Hizbullah Secretary-General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: An exclusive interview with As-Safir- Part 2-2
Hizbullah Secretary-General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: An exclusive interview with As-Safir- Part 2-2
Sayyed Nasrallah: Utmost Support To the Army and Its Steadfast Creed
Q: What is your evaluation of the Saudi donation to the Lebanese Army via the French?
A: In principle and apart from the donating side, we back any unconditional support presented to the Lebanese Army. We always used to call on states and governments to offer aid so that the army acquires such aid.
At one stage, we also sought our friends to achieve this goal. Even after Syria withdrew from Lebanon, Syria offered aid to the Lebanese Army. The Islamic Republic in Iran always used to announce its willingness to do that; however, the problem here was in the Lebanese political decision. Some would refuse; others would show reservations- I understand the reason behind such reservations; the reason is fear from the Americans and some Arab states.
Anyway, in principle, we support and back any aid to the Lebanese Army and any contribution to strengthen the Lebanese Army. So, I won't say we don't have any reservations as this is an inappropriate word.
This is on one hand. On the other hand, this aid came from Saudi Arabia via the French. We will not comment on this via the media because we don't know all the details: Are there conditions or not? What are the considerations of this step or this initiative?
I do not want to mention the existence of conditions as there might not be any conditions. I rather say: We do not have enough information to judge accordingly. Still, we overcame this issue. For example, the ministerial statement mentioned this donation. We did not object. The future and the results of this donation will appear with time.
Some might hail the results before they take place. Some might show doubts. I don't want to hail nor to show doubts. I only say that we have to wait for the results of this step. Later, the kind of these weapons, capabilities, and equipment which will be offered to the Lebanese Army will be revealed. Then, we can judge the nature of this step. However, I will stress again on the principle: With the exception of "Israel," any state can indeed offer aid to strengthen the Lebanese Army as that would be a good step.
Q: Is there any fear of any harm befalling the doctrine of the army?
A: We are not worried at all. Some things were said in some media outlets or behind the scenes which are valueless in our viewpoint. It's because the case of the Lebanese Army is not that those who own its arms and ammunition rule; yet rather, it's the national doctrine and the political decision that rule it.
The national doctrine of this institution is crystal clear, and it has proved that through its performance, conduct, and the sacrifices it offered all throughout the past years. The political decision, especially in the framework of the current cabinet or any cabinet that would be formed in the future based on harmony or on the participation of the various forces, guarantees that no security or military institution be exploited by any side. This is an opportunity, too, to laud the efforts and sacrifices of the Lebanese Army and the wisdom and bravery with which this institution deals with the current events.
Q: What about the performance of the resistance and its relation with the army in the region of southern Litany?
A: In the region of southern Litany, there is absolute Lebanese commitment, whether on the official level or at the level of the resistance, to the recommendation of UN Resolution 1701. The resistance has no armed appearances in southern Litany. It is committed to this, and it is convinced in it, too. The ties with the Lebanese Army are excellent in that area. There is no problem at all.
Q: What about the ties with the UNIFIL?
A: The ties with the UNIFIL are good. At times, there are some problems between some residents of the villages and the UNIFIL, and that is addressed whether through direct contact between the UNIFIL, the mayors and the sides present on the ground, or through the Lebanese Army because the army guarantees addressing these incidents. At times, these problems are not caused by political reasons or come as a result of a political stance from the UNIFIL or a popular stance.
At times, it comes as a result of the conduct of some individuals. For example, they might enter to some inner neighborhoods or take shots of some houses or centers. People react to that in a definite way. At other times, they might not observe the customs and traditions of these villages; however, later, things would be addressed. At times, the UNIFIL leadership or officer might apologize for the mistakes made. However, in general, the relations are good and natural with the UNIFIL, and I don't think that they might have a negative impact on the situation in southern Litany.
Q: MP Walid Jumblat complained in the latest dialogue session that thousands of soldiers were withdrawn from the region of southern Litany to be deployed in other areas where the army needs them. Is there any fear on this level?
A: There is no fear at all. If there is an urgent need for the army in other areas, there won't be a problem in the South. Now, the reality of the fact in the South and not only in the region of southern Litany- and as a result of the state of political calmness, political communication, general harmony, and the remoteness of the South from many of the contradictions and sensitivities on one hand, and the existence of the resistance and the balance of fear that exists in the region on another hand- might make up for that. What is important is that the army remains in the South. As for the number, it might not be crucial at this stage because the elements of calmness are abundant.
