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Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation’s 30th Founding Anniversary

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation’s 30th Founding Anniversary
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Translated by Al-Ahed News, Hezbollah Media Relations

The speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on 30th founding anniversary of the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation on January 19, 2023.

I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of Prophets, Abi al-Qassem Muhammad Bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you all.

To begin with, I would like to welcome the honorable people attending this ceremony. I would also like to thank my esteemed brothers who have shouldered the responsibility of overseeing this center, including brother Sayyed Abdul Haleem Fadlallah as well as all the brothers and sisters in its various departments who have dedicated themselves to operating this center over the course of three decades and recorded many achievements.

We always look at the achievements as a product of teamwork and the efforts of all the brothers and sisters in different positions.

In our march, we do not attribute the achievements to a specific person or persons. We believe that all the achievements, past and present, are the result of all these blessed collective efforts.

Why are we marking this occasion? Because 30 years have passed. Commemorating this anniversary, on the one hand, is an expression of our appreciation for the efforts of the brothers and sisters in the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation and their achievements and to thank them for their efforts and hard work. On the other hand, it is to shed light on the achievements and the services this center delivered to our march as one of the influential sites and to confirm its position in our march in Lebanon.

Certainly, we cherish the live testimonies of the esteemed  figures that we heard from. These testimonies increase our confidence, hope, and determination to continue the work, God willing.

30 years ago, the idea began with a center for development studies. At that time, the leadership of Hezbollah, which was greatly preoccupied with field work, was not unaware of the needs in our society, the society that was resisting and bearing the burdens of resistance. So, they decided to study and see the developmental conditions and needs and can be done. This is how the idea started.

At the time, the center which was founded was called the Center for Development Studies. It showed that Hezbollah has been concerned with the livelihood of its people for the past 30 years, despite its significant involvement in resistance and the various challenges that existed at the time.

It also indicates that Hezbollah has maintained, from its inception, and continues to maintain a steadfast commitment to basing its operations on a foundation of scientific and technical expertise when approaching all files, including the development file.

As years passed by, challenges and responsibilities grew. The idea developed due to the needs and the challenges over the past 30 years. Thus, the center developed to be in its current position since it was always required to primarily respond to the needs of this march on more than one level.

I do not want to repeat what was said in the speeches and video reports about the center’s inception, achievements, importance, and services. However, since I am required to present a testimony, briefly, I would say that the Consultative Center has consistently served as the go-to resource for guidance and direction for our leadership, units, and diverse departments within Hezbollah.

It is place we turn to or that provides us with everything we need, including legal, economic, financial, monetary, developmental studies, administrative studies, political strategic studies, especially those related to the conflict with the “Israeli” enemy, American hegemony, and resistance movements.

In fact, it is not just Hezbollah’s center for studies, but rather that of the entire axis of resistance in the region. The center gives us everything related to the affairs of society, the state, Lebanon, and the region.

It is our scientific, intellectual, and academic go-to resource, as it also provides us with suggestions, assessments, and visions.

From the beginning, the main goal was – we talked about this with the brothers – to search for facts. We do not want the center to tell us what we want or like to hear.

We have made it clear to our brothers that it is their duty to accurately present us with an accurate version of the outside world – the pains, our weakness, our strengths – regardless of any challenges or unfavorable circumstances that may arise and cause frustration and despair.

We must know the truth, so we can be able to know what we will present later. This is related to a second stage.

Hence, we firstly hoped that from the center, and it has committed and done so. We want the facts; we want facts from the outside world the way they are and not as we like or suppose.

Because if we were to make an assessment based on what we like or assume regardless of the facts, we will make big mistakes, as Dr. Mounir said a while ago.

The objective was not only to collect information and opinion polls, study facts, and explore facts, but also to provide recommendations, perspectives, and alternatives that are grounded in the vast wealth of past human and humanitarian experiences.

Reason as well as our religion, Prophet, Quran, and imams [PBUT] call for us benefiting from all experiences throughout history.

He who benefits from the experiences of a nation for a thousand years is as if he has lived a thousand years. He who benefits from the experiences of peoples over a period of 5,000 years is as if he has lived for 5,000 years. This sense is found in the words of the Commander of the Faithful [PBUH].

