Sayyed Safieddine to Al-Ahed: Hezbollah Established Its Equation with the Enemy, Mobilized To Confront Internal Crisis
By Mayssaa Moukaddem
In the spirit of the anniversary of the victory of Lebanon and its people in July 2006 and with the anniversary of the second liberation approaching on August 28, Al-Ahed News met with the Head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council His Eminence Sayyed Hashem Safieddine.
Sayyed Safieddine outlined a number of positions and said “the equation [with the enemy] was confirmed by the missiles that were launched, and if the ‘Israelis’ think they can change the rules and requirements of this equation, they won’t be able to.”
“The readiness of the resistance is permanent; it is ready to deter the enemy when it commits any aggression regardless of any internal political or regional changes,” he added. “The equation of the army, the people, and the resistance stands and is stable, successful, and productive.”
With respect to the anniversary of the Beirut Port explosion, Sayyed Safieddine reiterated Hezbollah’s belief that “not explaining what happened and not providing a report, vision, or narrative of what happened means that the door will remain open to speculation, jurisprudence, and interventions.”
“Defining and describing what happened sets the course for the investigation so that people are made aware, and in this matter, we see that things are not right."
Responding to a recent attack from Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Sayyed Safieddine told Al-Ahed that Riaydh “has failed. It has failed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon, and it has failed in its wrong choices when it adopted purely American policies contrary to the interests of the people. Your problem is that you have failed. Why do you want to blame us for your failure?”
“You spent tens of billions of dollars in the wrong place, at the wrong time, on the wrong cause. These are your mistakes. You allied with those you thought were serving your policies, but they were powerless.”
Regarding the living condition, the head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council announced that “at the level of our special programs in Hezbollah, we are today in a state of complete mobilization, and all our formations are working in the service of the people.”
Sayyed Safieddine unveiled the Imam Al-Montathar Fund, which was formed four months ago and consists of donations made by full-time employees and contractors in Hezbollah from their salaries. "The sums of money have become large, praise be to God, and they are being spent in the service of the people, and the day will come when we will announce all these sums."
Sayyed Safieddine stressed that “the resistance was established in the name of God and as a result of the sacrifices of these good and pure people. These people have never let it [the resistance] down, and it will never let them down. The resistance stands with its people and the covenant that it made to them. This resistance is always with them in all fields and arenas, defending their dignity, causes, and pride. It stands by them, speaking the language of honesty, the language of the heart, logic, reason, and truth. We are fully and completely confident, as we faced many difficulties in the past and overcame them, I am certain that we will overcome these difficulties that come in a new guise, method, and style.”
Below is the full transcript of the interview:
Escalation in the south:
- After the response of the Islamic Resistance to the recent “Israeli” raids that constituted a violation of the rules of engagement established in 2006, does Hezbollah think that the rules of engagement have been established again? Is “Israel’s” decision to refrain from responding a sign of deterrence and an unwillingness to launch a war, or is it a preparation for something greater, especially when we consider what was reported by the “Israeli” media, which quoted a senior security official who said “the ‘Israeli’ army is working to formulate responses against Hezbollah in multiple ways, both publicly and in secret?
We are accustomed to the “Israeli” way of dealing with these files when they are feeling helpless and are forced to respond to the requirements of stabilizing the existing equation. They talk about promises in the future, be it in public or otherwise. In the end, we know that we are in a confrontation with the “Israelis” for days and hours. But what concerns us now is not a confrontation in the broader sense. It’s the establishment of the equation and confirming it through these missiles that were launched. If the “Israelis” think they can change the rules and requirements of this equation, they won’t be able to. This is the basis of this confrontation – far from any speculation, analysis, and “Israeli” promises related to internal political matters. These promises are linked to political problems that the new “Israeli” government is experiencing.
We noticed during the confrontation that there were differences between the “Israeli” political establishment and the military establishment. The latter was clear that it did not want to escalate towards war because it had no interest in it. Meanwhile, the political establishment was confused, and the discussion lasted until close to midnight when they decided not to escalate. This is evidence that the political leadership in "Israel" is still young and afraid of any uncalculated political adventure, and Netanyahu is waiting.
- Is the Islamic resistance in Lebanon ready for a military confrontation with the “Israeli” enemy now? Is there any guarantee that any future confrontation will not develop and expand into a regional war?