Q: Might recruitment in the army be a solution for this problem?
A: We are with what enables the army to execute all the missions it is responsible for and which are added on its shoulders too, in fact. Because it is an institution which has the highest level of support, it therefore assures the Lebanese citizens.
We back such measures, whether they are limited to transferring brigades, squads or soldiers from one region to another, or through recruiting. It seems that this is a national need, to guarantee the required number of recruits to the Lebanese Army, so that it would be able to perform its missions in the South, the North, Bekaa, as well as in the other Lebanese areas without its presence in one area influencing its presence in another.
Sayyed Nasrallah: Syrian Emigrants' Issue Serious
Q: The Syrian emigrants pose a worrying element to Hizbullah. It has never been announced that Hizbullah has a clear approach to this issue.
A: The Syrian emigrants to Lebanon pose a national problem; it is not a problem to a definite side such as Hizbullah or other parties. This issue must be discussed on the national level. In the former governments, some discussions were carried out to this effect. Today, this issue has become among the great challenges faced by the current cabinet. Now, we will see to what extent the discussions in the current cabinet will be logical and objective. However, under the former cabinet in which the March 14 Bloc did not participate, I do not deny that the issue became a subject for bids as a result of discrepancies in political stance.
This is a very important file. There are very dangerous indications, even on the financial, economic, and social levels as well as the security level. Perhaps the security issue is the least dangerous as compared to the social, financial, and economic issues. The security issue may be controlled one way or another through the army and the security forces, and through the uncovering of any political forces of any violations. As such, the security repercussions might be addressed. However, the other repercussions are crucial and serious.
During the discussions that used to take place from time to time, some pushed towards constructing camps. Essential forces in Lebanon had reservations on the construction of camps although, now, there are actual but unofficial camps. Opening the gate before official and legal camps may lead to several risks, including the transfer of these camps to military bases for the Syrian Opposition as what happened in other countries such as Turkey, Jordan, and other places. That would pose a serious threat to the security situation. There is a Lebanese division on the stance on the Opposition.
Among the other risks is the transfer of these camps to permanent camps. What evoke these concerns are the statements we heard lately. Some embassies and sides are even talking about the ability or the supposition of nationalizing the Syrians in the countries they immigrated to. Can Lebanon tolerate that? Those who are suggesting such ideas think as such. So, that is believable because their mentality and the way they deal with many files in the region confirm that.
In our viewpoint, the main problem after all is that from a logistic perspective - meaning in the sense of providing lodging - Lebanon may temporarily tolerate the emigrants.
Many of these emigrants are now living in houses, which either they rented or were rented for them. Others are living in camps. The main problem was and still is in financing - meaning, providing Lebanon with the financial aids that enable it to provide an acceptable lodging for the Syrian emigrants in the various Lebanese regions, and to provide them with the necessary needs until other alternatives- which we might talk about in a while- are made available.
So, the presence of Syrian emigrants in the various Lebanese regions and providing them with lodgings - whether they rented houses or houses were rented for them - are taking place. That is taking place now in the North. I know that in Bekaa, there are many houses which are now resided in by Syrian emigrants. In the South, too, many lodgings were provided. The main problem is in financing. The idea of camps is always controversial, and it also has risks which we cannot overlook. We must not simplify this issue.
Now, there are several alternative choices, and this needs the cooperation of the Lebanese cabinet and the Syrian cabinet. I believe that the Syrian cabinet has shown its willingness to help in this perspective on more than one occasion. Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim, had informed several political leaderships of that. Now, there are several areas in Syria which are secure. In many areas, there are reconciliations, and in these reconciliations, the cases of fighters who had fought in the past three years are being settled. These fighters, whose cases were settled whether in the outskirts of Damascus, the city of Homs, the Province of Homs, Aleppo or in other areas, are now with their families in these towns and areas.