We must benefit from all the existing minds that we agree with ideologically or disagree with in politics – our allies, friends, opponents, neutral people. It is essential that we tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise that exists within our community, by leveraging the intellectual and specialized capabilities of all individuals within it, in order to achieve our goals.

In our efforts to find solutions for development, advancement and problem-solving, we must always strive to explore the full range of possibilities within the resources and capabilities that are readily available to us. Here, too, we must not present visions based on what we like or assume or based on imaginary theories.

From the outset, our aim for this center was to establish it as an intellectually rigorous, analytical, evaluative, and visionary entity that is deeply engaged and attuned to the realities of the current situation on the ground and not theories that need have no prospect of being realized.

This was one of the most important elements of strength in the success and performance of this center.

It serves as a natural and an ideal link between us – i.e., as a resistance and as a political party – and the elites, including scholars, experts, specialists, professors, and doctors because it is a natural and scientific place that can move, open up, and communicate.

Sometimes, people send messages or write on social networking sites, etc., stating that they have studies, ideas, visions, suggestions, and they’d like to know how they can communicate them to us.

I announce that the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation serves as the vital link between us and the diverse pool of intellectual and visionary resources that we rely on to guide our actions.

What the center did and all the conferences and seminars it held and participated in are mentioned in the report. I want to talk about the aspect that has to do with us from the position of our responsibility.

As the leadership of Hezbollah evaluated the name of the center that was to be established as a public and inclusive entity, catering to all segments of society, we selected a more general name in order to ease work and communication.

You know that our it is customary for many of our institutions to sometimes take titles that express our faith, jihadi or Islamic identity, etc.

However, we gave the center a general name, the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation. It has no ideological identity and no political identity but is open to everyone.

Also, the administration and the margins of the administration’s movements are freer to a large extent from the regulatory controls and restrictions that we adopt in our internal institutions because we wanted this center to spread throughout Lebanon, the Arab world, and the rest of the world, which would enable it to achieve its goals.

I would like to stress that outputs produced by the center were always heavily invested in and utilized by Hezbollah, its institutions, and its affiliated organizations.

There are many study centers that conducted studies and presented studies, ideas, or suggestions. Yet they remained in the centers, with no one adopting them, taking them seriously, marketing them, implementing them, or following up on them. Perhaps some study centers are even affiliated to political forces.

It is not the case in our march. I believe that this is one of the reasons why the brothers and sisters and those in charge of the Consultative Center have always been active and energetic, diligently working day and night.

It is because they saw the fruits of their achievements, proposals, plans, studies, data, and information. They see them in Parliament, in the government, in the political position, in the projects and programs pursued by the various concerned parties and institutions in Hezbollah.

I spoke about the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc during the parliamentary elections. I said that the brothers research and study everything, including all proposals for laws, all draft laws, everything that is presented to the House of Representatives.

They do not think about these while they are sitting in the session or in a committee meeting. They, as deputies, debate on the side. As a bloc, it discusses them before they are put to debate, voting, and approval.

Who stands behind the Loyalty to Resistance Bloc in many studies, discussions, and observations? It’s the Consultative Center – i.e., the brothers and sisters working in the Consultative Center.

The Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc takes very seriously and with great respect what the center presents and discusses. Based on this, it builds its data and goes to parliamentary committees, sub-committees, joint committees, or general assembly sessions.

We work in the same manner when it comes to presenting any idea, point of view, or study related to government work files and ministries, especially those that are handled by ministers from among our brothers before they are linked to other ministries.

The same applies to all matters related to the society and public life in its various dimensions, including political life, political reform, and administrative reform.

A little while ago, Mr. Abdul Haleem referred to the Consultative Center’s major role in drafting the electoral law. Of course, this was done away from the media spotlight.

The center was part of all the discussions about the electoral law at different stages that led to the latest version, which of course some political factions have notes on.

But we still consider it the best so far in terms of representation and the opportunity to act. It needs to be developed, and some gaps need to be filled for all stages of scientific, calm, accurate, and careful preparation and discussion.

At every stage of the elections, the center played a fundamental role in opinion polls, in statistics, in providing advice, in ideas, in preparing for the electoral program that will be announced, in keeping pace with the electoral process, with changing public opinion trends, and in studying the results and building on them after every election.

Anyway, this is the first part of my address.