Throughout the years, Hezbollah adopted a rule: the resistance is permanently ready to deter the enemy when it commits any aggression, regardless of any internal or regional political changes. Some always try to link the internal political situation or the regional political situation with what the resistance is doing, and we say that this link is inaccurate, and cannot be relied upon.
This does not mean that we live in a different world; we live in Lebanon and in the region, but the role of the resistance in its deterrence capacity is a different function and is not affected much by the internal and regional political situation.
The second rule in our work as an Islamic resistance is that we never sought nor do we seek war. No one should imagine, think, or analyze that the Islamic Resistance is in the process of entering a war. Never, this is not one of our goals. Yes, if war is imposed on us, we will always be ready.
- At home, the attack on Hezbollah returned from the gateway of the decision of peace and war. The resistance was accused of turning Lebanon into an arena for achieving Iran’s goals. Some newspapers, such as An-Nahar, spoke of weakness in the army, people, and resistance equation, especially after the incidents of Shwaya and Khaldeh, a lack of popular embrace of the resistance by groups, and the army's statement, which raised eyebrows and appeared "neutral" at best between the resistance and the enemy. What is your response?
The equation of the army, the people, and the resistance still stands and is stable, successful, and productive. This does not mean that the literature used by the army is the same as that used by the resistance. Each has its own positions, literature, and circumstances. But when we talk about this equation, we are talking about cohesion at the level of vision, the front, and the enemy. This did not change, not popularly, politically, or in practice with what we are facing with the “Israeli” enemy. As for the occurrence of some minor events, it is being contained the moment it happens.
In the end, military action is not a picnic. Rather, it is hard and tiring work in which things happen from time to time at the level of readiness, the battle, and friction that may be uncalculated, deliberate, or unintended. These are partial and simple matters, and they were contained by the people involved.
Yes, it is very natural for some media professionals or some politicians, who we know do not support the resistance and harbor hostility towards it and plot against it, to try and take advantage of any event and try to exaggerate it. But we still believe that the popular and political environment that incubates the resistance is strong, large, and dominant in Lebanon.
Beirut Port explosion and political investment
- In the context of the anniversary of the port explosion, the technical report on the causes of the explosion is still kept secret. Who is responsible for this ambiguity? Does Hezbollah have any doubts about the reasons why this report has not been issued yet?
Not just Hezbollah, but everyone is eager to know what happened in the catastrophic August 4 explosion. Everyone wants to know what happened so that things are clear and the truth is clear because not explaining what happened and not providing a report, vision, or narrative of what happened means that the door will remain open to speculation, jurisprudence, and interventions. The Lebanese imagination is very broad. We know that some politicians, media professionals, and malicious parties in Lebanon receive money to promote malicious political goals and objectives. They do not care about the feelings of the families of the martyrs or about the horrific consequences they are trying to impose on the Lebanese. All of them will benefit from the lack of clarity about what happened.
Since the beginning, we asked that the Lebanese be informed, whether by the judiciary or the concerned parties that can speak. At the very least, the judiciary or the parties involved in the investigation must say what happened. It is not logical for accusations to be thrown around without people understanding what happened. After the people understand what happened, discussions about who is responsible can begin. But with the ambiguity surrounding the circumstances of what happened and accusing some of being responsible in this way is unbalanced, illogical, and unnatural. What happened at the port? Was it only administrative negligence, security negligence, or security and administrative negligence? Was it a random act that came from one side or from the outside? Defining and describing what happened sets the course for the investigation so that people are made aware, and in this matter, we see that things are not right.
- Does this political investment, media exploitation, lies, and misrepresentations that are designed to accuse Hezbollah of being responsible for the port explosion, bring us back to the atmosphere of 2005? Who is the main driver behind what we are witnessing? Is it an internal settling of scores, or is the engine an external party?
We must distinguish between two things when we talk about the port explosion – the families of the martyrs and victims and the investment and exploitation. We certainly feel with the families that have lost loved ones. These are, in the end, martyrs and victims, whether victims of neglect, tampering, or corruption. In the end, these are victims with whom we sympathize to the fullest extent, and we are very familiar with these feelings because we offered martyrs and we always offer martyrs, and this is our path. This is on the one hand. On the other hand, there is exploitation.