We may suppose that the conditions of the families of the emigrants are less serious than these fighters whose cases were settled. Consequently, taking the outskirts of Damascus as an example, we find that the cases of complete cities were settled as well as in Homs. So, it is very possible that through joint Lebanese-Syrian efforts and official cooperation between the two countries, that the cases of many of the emigrant families in Lebanon can be settled. Guarantees or the required assuring elements may be offered, and thus, they may return to their villages, towns, and cities.
If their houses were ruined or destroyed due to the war, camps may be constructed for them inside the Syrian territories. This is a logical and acceptable solution. My evidence is that some political forces would say: They are afraid to return. However, is their situation worse that the fighters who fought in the past years, and whose cases were settled in reconciliations in this or that city? This is the logical solution.
Sayyed Nasrallah: For Imposing the Reverence of State
Q: Does the spread of the phenomenon of arbitrary arms in every Lebanese village and city as is the case today, serve the idea of the resistance and its arms or not?
A: The problem of arms that are spread in Lebanese villages and towns is an old problem. It existed even before Hizbullah and the resistance (the Islamic Resistance, in particular) existed. It even existed before the Palestinian resistance came to Lebanon because some try to blame the Palestinian resistance for the phenomenon of the spread of arms.
Arms existed in villages, towns and cities since tens of years ago and for a long time. Controlling these arms is very important as it serves the idea of the resistance, and the social security as well as the national security, and as it limits the losses of the Lebanese on all levels.
I believe that the way to achieve this is, indeed, not through disarming the Lebanese because this is an unrealistic aim. Even in one of the national dialogue sessions, this question was posed to the political forces who always talk about arms and raise their voice against them: Whose supporters do not own arms in their houses? The answer is clear.
So, the treatment of this matter is not in disarming the Lebanese from the arms in houses; the solution is to impose the reverence of the state. When the state is revered and the army and security forces have a forceful presence, and when any security disorder is addressed, and the wanted and violators are arrested as well as the thieves, robbers, and aggressors, these arms would then be under control, for sure.
However, if all of these violations were covered and the state did not assume its responsibilities, then these arms would pose a threat. Yet, if the state assumed its responsibilities, I don't believe that these arms would pose any threat or big problem. What is important is that the state assumes its responsibilities. The security plans that are executed now, the decisions of the cabinet, and the various political forces' covering of these plans are important steps in this domain.
Q: Does accusing Hizbullah with crippling, or with having interest in vacuum and crippling institutions serve the resistance?
A: That harms the resistance. The resistance is a defense power to Lebanon as well as a protection power and a liberation power. Consequently, when there is a state, a cabinet, and institutions in Lebanon that observe all the affairs of the nation and the Lebanese on the political, legal, judicial, security, social, economic, financial, and living levels, that would be a great service to the resistance.
In its general idea, the resistance is not only a military force. For the resistance to carry on in performing its missions, it needs a strong society. Unemployment, poverty, internal struggles, internal contests, sporadic clashes in this street or in that neighborhood, and internal enmities influence the project of the resistance.
Q: Your Eminence! In 2006, you said something along the lines of an unjust state being easier than having no state at all.
A: I assert what I said in 2006. We are serious in seeking to build the state, strengthen the state, and in the state assuming all of its responsibilities. We are not a substitute for the state in any matter. Even on the resistance level, I reiterate what I said on September 22nd, 2006 in the ceremony of Divine Victory in Dahiyeh: When our state becomes capable and strong and has the possibility to defend Lebanon, we, in the resistance, will go back to our schools, universities, religious institutions and fields. This is the future defense strategy. There is no other solution, and we support this.
On the contrary, all the accusations are groundless. It is known in Lebanon that we are the side that offers the greatest number of concessions for the interest of finding agreements and settlements, and forming cabinets and the like; and we are still as such.
Q: Is it true that the current state suits you more than a strong capable non-sectarian state?
A: I care most for a strong, capable and fair state- with ‘fair' meaning that it deals equally with all citizens apart from there sectarian and regional affiliations. As for a non-sectarian state, a sectarian state, a citizenship state or a human state, many such major discussions took place.
At one stage, we supported the cancellation of political sectarianism; we called for establishing a non-sectarian regime. However, later on and through openness, the dialogues, and the discussions, we found that such an issue causes concern to a vast section of the Lebanese people, especially to most of the Christians- I am not saying to all of the Christians. Some Christians want the cancelling of political sectarianism apart from the risks that they evoke.