The second and last part:

The main concern that governs all of us in Lebanon, and for many reasons, is what is related to the economic, financial, monetary, life, and livelihood issue.

It is not only the concern of the Lebanese people but also all those residing on its territory because they are affected by the situation.

There is no doubt that the Consultative Center is our main pillar, and in recent years it held many seminars, and conferences on the economy.

It always presented good ideas and suggestions that our brothers in decision-making positions employed.

Allow me to talk a little about this subject, even if it is not my specialty. However, I would like to speak a little, and I do not want to delve into the specialized aspects, but rather the general framework, which I believe that we in Lebanon need to agree on – even on the basics of the general framework.

I think we in Lebanon disagree a little regarding this issue. This needs to be discussed and decided on.

1- But as a start I want to say first, no one argues that the economic situation is perplexing in Lebanon.

No one in Lebanon is saying that the situation is good and excellent, and there is nothing to worry about. No, on the contrary. This is a unanimous point; praise be to God.

2- This matter is not exceptional for Lebanon. Rather, there are many countries in the world threatened and are suffering from severe and suffocating economic crises, including some countries that had strong economies in past decades.

We are all hearing about a list of dozens of countries, some of which are Arab countries, that are being threatened with collapse. This means that Lebanon is not a special case or different from many countries in the world.

3- It is not permissible for us to despair or give up, although there are attempts to spread hopelessness in the country – that nothing can be done; this is the truth and reality; it’s a dead end; the Lebanese have no choice but to accept this situation and live under hardship or pack their bags and leave the country.

This is a perilous matter. Before talking about a vision, a plan, a solution, the most important thing is hope, not to despair and be frustrated.

We must have confidence in the national ability and the ability of the minds in Lebanon to produce solutions and get us out of this difficult situation and impasse. This is a very important point.

It is not permissible to remain in a state of confusion, as was the case in the past years, and somewhere the competent authority must take the initiative to develop a vision to address the economic situation. On this basis, plans and programs can be drawn up based on a complete and elaborate vision.

But if we reach a place where we lose hope and frustration dominates everyone, then this means that we are going to the abyss.

Everyone must play a role in saving the economy, the living situation, and the financial situation. This is not only the responsibility of the state or state institutions but also the people, the society, the political forces, the experts. It is everyone’s responsibility, each based on their position and abilities.

No one can put the responsibility on others and say we are not responsible and we cannot do anything. No. Even in the rescue process, if people – i.e., society – do not cooperate and respond, the steps and programs will remain theoretical or be implemented slowly.

Hence, we must realize that it is everyone's responsibility and everyone should carry it.

4- It is not permissible to remain in a state of confusion, as was the case in the past years. If there is a problem [medicine, hospitals, etc.] today, let us see how we will solve it. If a problem arises, we must work on a daily basis to address them.

But somewhere – in the House of Representatives or government – the competent authority must take the initiative to develop a vision to address the economic situation. On this basis, plans and programs can be drawn up based on a complete and elaborate vision – long-term or mid-term.

But any plans or programs that are not based on a complete, comprehensive, clear, scientific, well-thought-out, and elaborate vision also leads us to fatigue, time.

consumption, consumption of our potential, confusion, and collision – left, right, and center.

There must be a vision. To reach a vision, the reasons must be studied. When we study the reasons, we must be realistic and read the real reasons that brought us to this the economic, financial, living conditions in Lebanon.

Sometimes when we want to study the reasons, as political forces or state officials, we try to rule out the reasons that may hold us responsible.

The first real condition to have a correct vision is to point out the real reasons we are where we are.

In Lebanon, unfortunately, there are many leaders, political forces, or even elites who, when they issue positions, simplify matters. I call them the one-factor theory group. Of course, this is other than the Marxist theory.

For example, there are people in Lebanon who believe that if we solve the problem with “Israel”, everything will be solved. This is a simplification.

They also believe that if we address corruption, everything will be resolved. This is also a simplification. This is one of the factors.

It is related, but it is not the only factor. There are a group of reasons or factors that led to our status quo.

I will read the reasons without detailing them:

  • Administrative and financial corruption: By the way, this did not start in the nineties. We all remember the mission that took place during the time of President Fouad Chehab. The Consultative Center has copies of it. It talks about the level of corruption in the Lebanese state. Hence, this is old corruption; corruption that is deeply rooted.

