At 8:30 pm last night, a huge gathering attended to celebrate the 9th Anniversary of the Liberation and Resistance held by Hizbullah at al-Rayeh Playfield, in the southern Dahiyeh suburb.
The celebration was attended by the President of the Republic General Michel Suleiman, represented by Minister Fawzi Salloukh, House Speaker Nabih Berri represented by MP Ali Hassan Khalil, General Michel Aoun represented by Minister Mario Aoun, and a number of MPs, ministers, religious dignitaries and a crowd of supporters.
The celebration began with a word by the Master of Ceremonies, a recitation from the Holy Quran read by Hijazi Hijazi, followed by the national and Hizbullah anthems, then a video presentation of captured moments of the announcement of the defeat of the "Israeli" enemy from South Lebanon on the 25th of May, 2000, as well as Al-Wilayah group chants inspired by the occasion.
After that, the Secretary General of Hizbullah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech; the following is the text to that speech:
I seek refuge in God from Satan, the accursed. In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate; praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds; may the peace and blessings of God be upon our Lord and Prophet, the seal of the prophets Abu el-Kassem Muhammad Bin Abdullah and his good and chaste family members, righteous companions, and all the Apostles and messengers.
Dear honorable religious authorities, brothers and sisters... peace and God's mercy and blessings upon you all.
To begin with, I congratulate all the Lebanese, all the resistance fighters, the Arab and Islamic worlds on the Resistance and Liberation Day, the anniversary of Lebanon's victory against its enemies, a Day offered to us by the martyrs and their families, the wounded and the detainees, the resistance fighters, our enduring and resolute people who bore the burdens of the fight, the constant displacement and oppression in their seeking of God's recognition...they offered this victory to the homeland-in its entirety and to the nation-in its entirety.
We always want this to be a national celebration par excellence, and hope it is taken as such, our observing the annual revival of this momentous occasion, is only to assert all its meanings, to emphasize the spirit of death defiance and heroism, the resistance and the values that made this victory.
We hope the day comes, when the Lebanese people feel more than ever that this occasion is theirs, deal with it as such and celebrate it.
On a day like today Lebanon triumphed, this small Arab state was victorious against the strongest army in the region and against one of the most powerful armies of the world. By its resolve, its people and the blood of its youths, the tears of its orphans, the patience of the people and its Mujahideen, Lebanon triumphed and managed to defeat the occupation, which had occupied the capital Beirut and nearly half of the country.
The resistance, the resistance of the people of Beirut, the Dahiyeh, the mountain, the Bekaa, the south and north, the resistance of all the heroes in Lebanon, the occupation was gradually driven out Beirut, Dahiyeh, Mount Lebanon, western Bekaa, Rashayya, Saida, Tyre and the Nabatiyeh.
On days like these, our citizens advanced onto Bint Jbeil, Hasbayya, Shibaa, Kafr Shouba, Naqourah, Alma Shaab, and all the frontline villages to return them to the homeland.
That is why this is a day of great honor.
This victory had significant, serious and historical implications on the enemy entity, on the entire Arab-"Israeli" conflict and the Palestinian issue-one of the fundamental causes- as it established for the blessed al-Aqsa Intifada in Palestine, which brought about the great changes and developments that it did.
Brothers and sisters,
As I promised you in the speech I made at the Nabatiyeh a few days ago, again today and on this glorious occasion I would like to address:
- The nation as well as our dear citizens here, the people of Mount Lebanon with all its confessions
- (As I had promised) the nature and truth behind the existing alliance between us and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).
- Beirut (for the last time) and the events of a year ago, so as not to leave ambiguity or misrepresentation.
- The newsweekly Der Spiegel and the new plot.
- The Dahiyeh, its residents and resistance as well as the elections.
But to begin with, I will comment on issues with a high sense of responsibility. During the course of tonight's talk, as a review of events and a foundation for the next stage, I am compelled to mention names of leaders and parties. I hope the revered audience would help serve the goal of this speech and not issue any injurious taunts when I mention names or parties towards whom you have some emotional reservations.
At the outset, and as an entry to addressing these matters and titles, I must recall and stress that since the founding of Hizbullah in 1982, we have devoted our youth and lives to one single, clear and just cause, the cause of the resistance, the liberation of the land, the detainees, the defense of the homeland and the restoration of dignities.
This is why we kept a distance from domestic and internal issues and conflicts and the internal Lebanese political game. We did not join the internal Lebanese political equation until year 2000.
Many urged us for more domestic involvement, in such areas as fighting corruption, changing the internal situation, the development or reform of the system, and to assist through government in the development of disadvantaged areas.
Even after 2000 we did not have a strong internal involvement in the domestic equation as we strongly believed that "Israel" was preparing for a war, and that "Israel", after being defeated on the 25th of May, would not tolerate Lebanon, the Lebanese resistance or the results of that major historical defeat.
That is why we spent the rest of the time preparing and readying ourselves for the "Israeli" war which we believed was undoubtedly coming, but did not know when and asked God Almighty to postpone its timing so we can be properly prepared.
The incidents that took place in Lebanon in 2005, when the entire country was on the verge of eruption, significant and serious developments took place after the assassination of the martyr PM Rafik Hariri, the people and the resistance were in jeopardy.
Nevertheless, we engaged the domestic equation, not for the sake of power or position but for the sake of preserving our country and its resources, on top of which is the resistance. Since 1982 we were keen on establishing good relations with all sides and staying away from any conflict with anyone.
As for Mount Lebanon, Beirut and Dahiyeh, I would like to underline that since the establishment of Hizbullah, we have had good relations with our Druze brothers, not only in Mount Lebanon, but across Lebanon, in Beirut, Hasbayya, Rashayya ... in all areas, with all their political leaders, parties, and religious authorities.