However, through a follow-up, we found that in fact, most of the Christians do not agree on this issue and have fears and concerns. Thus, we say that we must take these fears into consideration; therefore, no one must rush to take any hasty steps in this direction. So, if we didn't want to talk theories, but rather wanted to deal with the status quo in the country, the facts do not indicate such a possibility, neither in the near future nor in the middle scope. Thus, the priority now is the rebuilding of the state and the institutions, and the assembly and the agreement of the Lebanese- even if it is on the grounds of a sectarian system- until we reach a stage in which there is security and stability in Lebanon... until we reach the minimum of addressing the current files in Lebanon; the minimum of having the Lebanese open up to each other; and the minimum of addressing the current fears. Thereof, I can head to in-depth solutions.
Two years ago, I talked about a constituent conference. Up until now, and though we later pulled out of the idea, there are still people who respond to it. Last week, someone took the platform to discuss the constituent conference. This expresses the depth of the fears and concerns that some Lebanese classes nurture.
Sayyed Nasrallah: Situation Does Not Help to Develop Regime
Q: Everyone is afraid? Of what? Is the Taif Accord exhausted now?
A: Everyone agrees that there is a problem and deals with things accordingly; still, they stay away from dialogue. Moreover, talking about developing the Taif Accord and not about a constituent. conference leads to political infidelity,- and this is an issue, and is even among some of the major forces in the country. This is a real problem. In order to stay away from being accused of political infidelity- in all occasions or in most occasions, you have to assert your commitment to the Taif Accord; if you only say: "There is none but One God," you would be accused of infidelity.
In light of being affected by regional situations, the Lebanese political status is very far from in-depth solutions. That's because the entire region is tense, worried, conflicting, and moving towards ambiguous horizons. Political forces in Lebanon are affected day after day. This is an additional factor that indicates that now is not the time for in-depth solutions. Indeed, time is being wasted from the Lebanese, but the conditions now are unfavorable.
Q: Is Hizbullah covering up any cases of corruption in Lebanon?
A: Hizbullah does not cover up any case of corruption in Lebanon. Hizbullah calls on the judicial authority to assume all its responsibilities towards pursuing and fighting all the cases of corruption. All that might be said about Hizbullah is protecting or preventing- all of this is not true at all.
Q: What about the expired medicines?
A: We are a large party; at least tens of thousands are Hizbullah members. Moreover, Hizbullah is 32-years-old. Let them provide us with one case in which one of our members was involved in corruption. For 32 years, and with tens of thousands of members, there was only once a case of expired medicines, which you are inquiring about.
Still, the concerned person, Minister Mohammad Fneish, issued a statement in which he said we assume the responsibility and the concerned man is now in prison. He was not covered up by anyone at a time when there are senior counterfeiters in the country- he was not approached by anyone. Still, when that man was accused and found guilty, he was jailed. He is now in prison. This is a precedent.
Has it ever happened that when the brother or one of the relatives of a minister in any of the successive Lebanese cabinets was accused of such a violation of the law, the minister and would still issue a statement? He, himself, even handed his brother to the judiciary courts. I don't remember that anything of this sort ever took place. I don't know of any such precedent. That means that Hizbullah does not cover up corruption at all. It is impossible that Hizbullah would ever cover up corruption.
Q: It is said that Hizbullah would be defeated in case corruption finds its way to it?
A: Hizbullah is keen to protect its ranks from corruption. Thus, we are decisive in dealing with these issues.
Sayyed Nasrallah: We Broke the idea that "Israeli army is undefeatable
Q: Did Hizbullah lose a chance following the liberation in 2000 and the 2006 victory on the level of the Arab world?
A: Especially following the 2006 [victory], some friends tackled some points with me. They had some ideas in mind, which they expressed in the words that Hizbullah might be another Jamal Abdul Nasser... They told us: You as Hizbullah and the resistance in Lebanon can play a role of such a magnitude on the level of the Arab world. This was expressed by other friends too.
I had no illusions in this perspective. I told them that was not true. This is an untrue comparison. It is an emotional comparison in fact.