Yes, due to the massive but wrong funding in the 1990s, doors were opened wide for corruption.

  • Administrative and leadership shortcomings and negligence, absence of the spirit of responsibility, as well as incompetence and inexperience: They are due to a simple reason that is often administrative appointments and leadership positions in the state are subject to favoritism.

There is no escape from sectarian quotas because our system is sectarian. However, if each sect presented its best thoughts and expertise to assume administrative responsibilities in the state, we would not have reached this stage even if we remained a sectarian system.

  • Error in the political calculations on which the economic vision was built on in the 1990s; I will return to it later.
  • Some corrupt and deceitful economic policies that we opposed – our deputies and officials opposed. Our positions on them has been clear since the 1990s.

The clearest example of wrong economic, financial, and monetary policies was the debt policy. We all remember when they wanted money to set up projects – based, of course, on the vision that I will comment on shortly – so they asked the people and the Lebanese to bring their money in dollars – hard currency – or Lebanese pounds. They opened the door for buying treasury bonds and unprecedented and high interest rates were given.

What happened? This incurred huge debts on the treasury. Secondly, which is more dangerous, it hit production.

If someone had money in Lebanon, instead of investing it in agriculture, industry, commerce, or real estate, he deposited in the bank and made higher profits than those of agricultural or industrial investments. There is no risk, and his money is guaranteed, backed up, etc.

However, it turns out that there is a big adventure – the incident with the depositors’ money today. The most dangerous thing was disrupting the production and work spirit and making quick profits. Thus, our economy has turned into a fragile one, a weak one that can collapse.

  • The whole economic and financial situations in Lebanon were built on wrong political calculations, and this is what I will stress on so that this mistake will not be repeated.

Also, among the reasons are sectarian quotas and the absence of sustainable development. Instead of having a balanced development, the “6 et 6 bis” rule [the ‘6 and 6 repeated’ rule] was used in everything.

If we wanted to build schools, universities, hospitals, or highways, pave the roads, build bridges, build ports, build the infrastructure, the “6 et 6 bis” rule was used, even if there was no use for it.

Therefore, any project that went to the government or the parliament that you want to implement in a specific area, must be implemented in all areas.

If an area was affiliated to a sect and we wanted to implement a project there, then it must be implemented in areas belonging to the other sects even if it was not needed.

  • The repercussions of internal wars also placed great burdens on the economic and financial situations.
  • Reconstruction after the internal wars and displacement file – we all know how huge its burdens were.
  • The repercussions of the “Israeli” wars and aggressions: Some people call it the repercussions of the resistance. This is what we call changing the position, meaning the executioner and the martyr, the aggressor and the resistance fighter. There are also the repercussions of the “Israeli” aggressions and wars on Lebanon before 1978 and the 1982 Nakba, the devastation left by the “Israeli” invasion, the wars, the aggression, etc.
  • The repercussions of regional events: We all know that the displacement file is costing the Lebanese economy and the Lebanese state billions of dollars annually.

Hence, these are all reasons. Of course, these are some reasons and not all of them.

In the past three years, at the very least, i.e., since 2019, there are the sanctions, pressures, and blockade. It is unfortunate that some people suggest that the blockade on Lebanon is not in place.

A blockade is not only implemented by placing a battleship off the Lebanese coast or preventing planes from landing at the airport. There is no need for a sanctions law to be issued against Lebanon like the "Caesar Act" they issued against Syria.

It is also implemented through the actions and attitudes of the American administration towards the Lebanese authority.

The blockade is implemented through a variety of means, including preventing external assistance, grants, and loans from reaching Lebanon, as well as blocking the Lebanese government from accepting donations and investments, and from addressing the issue of Syrian refugees.

This is not an analysis, brothers and sisters. There are countries that have contact with us and we speak with them frankly. When we asked them to bring deposits and investments into Lebanon, they would tell us frankly that they were forbidden to do so by the Americans and that they cannot go against the Americans. This is a blockade.

It is preventing aid, donations, and loans from Lebanon. That is why today the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are putting conditions, impossible conditions, to prevent the Lebanese state from even accepting donations, such as what happened with the Iranian and the Russian donations.

They are preventing the Lebanese state from accepting investments or opening the door for investments from countries like China and Russia. There are people in Lebanon who say that these are words, hypotheses, and theories. No, these are facts.