We established relations of social cordiality by the condition of proximity and presence in the same living areas.
We never sensed a problem between Shiaas and Druze in general and between Hizbullah and the Druze in particular. What helped in this positive atmosphere was what I mentioned in the introduction, that we were not in conflict with anyone or in competition with anyone, not for a seat in Cabinet or Parliament, nor for certain gains or control of any particular internal portfolio.
We shared good relationships with everyone, the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) at their forefront, the good relationship terms prevailed even after the Lebanese were divided in year 2005 into two sides, 'March 8' and 'March14'.
In the review I will touch on certain aspects of this relationship, out of commitment to the pledge both parties are abiding by and also out of respect, because the other party (PSP) has not entered into a public review either and has observed ensuring atmospheres of dialogue and calm.
But I would like to point that the problem began after certain speeches that assailed the resistance and its arms. Since then the relationship deteriorated until it reached its most serious stages in the May events between 7 and 11 in 2008.
Here the dear brother Prince Talal Arslan, played a pivotal role to contain the escalated situation, all the concerned parties cooperated with him, and hence, the convergence to the Doha Dialogue Conference.
We have to acknowledge that MP Jumblatt had a clear position to go for calming the situation down and played a positive role during the Doha dialogue conference.
Meetings took place between us and the PSP at the home of Prince Talal where several varied successive meetings helped in calming the situation, and in the treatment in any arising problems or issues. The state's institutions such as the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces also played a role in creating calm while each party kept its political inclination.
Today I would like to emphasise our interest in communication, dialogue and convergence, after June 7 elections, whatever the outcome. We cannot build a nation on the basis of conflict, isolation and disconnectedness.
On behalf of Hizbullah and the Amal Movement, I assure our Druze brothers that we adhere to coexistence in Dahiyeh, Mount Lebanon, Rashayya, Bekaa, Hasbayya, Marjayoun, Beirut and every other region as one people away from enmity, estrangement and hatred. We are ready for open dialogue, any act of convergence aimed at creating openness, and conciliation, to clear the atmospheres, to remove doubts and ambiguities from both sides and both parties.
I would like to warn the Druze against those who seek to project Hizbullah and the Shiaas as your enemies and I warn the Shiaas against those who seek to project the Druze, particularly the PSP, as their enemies.
We are not enemies. The "Israelis" and the Zionist project are the enemies who want this to happen between us, to sabotage Lebanon, and to create a state of hostility between the Lebanese families, confessions and forces; should disagreement, fighting, misunderstanding, ambiguity or conflict occur somewhere, those will set their intention on inflaming any such conflicts, instead of treating the issue and uprooting the problem.
This is the first matter.
I hope it is plain, clear, ingrained and reflects the will of all of us.
The second issue- The Alliance with the FPM
I need to go into some detail on this issue, whether in the 2005 or 2009 elections, our alliance and firm and unequivocal backing, in more than one district, votes in favor of the tickets of 'the Change and Reform' parliamentary bloc.
What I am about to say is very important as we enter the threshold of a sensitive phase.
As I said in the introduction about having ties with all Lebanese sides, which extends to the Christian situation, the FPM in particular, with whom we were never psychologically far apart, before 2005, in the nineties and after the year 2000.
We were in constant contact and debate via the leaderships and cadres of both Hizbullah and the FPM. We kept in touch, even during the FPM's hardest times in Lebanon, when it was at odds with the Lebanese authority and the Syrians, although I cannot claim we had reached the level of an organized relation or understanding, or even a beginning of an alliance.
Perhaps the first contact, which had a good political and emotional impact, was in an interview al-Manar television conducted with General Michel Aoun before his return to Lebanon.
This interview and what was said in it positively impacted the support bases of both parties. Yet even after Aoun returned, we did not establish an understanding or an alliance, which is normal because we were in two opposite political camps. We were in the March 8 alliance and Aoun was in the March 14 alliance; in fact he was the foundation of the March 14 alliance; why the loyalists exclusively took the name 'March 14' to themselves is an internal matter between them and the FPM and we do not interfere with it.
Although we had political differences, mutual respect was preserved and we have had an encouraging experience during municipal elections in Haret Hraik.
We then formed the Quartet Alliance.
In the quartet alliance, the Hizbullah-Amal alliance is natural and we talked about that in Nabatiyeh. To have had the PSP in the alliance was also natural due to the long, broad well established relationship between us.
The alliance also included the Future Movement, because we had been having regular dialogue meetings with the martyr PM Rafik Hariri a few months prior to the election date. During those meetings we were able to reach political and electoral understandings that needed a few final touches...the course both parties were moving in was naturally leading to an electoral alliance.
After the martyrdom of PM Hariri, we continued with (MP) Saad Hariri what had been begun...this lead to the quartet alliance.
But the dispute we encountered was over the Christian ally or Christian partner.
Back in those days, we did not have any problem to have the FPM and Aoun as the Christian ally or partner. In fact, it was the best option for us psychologically, emotionally and politically. It sat well for us all at the time when the other alliances were a source of great disconcertion for us. Our partners in the quartet alliance were well aware of that. It was no secret.
But the other party in the quartet alliance refused the FPM and Aoun as the Christian ally, as problems did occur between them and the FPM and General Aoun since General Aoun's return to Lebanon. Political differences surfaced between them before there was any contact between us and General Aoun... (This will soon reveal the importance of the current outcome we have arrived at, I will get to this shortly) we were not part of that dispute or clash.
Yes we were truly interested in the success of this coalition, because one of the main goals of this alliance was to calm the situation in Lebanon and to prevent any internal dissension, particularly between Shiaas and Sunnis (I will return to this point throughout the talk).