Exploitation and investment is not only a political act but also an immoral political act. In politics, too, there are morals and immoralities – some politicians allow themselves to exploit blood and feelings and mobilize them in a political crucible for a specific political goal. This is the ultimate disregard for feelings and another aggression against the martyrs and victims. This is a new type of corruption that they wanted to drown the Lebanese arena in from 2005 until today. This is a pattern. In fact, they belong to a school that failed in Lebanon and did not give any results. What have they reaped from 2005 until today? They reaped more hatred, incitement, and division among the Lebanese, and they invested this division in order to bring outside factors to provide them with money and support during elections. They tried this in 2005 until now and failed in the past. They are now repeating a failed, miserable, hopeless, useless experiment that harms the families of the martyrs as well as Lebanon, its unity, and cohesion at a time when Lebanon needs cohesion more than ever to face its successive and difficult crises.
- The Saudi foreign minister recently launched a new attack on Hezbollah, accusing it of being behind Lebanon's crises and calling on the politicians in Lebanon to confront it. What message is he sending to the Lebanese interior?
If we ask all the politicians today in Lebanon and in the region, has Saudi Arabia succeeded in its foreign policies? The answer is it failed. The Saudis always want to blame their failure on others, and today Hezbollah is enemy number one, like some politicians in Lebanon. O brother, you have failed. Saudi Arabia failed. It has failed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon, and it has failed in its wrong choices when it adopted purely American policies contrary to the interests of the people. Your problem is that you have failed. Why do you want to blame us for your failure? Lebanon’s issues are not at all what the Saudis are saying. The Saudi princes always talk when they meet with some Lebanese or non-Lebanese, they say we spent billions of dollars and only reap enmity. The problem is not who is with you and who is against you. You spent tens of billions of dollars in the wrong place, at the wrong time, on the wrong cause. These are your mistakes. You allied with those you thought were serving your policies, but they were powerless. The Saudis know better than anyone else that their failure in the Lebanese arena is the result of mistakes in strategic and tactical choices. What happened in Lebanon is that those who created this political class mostly belonged to Saudi and American politics.
The government situation
- The government situation has returned to its previous complications following an optimistic atmosphere prior to the appointment of Premier Mikati. Does Hezbollah have a current role in overcoming obstacles? And in the event of failure again to form a government, where are we heading, especially since the club of former heads of government will not be involved in naming any future prime minister?
In the past, we made great efforts to overcome obstacles in order for the government to see the light for the sake of all the Lebanese. We said more than once, specifically in naming Prime Minister [Najib] Mikati, that our goal is to have a government. Today, forming a government is a priority for all Lebanese and for the benefit of all Lebanese as a result of the living, financial, and economic situation and the tragedies that the Lebanese people are experiencing. It is greater than many of the tactical and internal policies which some people resort to. Our opinion is that a government needs to be formed. If it’s not formed, then it’s another discussion. God willing, it will be formed.
- Is Hezbollah still confident about its popularity and, consequently, the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections?
We think that it’s still too early to talk about the parliamentary elections. We do not want to talk about Hezbollah and its support from an electoral point of view. But if we talk about the people of the resistance, we believe that the people of the resistance are firm, solid, coherent, and strong despite all the media campaigns directed against them. They are conscious and experienced people, and they have experienced many things through which some have tried to undermine Hezbollah, its prestige, its strength, and its abilities. Our people are fully aware of the scope of the campaign against Hezbollah and the amount of money that is being spent in order to distort Hezbollah’s image and blame it for all the evils of corruption in the country. We are not worried about this side at all. Yes, it is our duty to always strive to be with them. As a result, our people are with us, and we, the resistance, and the people are on the same side. We must be at the service of these people to secure the necessary supplies for their daily lives.
Fuel and people's needs
- What is Hezbollah's plan for coping with the economic and living crisis, especially in its environment? What are the current services and what do they cover?
We have a set of programs that cover agriculture, loans, and helping people secure their most basic needs. This is different from what we do through the ministries of health and industry and our efforts through various other ministries. This is an aspect that is usually not highlighted - most people keeping track and the politicians in the country know perfectly well that some of the issues that were resolved, even partially, whether we’re talking about subsidies or other things, Hezbollah and its ministers and members of the parliament played a major role in that resolution, and this is our duty.
As for our special programs in Hezbollah, we are today in a state of complete mobilization, and all our formations are working in the service of the people in the health and agricultural sectors and in securing foodstuffs and the necessary medicine through all the projects that we presented. The Sajjad card is one of these items that, God willing, will see remarkable development in the coming weeks.