Let the Lebanese state facilitate and accept. The Chinese and Russian companies are ready. Other companies are ready, with practical and realistic evidence and detail.

Hence, this is a blockade. It is preventing Lebanon from addressing the file of the displaced Syrians. All the Lebanese agree that they must address this file, but they are simply forbidden from doing so. What do you call this? Is this not a blockade and putting pressure?

Anyway, what has been taking place since 2019 is what I was referring to when I delivered a memory of the martyr Haj Qassem Soleimani. The first version of the American project was from 2000 to 2011. The second version was from 2011 to 2019. This is the third version.

This does not mean that they will stop igniting wars. But after great assessments, they went back to resorting to proxy wars. That is why they withdrew from Afghanistan. Today, there is the proxy war in Ukraine. [The Americans] are fighting to the last Ukrainian soldier. But what is the focus on?

The focus is on putting economic and living pressures and blockade on peoples. For example, [Donald] Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear agreement in May 2018. Thus, the withdrawal had requirements related to the sanctions. Hence, unprecedented sanctions were imposed against Iran.

In 2019, it became clear that the global military war on Syria has ended – more accurately it has failed and was defeated. Many areas in Syria were safe again, and the Syrian government regained control over them and opened the doors for investments and projects.

I remember, at that time, many Lebanese, even from the opponents of Syria and from the March 14 camp went to Syria since they had more money. They took their companies and associations and established new companies there.

Arab and international parties as well went to Syria. The Americans dealt a very harsh blow and enacted the severe "Caesar Act".

Had it not been for the "Caesar Act", Syria would have had self-capabilities and enormous human and natural resources that would allow it to rise from the catastrophe caused the global war.

However, it was besieged in a harsh and severe way. The Americans are applying this issue on the new Iraqi government after it said that it had a margin of independence in decision making and in assigning key posts.

The Americans threatened to play with the dollar if Iraq fails to comply with policies, and commitments. This is the third version of the American project.

They want the blockade on Yemen and the Palestinian people to continue. this is also being implemented in Lebanon as a people and the Lebanese state.

In any case, these are some of the factors. There are other reasons and factors that led to this situation. It is not enough to address one, two, or three factors. We must address all the factors or set a policy to deal with these factors and how to challenge, confront, or overcome them.

Returning to the vision that has been adopted by misguided policies, what was the vision in the 1990s based on? It was based on the region moving towards making peace and resolving the conflict with “Israel”. We were even asked in internal meetings – what do you guys want? What is your deal?

When we used to discuss economic and financial policies and talk about the agricultural and industrial sector, we were told to “be patient as the region will change.”

I remember some of the things that were said. For example, "You will see the ‘Israeli’ flags in a year or two in Damascus," "The ‘Israeli’ embassy in Damascus and the ‘Israeli’ flags in Al-Hamidiya Souq." But this matter is over.

We were told that after two or three years, the region is going to "peace and settlement." Therefore, the region will open up. Here, what is Lebanon's position?

Based on this vision, we built an airport worth $10 million or $20 million. We talked about ports, highways and bridges, commercial centers, hotels, banks, and the service sector. But we ignored something else.

The entire vision was built on this political calculation, which turned out to be very wrong. Therefore, a plan was built on a vision that was built on a wrong political calculation. It all turned out to be a mistake, and we are where we are now.

I do not want to take up a lot of your time. Therefore, I will briefly mention what I wrote. With regard to this point, I would like to say to those who want to set an economic vision that the most important thing is to build on correct political calculations and not based on the assumption that there will be a settlement in the region – at least in the short and medium term.

I believe that there is none of this [i.e., there will be no settlement]. Today, the debate is no longer whether there will be a settlement with "Israel" and peace in the region.

The “Israelis” themselves, including the military and security generals, the strategic experts, the president of the entity, the former prime ministers, former defense ministers, and former chiefs of staff, are debating whether "Israel" will exist? Will it exist until 2080? Will it still be there after 10 or 20 years? Will there still be a two-state solution?

This is the Palestinian reality, especially with this new government. Previous governments pretended to accept the two-state solution but were not practicing or pushing things towards a two-state solution in Palestine, let alone a non-hypocritical yet a corrupt, extremist, and terrorist government that claims that the West Bank is their holy land and that the Palestinians must leave it or be killed. Who is speaking of a settlement today!