We saw what happened in the 2005 elections, when all the lists of candidates that competed against the Future movement were accused as "murderers", "allied with the assassins" and "vote for them and you are voting for the killers."
Such rhetoric can be stomached in an electoral competition of Christian and Sunni district, but had such language been used in 2005 in a competition of tickets from Future movement versus Hizbullah and Amal movement, the elections and the entire country may have taken a disastrous turn.
Therefore, one of the most important objectives of the quartet alliance was to preserve the country against any sedition and this goal was in fact accomplished at the time.
But they did not want General Aoun in this alliance, and therefore we differed over which Christian partner to have in the alliance, consequently a five, six or seven-party alliance did not eventuate-it remained quad-partite.
Concerned for this four-party alliance which aims to prevent sedition and protect the resistance, since there was no other way. It was also necessary that it be committed to-because we were compelled to the elections in Beirut, Baabda-Aley and the Western Bekaa districts; they also attempted to commit us to the remaining districts, but we did not.
That is why in 2005 it was known who our support base voted for in Zahleh, in the northern Matn, in Jbail, in the north and Kesr'wan, in Zogharta, Batroun and Koura...they voted for the FPM, the Marada movement, and for our allies and friends in the Islamic and national forces.
Here I like to emphasize that the existing dispute and conflict between the rest of the components of March 14, particularly between the Christians in March 14 and General Aoun and the FPM precedes any subsequent communication, understanding or alliance the FPM and Hizbullah came to have... and today this is the central subject of their constant attack. They could not find anything else to attack.
After the elections, out of concern for our relationship in the quad-party alliance and presence in the government that later formed, we took the initiative to make contact with the FPM, we searched for doors to dialogue because the election results proved, that General Aoun and the FPM with their allies represented the large majority of the Christian population, and if we were looking for a Christian partner who represents this majority, we must begin this dialogue and establish this relationship.
Months of extended discussions culminated in the signing of the 'Memorandum of Understanding' that took place in the St. Michael Church on February 6, 2006.
This understanding was made public, transparent and clear, it was read out in a news conference verbatim, all above board with nothing under the table. Both I and General Aoun agreed that this understanding was a basis for other understandings to be built up on. It is not against anyone nor did it target anyone, but aimed at complementarity.
The contents of this understanding was adopted to a large degree by the national dialogue table and in the inaugural speech delivered by the His Excellency President Michel Suleiman.
And so we entered an experience of cooperation between Hizbullah and the FPM. Over the years this experience has resulted in an enhanced reciprocal confidence and respect between the two parties. And I hereby offer my testimony, based on our shared experience... you know I am frank and honest when speaking about what is just, I am not afraid to say it.
In any case, tonight's talk is not about electoral objectives, so what I say may prove useful or detrimental to either party election wise ...I do not know if it will benefit Aoun or do him harm.
But that which is just and right must be said.
The following is our experience with General Aoun and the FPM and the conclusions we drew from that experience...
...Our experience with General Aoun & the FPM and conclusions thereof...
To our support bases who will be voting for the opposition's tickets in all the districts on May 7, I say do not view or approach these elections based on our experience of the quartet alliance, this here is not a circumstantial or transient alliance, this is a responsible, political and national alliance that endured the most difficult of circumstances in the face of the fiercest challenges. This is an alliance that can be built upon and a basis for true national partnership.
Our experience of General Michel and his FPM movement says the following:
He is a leader with a clear, complete vision. He has a project and a platform; he is an independent person in the full meaning of the word, embassies cannot have influence over this man, nor can anyone dictate anything to him that is against his convictions and vision-believe me when I say this I have come to know him over the last few years-he too is stubborn in this field. This man is transparent and honest in a relationship, he does not reveal one thing towards you and conceal another-he has nothing under the table- this man likes to be respected and respects others.
The [Hizbullah] party's experience with him and my personal and is that he is loyal to Lebanon as a homeland, a unified country of one people, at the same time he is one of the most faithful to the Christians in Lebanon, to their dignity, role and future.
The most important quality in this man from the standpoint of our assessment of men, is that he is true to his word, we witnessed this when he kept his word through the stand he made during the July war, keeping in mind that the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) was still newly born when the whole world began to target us, the G8 states, the 7 states, the Security Council, regional states, the United States, France and the West.
Here, for example, to give you an idea of how surprising General Aoun's stance is in some quarters, when describing General Aoun's stand behind the resistance in July war, one person, whose name I won't need to mention, says: "Wait a few more days, when Hizbullah is defeated and 'Israel' wins, General Aoun will become crazy, you can then go look for him in one of Paris' psychiatric wards."
Experience has shown that the person who made this statement is the one crackbrained person in this country (...).
The level of faithfulness reveals itself through the political position taken during the July war, when he placed himself, his movement, his political future and all those he commands in a position that springs from the devotion, vision, clarity, transparency and honesty I talked about a little while ago...this is our experience.
To show you Hizbullah I will tell you this, 'none can take anything by force from Hizbullah, by shouting or making threats', because we do not fear death, threats or intimidation.
Through faithfulness, you can take everything from us, we are faithful to the faithful, and this faithfulness today is the basis of the existing electoral alliance.
The campaign being waged by the other party, especially the March 14 Christians against General Aoun and the FPM in these elections springs from the point of his alliance and understanding with Hizbullah. They start blaming him by saying: "your problem now is that you are allied with Hizbullah", whereas in 2005 it was you who were in alliance and understanding with him. Your blaming is a lie, you deceive the Christian street, even ignore it, because this talk was only 4 years ago, not a hundred.
