homeland is part of the region and has interests, meaning the interests of independent, free, and sovereign Lebanon. I also do not deny that Iran has interests in the Gulf and in the Arab region.

‘We want to reach agreement on common denominators between ourselves and Iran in the interest of the Lebanon and this has taken place in the past.

‘If we review the past history, can you tell me when Iran interfered in Lebanon’s domestic affairs? Where did Iran stand on the Al-Ta’if government and all the arrangements for the formation of this government? Did it support the enemies of Lebanon against Lebanon?

‘On the contrary, I say that the Islamic Republic of Iran, historically, has supported the Lebanese government, leadership, people, and resistance against all the Israeli aggression.

‘Iran mobilised all its resources in all crises and tribulations.

‘The same applies to several Arab countries, headed by Saudi Arabia that used to support Lebanon in some of its crises and used to express its support through a specific policy, a certain manner, or through grants and donations. This is something normal.

‘But the surprising thing is that several countries want to impose their hegemony on Lebanon.

‘Let us take the United States for example. There are some parties in our country that are proud of their relations with the United States, which supports Israel and finances this Israeli terrorism, this terrorist state with all the resources it has on the material, moral level and protects it politically within the international community to cover its aggression on Lebanon.

‘I deal with facts and figures on the ground. Let us review the history of US-Lebanese relations.

‘Has the United States supported Lebanon and its friends or has it been against Lebanon and supported its enemies?

‘The Lebanese must first reach agreement on who is the friend and who is the enemy, after which one can blame this or that party for befriending the United States or Iran.’

Al-Khalil then spoke about the weapons that Hezbollah had at its disposal.

‘I am ready to be held accountable for what I am going to say.

‘Have these weapons actually been used for the purpose of interference or used as an effective element to change the configuration of the Chamber of Deputies, for example?

‘Let us review the state institutions. We have the presidency, the Chamber of Deputies, the Lebanese Government, the judiciary, the security agencies and others.

‘These are the basic institutions. Tell me where these weapons were used for the purpose of interference?’

‘Hezbollah’s weapons were never used to influence this or that party or in the presidential or legislative elections.

‘These weapons have been a major card for all of Lebanon to consolidate its position in the face of Israel.

‘We have not monopolised weapons at all. But I would like to tell you that we might have been the more effective in carrying weapons.

‘It is also true that we were the stronger party to confront the occupation for many specific reasons.

‘I would like to tell you that two-thirds of our resistance or 99 per cent of our resistance depends on the sons of the southern villages who are mostly Shi’ites.’

Al-Khalil was asked ‘Does Hezbollah believe that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 means ‘disengaging Lebanon from the armed conflict in the Middle East.’

Al-Khalil replies: ‘l do not believe so for this is also the viewpoint of Israelis.

‘I told you from the beginning, we should only expect evil from Israel and Israel did not achieve its objectives during its war on Lebanon.

‘You now tell me that Resolution 1701 has ended the conflict. How will it end it while Israel continues to make threats day and night?

‘Will Resolution 1701 end the recurrent Israeli violations on land, at sea, or in the air? Will it stop the F-26’s the MK’s and the like, from flying in the Lebanese airspace or moving in Lebanese territorial waters?’

Al-Khalil adds: ‘Will Resolution 1701 force Israel to return the Shabaa Farms?’

Asked what Hezbollah will do if Israel continues to violate UN Security Council Resolution 1701, Al-Khalil says: ‘I believe that the task of the Lebanese army is a heavy responsibility. If Israel attacks, I am confident that this army will confront it and I am confident that the resistance will confront it.

‘If Israel thinks of carrying out another invasion, do you believe the resistance will wait for permission from this or that quarter or party to confront Israel?

‘If Israel decides to attack Lebanon am I going to wait for this or these forces to meet to make a decision while the Israelis cross all the seas, plains, mountains and reach Al-Biqa valley, and carry out a landing operation, kidnap people or assassinate others before the resistance can reply to it?

‘This is not normal or logical. You tell me that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 has ended the conflict, I tell you that it has not ended the conflict with the Israeli enemy.’

Khalil then discusses the role of the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon, saying that the first task of the army as outlined by the government is to defend Lebanon and ‘the resistance will be at the service of this army.

‘I will stand to the side of this army if the homeland is attacked. If the army, in military terms, has a gun I will be the bayonet of this gun.

‘If the Israelis want to commit an aggression on any inch of the soil of the homeland, I believe that their primary task will be to attack the Lebanese army and the Lebanese resistance will support it’.

Khalil commented on those who want the resistance to merge into the Lebanese army and not fight with it side by side.

Al-Khalil said: ‘Those who speak along this line do so because of dictates from abroad and if one compares the demands made by some Lebanese, one sees they are completely identical with the Israeli demands.’

Al-Khalil added: ‘If those who speak about this out of conviction, I am ready to discuss this with them.

But if this is a US and Israeli demand, then I am not ready to discuss this issue with them.

‘If these demands are made out of their belief that they will serve the interests of the country, then I tell them as I told them in the past that must study the defence strategy they have prepared.’