Is there a settlement with Syria? Syria, whose leadership, regime, and people, are committed to the fact that, at the very least, there is no solution except to return to the June 4, 1967, line. "Israel" annexed the Golan.

What happened in Syria is one of the attempts to come up with a political regime that gives the Golan Heights to the Zionist entity or rent it out for 99 years. This is over and has failed. There is no settlement.

We have to build our vision based on the ideas that there is an existing enemy threatening Lebanon and has ambitions in it. Therefore, there is no stable situation while this enemy exists.

The international situation is not going become stable. There will be more tensions and escalations – the Americans and the Europeans versus Russia and the Americans versus China. This, of course, will cause tensions in the region.

Hence, there will be no settlements in the region. There will be no peace and stability in the region. All of this will be reflected in our region. The “Israeli” situation and the conflict with the enemy is reflected in the region. We must take it into consideration.

This is essential. Therefore, when we talk about options, we must talk about a productive economy – here, I am summarizing – an economy that provides food security, that stems from facts, and does not depend on foreign aid or loans. There are great means of strengthen in Lebanon.

Of course, we cannot continue to live in the past – Lebanon’s distinguished and exceptional position. We must be realistic and fair.

I am not saying that we have lost this position. No, but there are countries competing with us in tourism. Turkey, today, is a competitor. Even some Gulf countries are competing in tourism. Other countries are competing in the services sector, the banking sector, in facilitating the work of companies, in better infrastructure, including ports, airports, hotels, etc., in banking and financial facilities.

I am not saying that Lebanon has lost this position. We can still build on it any economic vision, a realistic vision. In light of this vision, we will be able to know how many airports, ports, highways, hospitals, etc. we need.

We have important and fundamental means of strength. First, there are smart Lebanese people who understand, comprehend, and learn. There are educated, creative, and energetic individuals. This is a very important strength.

There are nations that suffer from laziness, for example. Others suffer from limited intellectual capabilities. Anyways, let us focus on ourselves. The first point of strength the Lebanese possess is the human element, and this is what we are beginning to lose.

As a result of the deteriorating situation in the country, the specialists, professors, and doctors in all fields are being recruited by surrounding countries. This is a huge loss. This is a huge human loss.

Another main strength is our geographical location. One of the main strengths that we as Lebanese are not benefiting from is water. This includes the rivers that pour into the sea.

A time will come when water might become more expensive than oil. It is golden wealth – whoever has water has gold, and whoever has oil has gold. How do we deal with this issue and approach it?

So far, we have security in Lebanon despite all the existing situation and some problems due to the social situation. However, the level of internal security in Lebanon is better than some countries.

The numbers and evidence on satellite channels and CNN indicate that Lebanon is safer than many states in America. We have security in Lebanon. This is, of course, thanks to the army, the security forces, the security apparatus, the popular and political awareness, and the political will in the country.

No one wants tension and civil wars. There are a few who would love for that and live for that, but these people cannot do anything, God willing. This is a strong point because security is fundamental for the economy.

One of the means for strength is the issue of oil and gas. The Minister of Energy is with you today. Can you hear me, Minister of Energy? Stop talking to Mr. Jihad; I can see you.

Oil and gas represent enormous wealth. There are people who are trying to spread despair and downplay it. However, all studies, data, and information confirm that, God willing, there is a massive number of resources in the sea.

Oil is being extracted across Occupied Palestine and Egypt. Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece are searching for it along the Syrian coast. It is said that this was one of the main reasons for the war on Syria.

There is no doubt that there is enormous wealth in the Mediterranean, and there is no doubt that this wealth will be a priority. Today, the European decision is decisive to dispense with Russian gas and oil. Even if gas and oil from the Gulf was available, oil and gas from the Mediterranean will be a European priority because transportation and cost will be lower.

Therefore, there is enormous wealth and a market that is ready and eagerly waiting for the much needed gas and oil. This requires serious follow-up.

We did not go to the brink of war and the Lebanese state, including His Excellency the President, the Speaker of Parliament, and the Prime Minister, as well as the Lebanese people did endure the pressures in the past few months and “Israeli” threats, just to rejoice that we delineated the maritime borders and that we can do what we want with Block 9.