Then they started their false fabrications: they accused him of advocating tri-partite governance, and that's a lie- of course when I say they accused him I mean they accused us and the rest of the opposition along with him, they fabricated the tri-partite lie and accused us all of it...but their main target was General Aoun.
They accused him of working to shorten the President's mandate; they accused him of their interpretation of the 'Third Republic'. The strangest thing I heard yesterday from one of the candidates in the Matn district is that the interpretation of the "Third Republic is the Islamic state pertained to Hizbullah!"... We do not need to comment on that.
The also say that if the opposition wins, Sayyed Hassan will rule and not "General Aoun" and they know very well that no matter who wins the elections, none can govern alone be it a confession, party, movement or leader; all this is to influence the Christian voter.
Because they cannot find anything against General Aoun and the FPM they spread all these lies, because they cannot say General Aoun and his movement have no project and program. They cannot say he does not have a vision... that he is not for independence and sovereignty. They cannot say he is pro-militias, obviously they can not accuse him of corruption, or someone who was parachuted into his leadership position... they cannot delete his history, they cannot say he is for partitioning or federalism in Lebanon.
So when they do not find anything against him and the FPM they start attacking him with all the lies they fabricate.
At the end of this point, it suffices to say in all honesty and courage that the existence of such a leader and such a movement is a real national guarantee for the one united Lebanon, and for the establishment of a capable, strong, fair and responsible state.
Regarding Beirut, the city where all Lebanese sects live and where religious and political diversity is found, it is a sum condensation of the religious and political diversity of Lebanon and we are a part of the residents of Beirut.
On another point, Hizbullah in particular and I do not need to make introductions about the extent of our faith, culture, adherence and commitment to cooperation and unity among Muslims, particularly between Shiaas and Sunnis. This is a matter of faith. This matter is neither tactical nor circumstantial.
We have never had problems with you (Beirutis) and you have not had any problem with us since 1982; you know this. In the wake of political divisions, especially after the 2006 war when we demanded a unity government and considered the government back then as one that cannot protect, build and preserve the country.
Following the major repercussions of the June war, a new division occurred and we became loyalty and opposition blocs. Naturally there were demonstrations, a sit-in and political speeches.
Today, I call upon you (audience), the residents of Beirut, the Lebanese people, and both the Arab and Islamic worlds, as well as all those who know Arabic and read it translated, I call on you all as witnesses: Since Hizbullah's establishment in 1982 until today, have you ever heard or read a speech or a text by me or by any of my brothers, based on religious discrimination, sectarian or instigative nature?
When we have political disputes we speak in politics but unlike others, we have never made a sectarian speech as they have in recent years, which they still practice until now.
When we differed with the Future Movement, we never used Shiaa- Sunnis rhetoric or attacked the Sunnis, even after the discord between us and the Future Movement, whereas we still find newspapers and magazines assailing Shiaas.
But your problem is not with the Shiaas but with me as Hizbullah. Hence, direct the speech to Hizbullah as I would Future Movement, speak of me as a person, as I do such and such political leader....As far as we are concerned, we never resorted to any discriminatory speech sectarian or religious because we consider it forbidden and is tantamount to treason.
As political things developed, and in fact before 5 and 7 May, the opposition began to sense that nothing was bringing results: demonstrations, crying out and the sit-in... but in all honesty, we were no longer able to end the sit-in, continue as political and media opposition, and stay in the sit-in until the elections. At election time we go to vote, because nothing yielded results: demanding for a national unity government, to call for dialogue or the demand for early elections.
However, there was a scheme in the making; one that was planned to target the resistance. The elements of this project were completed before May 5 2008. In the speech I made on the graduation ceremony, on Friday afternoon, when many of the Lebanese, particularly the Beirutis did not hear it. That speech was edited out and the term 'glorious day' I used to describe the May 7 events.
But why that term, in which context was it told in the story?
Much was told and said in a large scale media attack of provocations and condemnations. 10 days after that speech, the questions remained unanswered-the information I had revealed was not objected to or denied.
Tonight I hope the Beirutis and the Lebanese people give me a quarter of an hour of their time to hear my side and then they can judge.
A project was being prepared; Militias were being formed and camouflaged by security firms. Fighters were sent to a number of Arab countries to receive training. (We do not want to provide names so as to avoid conflicts) Offices were opened for security firms in different areas, particularly in Beirut city.
Did Beirut need such armed bellicose offices?
Here lies the question.
If you say that your project is about building the state, what is your need for armed militias under titles of 'Security Firms'?
If you cite the state and its institutions, the army and security forces are who protect the citizens, what do you need these militias and arms-including RPGs- and the mobilization and training of 1000's and arming them for?
This is a question I wish our people in Beirut would ask the leadership of the Future Movement and the 'March 14' bloc.
Of course none denied this fact.
Let them come out to say they did not set up security firms, and that they did not arm or mobilize in fighters in Arab countries.
Thousands of armed fighters were brought in to Beirut city, when there was nothing going on in Beirut at that time. As for the sit-in, it ended up being a sit-in in a parking lot with only a few youths guarding the tents.
What was threatening Beirut to bring thousands of fighters there?
Were there anything threatening Beirut and its citizens at the time? The government?
Not at all, the moves and motives of the opposition were clearly evident. So why were fighters brought in, when the situation was obviously set on waiting out the remaining time until the parliamentary elections on the 7th of June? Why were the thousands of fighters brought in to Beirut from the north, the Bekaa and from other areas?
Can you deny that you brought in thousands of fighters?
Ten days of your incessant attacks against me, but not once did you deny the facts I had presented!
You have been retorting to my speech for ten day but you never denied bringing in thousands of fighter to Beirut. Why?