Among the things that Hezbollah launched after the speech of His Eminence the Secretary-General is the formation of a fund that we called the Imam Al-Montathar Fund. This fund consists of donations provided by full-time and contractors in Hezbollah from their salaries. The goal is for all our brothers to participate in solving the economic and living problems and to stand by our people to whom we are ready to give blood so that it remains strong, stable, solid, and dear. This fund was formed four months ago, and there is a substantial sum of money now, praise be to God, and the day will come when we will release all the figures. But these are large sums being spent in the service of the people and on various important projects that serve the people, whether in securing foodstuffs for the needy or supporting projects that contribute to agricultural production. What is important is that it reaches people and serves them directly. Praise be to God, the Imam Al-Montathar Fund, which the full-timers and contractors contributed to financing has now large sums of money that are being spent in the service of the people.
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our loved ones, dear ones, and brothers working in Hezbollah for their efforts in developing this fund, and I invite them to continue to do so. I also know that many of our brothers, full-timers and contractors, are contributing to funds located in their villages, neighborhoods, and towns to support the needy. This is our culture and the aspirations of our young mujahideen as well as our brothers and sisters, may God protect them all.
- Did the leadership of Hezbollah conclude that the time has come to import fuel from Iran? Is there a date for the implementation? Is there a similar step with regard to medication?
Committing to timetables with such files is wrong. We do not want to commit ourselves and the people to specific times. The reason is that there are serious challenges and complications, and we are working to overcome these obstacles. Some people imagine that as soon as we say that we want to bring gasoline and diesel, it means that it will come directly. The issue is more complicated than this, but the decision has been made. God willing, these steps will become visible in the next few days through actions and not words.
Surely, with me is my sagacity
- To commemorate Ashura this year, Hezbollah chose the slogan "Surely, with me is my sagacity." What is the link between the slogan and the stage we are living in?
I would like to clarify that this phrase is for the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali bin Abi Talib, peace be upon him, who was the ideal of patience, insight, and endurance to save the path he belongs to, which is the path of authentic Islam and the legacy of the Messenger of God [PBUH]. We quoted this slogan from the words of the Commander of the Faithful [PBUH] because we know that this stage requires intuitive insight and beautiful patience at the same time. It is beautiful patience and intuitive insight that can give us the ability to endure and face events so that we can all overcome them. All those who believe in the blessed Husseini approach and the blessed Islamic approach, know very well that this approach takes important steps forward. Today, problems are placed before him, he is wronged and attacked, despite all the sacrifices, victories, and achievements he has made. Preserving these achievements, victories, results, and values as well as all of the people’s sacrifices requires patience and insight. This is what we learned from the Commander of the Faithful, and this man who was present in Karbala. Karbala was mountains of patience, insight, and clear vision. If the companions of Imam Hussein [PBUH], whom he described as the best of companions and the most loyal companions, did not possess a clear vision, they would not have stood firm and fought until martyrdom. If they did not possess great patience, they would not have been able to withstand all these pressures from the armies that gathered around them. The example of patience and insight are Imam Zein Al-Abidin [PBUH] and Sayyeda Zeinab [PBUH], who remained on the path and approach with these two concepts in addition to all faith and religious values and brought religion to the shore of safety.
The promise of the resistance
- In the month of August, which combines the anniversary of the July 2006 victory and the anniversary of the second liberation on August 28, what is the message of the resistance to its supporters? And what is its promise?
The resistance was established in the name of God and as a result of the sacrifices of these good and pure people. These people have never let it [the resistance] down, and it will never let them down. It stands with its people and the covenant that it made to them. This resistance is always with them in all fields and arenas, defending their dignity, causes, and pride. It stands by them, speaking the language of honesty, the language of the heart, logic, reason, and truth. The resistance is in its normal, natural, and necessary position, defending the causes of our ummah, all our values, and all our sanctities. We are fully and completely confident, as we faced many difficulties in the past and overcame them, I am certain that we will overcome these difficulties that come in a new guise, method, and style. And all the difficulties are the product of the American and “Israeli” malice and those with them. I am certain that we will overcome these new difficulties with more endurance, hard work, and effort provided that we remain present in the arena because patience alone without work does not give results.
We exercise patience and work. We rely on God Almighty and then perform our duties.
We promised that we will do everything possible and use all capabilities available to reach the desired goals, and one of them is to rid people of these difficulties that they are experiencing economically, financially, and in their daily lives.