This must be pursued on a daily basis and diligently away from all the political problems that exist in the country. The caretaker government, whether there is a president or not, must follow up on this. We must put aside our political differences.

This matter concerns the fate of the Lebanese people and the future of the country. It must be followed up.

As for the blocks, what I know – I hope my information is correct – is that the Ministry of Energy opened the door companies to dig in the rest of the blocks or most of them. It gave a time limit. We must not wait for the companies to come. We have to search for companies so we do not end up with one or two companies that would later impose conditions and percentages that are not suitable for Lebanon.

The file of oil in land must be reopened. Of course, we formed a file and called it the borders and resources file. A study and data were prepared. God willing, it is possible that something will be announced soon regarding this issue, and we will present it to the official authorities and the Ministry of Energy.

We definitely and inevitably have oil in our land, and our facts say that politics have forced it to stop and not despair over the presence of oil in our land. The same is true in Palestine and Syria, as there is exploration and extraction of oil near our borders. This file must be reopened.

Another point of strength is the expatriates. The expatriates are the most important financial source for the livelihood of the Lebanese. Today, they are being subjected to danger, harassment, and American aggression by placing merchants and rich people on the sanctions lists over unjust charges.

They are not Hezbollah’s partners, and their money is not Hezbollah’s. They do not have any financial relationship with Hezbollah or make donations to Hezbollah. It is not required to strike Hezbollah but rather the Lebanese people and the economic situation in Lebanon. This requires the protection of the state, which, unfortunately, is not doing anything.

This is part of the vision, the plan, and the solution. We certainly need administrative reform, an end to waste and corruption, and judicial reform.

But what I want to say is that we must not adopt a one-sector policy. That is, we must not depend on the services sector and neglect the rest. We must work on all the productive sectors, including the agricultural and the industrial sectors.

With our strengths, we can go back to being the top hospital in the region, the top university in the region, the top touristic destination in the region, etc. This is possible, but this needs work. This is not wishful thinking. These are facts.

The last point that I want to conclude with is that the most important thing that we need is political authority and a courageous stance. We want a brave state that makes a stand, is defiant, and makes bold decisions. If we stay like this, then there is a real problem.

We want a state whose leaders, ministers, deputies, and everyone who bears responsibility in it prioritize the public interest over personal interests in the face of threats and sanctions. This is called independence of decision and sovereignty.

Among the conditions for economic advancement is sovereignty and boldness in decision-making. There are donations that we do not accept. It is true that the Americans are preventing, but people are also scared. Why are they scared?

Let us be frank. Let us have the courage to accept donations. Then, we’ll see what will happen and what will the Americans do. We should have courage and willingness to sacrifice.

There are many countries that were sanctioned and the Americans later retreated. Venezuela, for instance. There are many countries in the world. In any case, accepting donations requires courage.

If we wait for the Americans to allow investment into the country, we’ll be waiting for a long time. We need the courage to work with the Chinese.

Brothers and sisters, dear Lebanese people, why are countries in the world allowed to have relations and investments with China while Lebanon is forbidden from doing so? They are preventing you, while the Chinese are ready.

We need courage in dealing with the Syrian displaced file and stop the racism accusations. All the Lebanese are suffering from this file, and we can find a decent solution because we care about the dignity of the displaced Syrians, our people.

When we talk about looking to the East, some mock us, saying that we’ve been talking about this for the past three years and we’ve done nothing.

Give me a state that has the courage to look to the East and has sovereignty and independence of decision. This is a real problem.

In the context of doing whatever pleases the Americans and everything will be resolved, the issue of the resistance, the weapon of the resistance, and the position on "Israel" will be raised here.

Many people theorize that if Lebanon says it is not involved in the conflict with “Israel”, then everything will be resolved – all the while, it is the one attacking, threatening, and has ambitions.

The Lebanese people declared these as our borders, our land borders, while “Israel” still gnawing the Shebaa farms, the Kfar Shuba hills, and part of our waters. The “Israelis” are still attacking our country and threatening it. They – outgoing “Israeli” chief of staff and incoming chief of staff – issue threats against on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, if we resolve this issue with aid, would everything be resolved in Lebanon? Long story short, I invite you to observe the situation in Egypt and Jordan, Jordan in particular, the first country that made peace with the “Israeli” enemy.