Thirdly: PM Fouad Saniora government
When PM Saniora government convened and discussed Hizbullah's telecommunication network, which by the way, together with the item regarding the head of the airport security apparatus, was not on the cabinet's schedule why was it discussed unscheduled?
Why the rush?
Couldn't this matter wait its normal schedule even if took one, two, three or four months more?
You, the citizens of Beirut... have you asked PM Fouad Saniora this question?
Something worth mentioning: Just before the cabinet's decision, a panel was formed of senior officers included Internal Security Chief General Ashraf Rifi and Major General George Khouri as well as a third officer whose name I forgot. (These officers can deny my statements if not true). I think the panel was made up of three officers.
These kind gentlemen contacted us when talk in the country began regarding the telecommunication network.
We discussed the network and we reached an agreement on all pending issues.
They said: "brothers are you in the process of expanding the network to the areas of Matn, Jbail and Kesr'wan, as that might cause fears?" (As that would mean the network objectives were internal in nature.)
We said no, we do not intend to do such thing.
They asked: "Is that for sure?"
We replied: "Yes, certainly."
What does the network have to do with the areas of Jbail, Kesr'wan, and Tripoli etc...?
They said: "You are laying a telephone line from al-Dahiyeh to the south, do you intend to lay lines to Ba'abda, Aley and Shouf (this is what concerns Walid Jumblatt.)
They said: "You are laying a line from al-Dahiyeh to the south, do you intend to lay them to Ba'abda, Aley and Shouf (this is what concerns Walid Jumblatt.)
We said to them we are committed that this network will not expand beyond the boundaries of the Dahiyeh; it will not go to the Shouf, Aley or Ba'abda. At the most we want a coastal passage for the communication lines to reach the south nothing more. Some expressed sensitivity towards a cable connected between Dahiyeh and Beirut, particularly since this cable passes in front of the French Embassy, our response was: 'fine just cut it'.
We asked in return (Now I will reveal a secret only because I am impelled to) 'will you give us a pledge, to allow us the reconnection of that cable should a new "Israeli" aggression be launched on Lebanon, God forbid?
Their reply was "yes we promise you that"
We said "Great"
...And that was that.
This topic was relayed to PM Saniora and it was reported back to us that everything was acceptable.
You remember back then, the government had formed a panel comprised of the Internal Affairs Minister and the Defense Minister, the panel delegated to the officers the task of severing the cable as agreed.
As far as we knew, that issue was resolved and settled right there.
Here I pose the question: Who was behind raising the issue again during the cabinet meeting, some 10 days or 2 weeks later? Who pressured them on May 5 and from outside the schedule to bring the issue back?
The other question: I would like Beirut citizens to ask PM Saniora and the Ministers most interested in dismantling Hizbullah's telecommunications network, isn't Beirut and its people with the resistance?
In whose interest is the network to be dismantled, and everyone involved in it to be considered an outlaw who is plundering public funds and exceeding national sovereignty who should be tried, jailed and punished?
Is that in the interest of the Lebanese government and Lebanon?
For your information, this network has been operating since before the year 2000; every past government knew about it. It is not new and certainly was not built after 2005.
Discussing the issues in the Cabinet consumed long hours and resulted in disputes among ministers, who had said back then that such an option could ruin the country; others insisted on taking the decision and threatened to resign if it were not adopted.
If what I say here were not true, let these Ministers come out and tell the Lebanese and Beirutis that what I am saying is a lie.
Some of them were wise and advised other ministers that such a decision would result in war and sedition, and may cause a sectarian sedition.
All of the above was said, but they did not listen.
Inside the Cabinet it was said not all the ministers who were at the meeting are involved in this decision.
You (PM Saniora Cabinet) made outside calls to endorse your decision.
You then made the decision in a dark moonless night and announced it at dawn, and certainly wagered on it.
At this point, I will accept whatever the Beirutis say about May 7, but I also call on Beirutis to ask the Future Movement, Saniora and the Ministers of his government:
- Why did you make such a decision in such a manner?
- What are its grounds and reasons?
- In whose interest did you adopt these decisions while knowing its consequences?
No one has yet answered any of what I said on Friday. (I had asked the brothers in Hizbullah not to comment for 10 days after the speech, I didn't want anyone defending me even if I was insulted). Some brothers such as former PM Omar Karami said that my talk was a response to Future Movement's employed rhetoric. Former Minister Suleiman Franjieh felt the urge to explain my speech during a television interview, because the public had not heard it in its completeness and I thank him for his explanation. Many other brothers did the same. But I asked everyone in Hizbullah not to respond, I also asked of them to observe if there were any other comments about anything else from that speech other than the "Glorious Day" story.
None came. Nor did they deny the other information provided in that speech.
I had said as I continue to, that a war plan had been put in place for Beirut, based on which thousands of fighters were deployed in apartments, centers and neighbourhoods.
I say once again that there was a scheme of war in Beirut and the fighters were deployed to serve that purpose. According to that scheme the fighters knew where to fight, where to cut off roads and where to infiltrate. Beirut was to be transformed into a war zone of barricades and street fighting that would last weeks.
So they surprised us with the May 5 decision, and in all frankness I say to you that we went for civil disobedience to protest, but not to fight or war, to topple May 5 decisions.
In civil disobedience, we blocked roads, the airport, port and the Capital were interrupted, but we did not go to fight.
This time though we made the decision, and contrary to prior incidents when we kept silent when fired upon in demonstrations, that this time if fired at we shall not keep silent, because this would have constituted the introduction of the pre-planned war, therefore we had to act with limited proportion but swiftly and decisively.
This is what happened on May 7.
I have said that the May 7 events prevented sedition and war between Sunnis and Shiaas, which would have expanded to beyond Beirut that was preplanned... And we all know that if issues erupt between Beirut citizens and continued for several weeks, will that issue remain limited to Beirut, of course no, but sedition will have expanded to reach all the cities of Lebanon, and to all Lebanese confessions and sects... the entire country would have gone with the wind.
When I said that May 7 prevented sedition and fighting, it prevented Beirut becoming a war zone and a burnt ground, it prevented fighting between the brothers, it prevented striking the resistance and stopped sedition between the Army and the resistance.
Although this was not the goal, nevertheless May 7 events resulted in a breakthrough of the political impasse that prevailed in Lebanon at the time, soon all parties attended the Doha dialogue. Furthermore, based on the threats we had surpassed and the targets achieved, I named it a "Glorious Day."
Nonetheless, I also accept that May 7 was a painful and sad day. I also accept the remark made by former PM Salim Hoss, which I consider a fatherly comment. I also accept the remark issued by all our brothers in the leaderships, revered scholars, in particular among the Sunnis of the opposition.
Yes it was a sad day because victims fell in Beirut, the mountain, the Dahiyeh, Halba and in Tripoli. It was a sad day, because material losses were incurred here and there... because it created hard feelings among the Lebanese...because the resistance that brought freedom, pride and glory to all of Lebanon, all the Lebanese, and to the Capital of Lebanon was in danger and was abandoned alone to defend for its existence, honor and arms on the 7th of May.
It was a sad and painful day indeed, but I want to say to you whatever the results, dangers sadness and pains incurred in what happened on May 7, it remains an extremely low cost in comparison to the costs of the seditious objective of the project aimed to Beirut and Lebanon, through the ominous May 5 decisions.
May 7 cut off the path to sedition and to what is more dangerous than a clash here and there.
This is an option that is more revered, grander and more dignified.
Brothers and sisters,
I want to reassert to our citizens of Beirut, and the Sunnis of the loyalists (not the Sunnis of Lebanon who exist in both loyalist and opposition camps, because the divisions within Lebanon have become thus: Druze opposition and loyalists, Sunni opposition and loyalists, etc...) and through them address all of the Lebanese, I say to all on this Liberation and Victory Day: 'when we fought in south Lebanon, we did not have a religious or a sectarian background. Our eyes were not set on Bint Jbail and ignoring Shibaa, or Hasbayya ignoring Jezzine. We had our eye set on every village and town in southern Lebanon, and wanted all the Lebanese people to be free and dignified. We wanted all who were entangled in collaboration with "Israel" on the border strip, to come back to their homeland.'
For the sake of Lebanon's honor and glory, for the dignity of its people we offered our blood and I go to say the blood of our dearest youths, leaders and respectable scholars and therefore, I tell the Sunnis, Shiaas, Druze and Christians of Lebanon: Your blood is our blood, your flesh is our flesh, and your fate is our fate. We cannot but be as such.
Turning to the passage in Der Spiegel, I want you to know that the scheme still exists. A few days ago at the opening of a Permanent conference of the Resistance, I said that the last weapon in the U.S. - Zionist bag against resistance movements in the Arab and Islamic region, is to create an Arab - Iranian and Sunni-Shiaa conflict. They have nothing else and this is the last battle.
What happened in Lebanon before and after the July War, the last battle some planned for Hizbullah, is the unjustly accusing Hizbullah of the assassination of martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
This is the last battle.
This scheme still exits and you have all seen it in Der Spiegel, and there is no need to re-read it. We have interpreted it, and what happened in all clarity and transparency, is very, very, very serious.
It's not a news report or a news article we comment on.
I agree to the statement issued by Hizbullah hours on the publication of the Der Spiegel article; this is not the first time the press issues accusations or fabricates material of this kind.
A few months ago, the Kuwaiti newspaper "al-Siyasah", known for what it represents (Today's Kuwaiti "Siyasah" newspaper is the equivalent to the once known "the voice of justice in Lebanon" newspaper which some of today's young people may not recall) wrote articles in which it accused the four officers, while continuing its focus on Hizbullah, talked about phones, phone lines and about dozens of witnesses to its alleged 'facts'; God forbid, brothers. When only three witnesses (false witnesses used to place high four officers in detainment) nearly ruined the world, what will it be like with these dozens of witnesses now, all according to the claims made the Kuwaiti Siyasah newspaper.
Back then we did not issue a statement nor did we care about it because the Kuwaiti Siyasah newspaper is known for lies and fabrications. Yet we did not see that anyone in the world even comment on the subject.
One of the other Gulf newspapers also published similar material. We won't mention its name. Within a few months and precisely after my known speech regarding Gaza and the War on Gaza in their response, one of the Egyptian newspapers raised this subject.
Other Egyptian newspapers went as far as to say "how can this person address Egypt in his speech about Gaza, when he killed al-Hariri?"
Again we did not respond or comment.
The issue of Der Spiegel is different because the climate, the timing, the givens, and the employment of this article, especially "Israeli"-wise... is different, this time we were prompted to stop, issue a statement and now requires me to talk on this subject tonight.
I will shed some background light on this topic, because of the high degree of sensitivity and risk it involves.
Immediately after Der Spiegel's words came out, al-Arabiyya channel propagandized-broadcasted the news article for several hours. It became its primary news story... then it began trying to issue statements, but it was surprised with the conservative tone its statements were met with.
In other words it did not find any side that would ride its campaign of automatically adopting that article.
Conversely, let us look ask 'who actually jumped on the campaign wagon?'
A few hours later the "Israelis" joined the campaign- not days later.
Within a few hours Avigador Lieberman was the first person to say (observe how the men of law and statesmen deal with such a news article): "Based on Der Spiegel's report, an international arrest warrant must be issued against the Secretary-General of Hizbullah, and if the Lebanese State does not hand him over, he then must be captured by force!"