It signed the Camp David agreement and is strictly committed to it. Egypt has the best relations with the US and Saudi Arabia. It has the best relations with the Gulf states and it is with the International Monetary Fund. What situation is Egypt in?

Is Lebanon more important to America than Egypt? Is Lebanon more important to Europe than Egypt? Is Lebanon more important to Saudi Arabia than Egypt? Is Lebanon more important to the Gulf than Egypt?

Can’t the Gulf countries come up with $100 billion, $200 billion, $300 billion – let them pretend to be playing a football match – and give it to an Arab country on the verge of collapse?

Unfortunate for us, even though there are great, important, respectable, and international players in Egypt, yet we do not have Ronaldo or Messi. This is a model, and there is no reason to explain it further.

Whereas, if we follow the option that they are talking about, we will not save the economic situation, and we will lose our ability to protect.

Today, Lebanon is a safe country. It is safe not only in terms of internal security, but “Israel” does not dare to attack Lebanon. It does not dare to bomb Lebanon.

Even when they engage in any security work, they are careful not to leave evidence that they are the ones behind it. Who created this? The golden equation created it – the army, the people, and the resistance. But specifically, here, it is the resistance that did this.

What will happen to us when we abandon the resistance in the hope of obtaining aid, loans, and American, Saudi, and Gulf care? Take a look at some countries, including Jordan. Aren't they suffering? Is it part of the axis of resistance? The countries of the Axis of Resistance are suffering – Iran, Syria, the Yemeni people, the Palestinian people, Iraq, other places are beginning to suffer because they refuse to submit to American dictates.

But these countries that are aligned with the Americans, why are they suffering? Why isn’t it providing them with real assistance? When providing them with aid, why do the World Bank and IMF impose humiliating and weakening conditions on them which lead to a gradual collapse? Why?

Because, brothers and sisters, a strong state is not allowed to exist in the region, even if it signed a peace treaty with "Israel", not Egypt or Jordan. Even if it is a reliable ally, they must remain weak and needy, and all the people in our region will continue to run after bread, a tank of diesel, a tin of petrol, medicine, and baby formula.

As a result, we will not have time for the strategic issue, and when we escalate and talk about the Zionist danger, American domination, and Islamic and Christian sanctities in Palestine, they’d ask you what world are you living in?

This is intended, even in Egypt, Jordan, Sudan. So, our choices must be clear.

I will conclude with politics in a couple of words.

That is why when we talk about the president of the republic, we are not looking for a president for the next six years. The next six years are fateful for the lives of the Lebanese, Lebanon, the Lebanese state, and the Lebanese people.

If we continue in the same way, the country is on the verge of collapse, if it not already. There is no time. It is not a matter of electing any president for the next six years to occupy the top Christian post. This is simplifying the matter.

We want a president and a government that comes with him to save the country. I will say something different than what I said earlier since some people only heard the phrase “that does not stab the resistance in the back".

I do not know if I mentioned this in a previous address, but I said it in an internal session to our friend, Minister Gebran Bassil.

I told him, “We want a president who, if the Americans blow on him, wouldn’t flutter from the Baabda Palace to the Mediterranean.” This means that we want a strong president [able to withstand American pressure].

We want a brave president who is ready to make sacrifices and who is not concerned with the American threats when national interests are threatened. We have such models, and we mentioned them in the internal meetings.

Therefore, people must be patient. It is easy to elect a president to serve for the coming six years. We are looking for a president of this kind. That’s a start.

Of course, we must also look for a government and ministers of this kind – not a minister or president who’d later say I cannot do this because they called me from the American embassy –they asked me not to do this, this is not allowed, etc.

They interfere in everything. The forces that claim to be sovereign know this and remain as silent as the grave because sovereignty is an empty slogan in public.

We believe this is a main condition for economic advancement in the next stage.

In any case, the Consultative Center will continue its consultations, studies, data, and proposals in cooperation with everyone, and God willing, we will all cooperate with each other. The will, to the correct vision, to the plan, program, and seriousness in work.

I tell you there are great hopes and strengths. The Lebanese are able to rise and overcome this situation. They need the will, the right vision, a plan, a program, and seriousness in work.

Thank you for attending. God willing, the Consultative Center and this march will carry on for the next 30, 90, and 120 years.

May God’s peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you.