What do you think?
What is more serious than Lieberman's speech is what Ehud Barak later said, which is dangerous if his words were a slip of the tongue. But if his were information, it is even more dangerous.
Barak says: "The decision of the International Tribunal (IT)" (the omission of reference to Der Spiegel's article) "...to consider Hizbullah responsible for the killing of the former Lebanese PM, shows once again the nature and function of Hizbullah, not only with regard to fighting us (the "Israelis") but also his fighting against rationality in Lebanon."
What is he saying?
If Barak's omission was due to his not understanding what he was reading in the Der Spiegel report - which it claimed came from reliable sources close to the IT- and tried to politically employ it nevertheless, that would be one thing. But had his omission involved more background knowledge, it would therefore a much more serious thing all together.
Then came more "Israelis": Lieberman, Barak, Shahak, Haim Ramon...the entire "Israeli" press on the second day had in their headlines "Hizbullah killed Hariri", end of case... period.
In "Israel", the charges were laid and now they are demanding punishment be given, and "if the international community does not punish", 'Israel', the human rights advocate, and defender of the Sunnis and Jama'ah will seek vengeance for the martyrs' blood "will now punish Hizbullah and its Secretary-General."
When we see the "Israeli" responses and how they dealt with the issue, the subject no longer remains an article or a news story, it becomes more dangerous than that in the timing.
When there are elections coming soon in Lebanon, when the are "Israeli" and Americans fears expressed of the opposition winning the elections, so for them it is then about how to disrupt and influence these elections, and there the Der Spiegel comes to the rescue ready for the job.
Again it is in the timing...while accelerated efforts are afoot in the detection of espionage networks, some of which are executive in nature, the extent of these discoveries will be revealed later, and in order for "Israel" to keep up with these events and before a condemnation surfaces against "Israel's" networks involvement in assassination operations, "Israel" decides to put the blame on its arch-adversary, which is Hizbullah.
In regional timing: a new "Israeli" government is required to recognize the two-state solution and the right of Palestinians to return. Hence, "Israel" escapes forward creating more settlements and further Judaization of al-Quds (Jerusalem), converting Jordan to an alternative homeland for the Palestinians... and the "Israelis" decided they should take the country to different place.
Palestine is no longer a priority, but Lebanon, conflict in Lebanon, and the harsh and dangerous accusations in Lebanon are.
This is the timing.
In this timing:
- the "Israeli" maneuvers seek any form of legitimacy
- An option of resettlement in Jeddah, adopted by Obama, to be promoted in the Arab world
Brothers and sisters,
What is most dangerous is not only in the timing but also in the strategy applied.
When PM Hariri was assassinated, a great many worked on directing the accusation towards Shiaas in order to spark a Shiaas-Sunnis war in Lebanon when peaks of strong emotional surges were prevalent throughout the country.
What does Der Spiegel say now?
What does Lieberman, Barak, Shahak, and all the Zionists say?
What do these sinister hands making these fabrications, say?
They say: 'Oh Sunnis, whether you like martyr PM Hariri or you disagree with him, the side that killed your leader is the Shiaas in Lebanon, in particular Hizbullah of the Shiaa in Lebanon and therefore, your vengeance, animosity and war is with them, there.'
These do not want truth, nor are they seeking truth, what they want is stir sedition in the country.
The wise of Lebanon quickly discovered a new case of "Cultivating sedition" is being woven.
It is true, Speaker Berri, General Aoun, President Suleiman, former PM Karami, former Minister Franjieh, other parties and forces, the Islamic Action Front, all the brothers, may be it is natural for them to take the stands they took, and I bear witness to that which is just and right even if said by those I disagree with-MP Walid Jumblatt- who yesterday correctly described the Der Spiegel report as-and I would like to quote him-"the Lebanese ought to deal with Der Spiegel report as more dangerous than Ain al-Rummaneh bus" (A bus load of passengers murdered in Ain al-Rummaneh in 1975 was considered the flashpoint of the civil war) and here I would like to underline the courage and bravery he showed in making these stands.
That is why we need to deal with the situation responsibly. When the news report came out, and before we make any comments on the subject, one Lebanese TV station was holding an interview with former Lebanese PM Karami, about which the presenter directly asked him and his instant reply was: (- which is what naturally comes to the mind of any rational person -) "this is a seditious project. This is not a news report as such. Let us wait and see what the IT says?"
In any case, a few weeks ago after the release of the four officers I said what is required is not to leave the doors to the IT wide open to those who for four years misled the investigation and fabricated witnesses and story accounts.
Regrettably, our information confirms that the doors are still open to these, alas, some of them we know, and some we do not know.
That is why I call on everyone to deal with this matter responsibly, to stay alert and not be lost in emotion or reaction, to understand the implications of the situation at hand and deal with it accordingly.
As far as we are concerned, we consider the Der Spiegel report and the comments made by the Zionist leadership only hours later an "Israeli" accusation of Hizbullah in the assassination of martyr PM Rafik Hariri, and we shall deal with this accusation as such.
As for the Dahiyeh and its people... ‘and what will make thee realise what the Dahiyeh is and who its people are?'
The Dahiyeh with its residents and the native inhabitants of its suburbs, the population of towns and suburbs, its migrants and displaced population, since the first days of the occupation and the first shots fired... confronted the occupation courageously, defiantly and resolvedly, and broke the occupation's arrogance at the gates of Khaldeh.
This Dahiyeh continued its resistance pushing the occupier to the shoulders of Beirut and the mountain until it forced them out of Beirut and the Mountain. This Dahiyeh became the resistance support base in line with Baalbek-Hermel, not being scant in offering its youth, money and support, in enduring the pains, consequences and all the punishment.
The Dahiyeh was always faithful to the political path of the resistance, through votes, demonstrations, the strong presence in all occasions, for Gaza, the Najaf, for Palestine, for Arab causes, for the sake of the resistance and the martyrs.
It always acceded in the extreme winter colds and extreme summer heat. Their biggest test was in the July war when they ("Israelis") poured the flames of their hatred and brutality on the Dahiyeh's people, its women and children, on its buildings and institutions... they wanted to undermine its faith, it grew deeper, they wanted to undermine its resolve. It [Dahiyeh] turned stronger; its name, became like the shining sun of the world...The Dahiyeh the city of love championed, warmly embraced the displaced people driven by the "Israeli" assault and civil war from the south, the Bekaa, the north and the mountain, even Beirut... suffering from institutional negligence of peripheral regions... to all those coming to it the southern Dahiyeh was like coming to the compassionate father, the caring mother, the championing brother who heals the wounds and wipes the dust of displacement, turning the refuge to a homeland without alienation or sadness...
Yes, they wanted the Dahiyeh as stated by Imam Moussa Sadr: "they wanted the Dahiyeh a belt-zone of misery it turned out a belt-zone of dignity; they wanted it a congregation of desperation yet it became a fountain of hope and pride... always living on the margins of the homeland, it proved to be its heart...they wanted it a forgotten land and a ruination in the July war, it stormed history's memory and the conscience of the nation, the entire nation and created the future."
To the Dahiyeh and its people, to those displaced to it, to its men, women and children, as I said yesterday to the people of the south I say to you now 'Peace upon you, oh proud people, spirits of ardor, you who did not give obedience to the wicked, when the Zionist and world callers placed you between two choices, either face a disproportionate confrontation or suffer a humiliating and disgraceful surrender, between rising up and submission...'
With your voices and blood, awareness and resolve, young and old, men and woman ...you shouted echoing your Imam's historic cry in historic Karbala (City where Imam Hussain [P] the grandson of Prophet Mohammad [pbuh] fell martyr refusing to pay allegiance to a tyrannical ruler) "disgrace... How remote!
You gave huge sacrifices, you were patient in the field, and there was the resistance, the Jihad and consequently the victories in year 2000 and July 2006.
Brother and sisters,
We are waiting for you on June 7, the day that will have a new particularity, on this day we are allied and vote for an alliance founded on clear political vision. We vote for an alliance that is firm and cohesive, the clear proof of its firmness is the July war and the victory by Lebanon and its people...
On that day we vote for an alliance with our hearts and minds at the same place.
In Ba'abda, the last time you voted your minds were in one place, and your hearts were in another; True?
But on June 7, your hearts and minds are in the same place...yet still there are responsibilities lying ahead.
On the 7th of June, from you who are gathered here some of may be voting locally, others in other electoral districts. On the 7th of June, I recommend you not to stay in your homes, for a hefty responsibility rests on your shoulders...
On the 7th of June go out to the voting polls to rescue Lebanon from the mentality and logic of exclusivity and nullification of ‘the other' and take it to national partnership, national unity and shoulder to shoulder cooperation, arms together... That is why you are before enormous responsibilities.
Regarding the "Israeli" maneuvers that go on between May 31 and June 4. I have heard that President Sleiman has called for the Higher Defense Council to convene Tuesday to assess the maneuvers. This is how a state really becomes a state and starts to gain its people's trust, by actions such as these, because his Excellency the President of the Republic calls for a meeting of the Higher Defense Council, asks the army to be in complete readiness, and demands the world to stop its violations, maneuvers, and spy networks.
It is true that His Excellency is performing his duty, but we still thank and appreciate him even for simply doing his duty.
As much as I urge cautiousness, we want you to rest assured, as I mentioned in my long address about the maneuvers, as political analysis, I consider distant or removed any "Israeli" assault or action, yet we must remain vigilant.
When we consider their attacks distant, - hear me well - knowing we do not base this on the Zionist's good ethics or on the U.S. support for Lebanon, nor do we build on the conscience of UN Security Council, however, we build and wager on our people, our army, and our resistance.
On the 25th of May, the Resistance Victory Day, to Barak, who wants me sent to the IT, and to the entire enemy government threatening Lebanon, I tell them as I said before: 'the Islamic Resistance side by side with the Lebanese army will be at its highest preparedness and state of alert when you begin your maneuvers. I promise you that if any of you even think of making a foolish move against Lebanon, our response will be unprecedented.'
If anyone thinks of trespassing into our land with five or even ten battalions, I pledge in the name of Abbas Moussawi, Ragheb Harb, Imad Moghniyeh, Sayyed Moussa Sadr and all of the founders and the leaders of the resistance, the resistance will destroy your battalions and your army in south Lebanon.
We will be ready, but no one will notice us or see our weapons, no one will discover our positions. I will use this opportunity to advise the Lebanese security forces that the "Israeli" spy cells will be fully mobilized during the 4 days of maneuvers, to spy on a resistance in high alert mobilization in that period.
No one will see our weapons, so that no one gets frightened, in order for the homeland to stay relaxed, secure and goes to its national elections, but we will not blink an eye while an enemy is threatening our citizens, people, homeland, blood and dignities.
Brothers and sisters,
Until we meet on the 7th of June God willing, when we will see your flags held up high and the signs of victory adorning your faces, I wish a happy Resistance and Liberation day; the liberation that will be complete when the Shibaa Farms and the Kafasrshouba Hills return back to us and the greater day when Palestine, all of Palestine return to the Palestinians and al-Quds all of al-Quds to its rightful owners."
Long Live Lebanon, the resistance, and yourselves.
Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you all.