They were talking about a great Arab Leader - Jamal Abdul Nasser - the president of the greatest Arab state. That state comprises half of the Arabs. It is a state that has capacities, an army, and many capabilities. These friends are making an incorrect comparison. Has this resistance been the leader of Lebanon, still the comparison would not have been true; what if we are talking about a party which is part of the Lebanese people. There is no point of resemblance. Hizbullah is not a state. Lebanon is not a great state, a great regional state, or a country that has considerable materialistic and human capabilities.
The whole story is that the moral value of Hizbullah has crossed borders owing to the achievements of 2000 and 2006.
Hizbullah is widely respected in the Arab and Islamic world because it refuted an almost fixed idea and presented an example.
They have been working on this idea for 40 or 50 years. This idea is that "Israel" is an undefeatable army, and that we have no power and no choice other than negotiations, peacemaking, and concessions. Hizbullah refuted this idea.
This is the scale of the story. Our value in the Arab and Islamic world does not overstep respect. As for talking about Hizbullah's administration and capabilities to make changes in the Arab world, Arab states, and Arab peoples; or that it can intervene here or there to change equations, that is impossible. This is very much understood and does not need to be discussed.
(Some among us said kindly: Abdul Nasser dispatched his army to Yemen, and you dispatched your army to Syria.
Sayyed Nasrallah answered on the spot: Syria is another thing. Then he carried on his previous answer saying: )
So the human and financial capabilities do not tolerate that.
I don't believe there was a chance that Hizbullah has lost, because I do not believe there was a chance in first place. Our idea was to employ the respect we received to the interest of enhancing the culture of the resistance in the Arab and Islamic world.
Hereof comes our openness to the national and Islamic forces. We do not interfere with the other side. What is thier ideology? What is their mentality? What is their internal political trend? All our concern is that these are against "Israel"; thus we enhance our relations with them.
For example, in 2000, the Intifada in Palestine was born. It broke out three months following the liberation. It was influenced by this liberation on the Lebanese front.
In Palestine, it was possible that Hizbullah has a Palestinian jihadi faction which it would train, arm, finance, and view as its Palestinian extension. Personally, many people talked to me to this effect. Moreover, young Palestinian men appeared on satellite TV outlets and said: We trust you; we trust your party; and we want to work with you directly.
We refused as we do not support this idea at all because it was a wrong idea. In fact, it does not serve the cause because it increases division amid the Palestinian people. those people do not need new factions; they rather need that these factions be grouped together. Consequently, there are Islamic and national factions. Whoever needs to help can get enrolled in these factions, which are already existing resistance forces that have history and are wide spread.
In fact, Hizbullah- even in the closest square to which it considers itself undoubtedly concerned about- [that's because] we might discuss everything [we find ourselves concerned in] except "Israel" and Palestine. They are undisputable to us because we say that Hizbullah is a resistance that resists the "Israeli" occupation and the "Israeli" scheme. We did not form a faction in Palestine, and we did not deal with the Palestinian friends in the sense that we want to be the leadership of the Palestinian people or the Palestinian street. Besides it was unlikely that we think of a project of this magnitude at the level of the Arab world. Thus the comparison in this perspective is out of place.
Yes, we obtained great respect. Now if we discuss [the Hizbullah situation] in the past and that of today - in the sense that our flags and photos were being raised but now they are not anymore -, we see that such took place when we took our stance from the events in Syria - and not the moment we intervened militarily in Syria.
Syria to us is something else. Still, it was not acceptable that we take a political stance on Syria. When we said that we call for a political solution, for dialogue between the regime and the Opposition, for a political discourse, and for reform, we were dropped out because we stood against the project in which all sides meddled, with the aim of eliminating Syria.
Here we have to consider things accurately. I say that it is not the people who are punishing us in the Arab world; it is rather some of the elites and political forces, at the time the popular disposition is changing. In my viewpoint and according to my information, contacts and through some delegations which visited or visit some Arab states, the popular Arab disposition is now clearly changing.
The criticism which was made against us was not because we went to fight in Syria. We were criticized rather because we were supposed to declare a stance against President Bashar Assad and the regime in Syria from the very first day. That would have been to whose interest? To the interest of what project that would have been? That is not important. We were supposed to take the stance that support their interests.
Then the military intervention increased controversy on our stance. In fact, the military intervention was a detail; however the problem with us was in the political stance.
Q: What may be done at the level of the nation?
A: I believe there is an indispensable stage represented in an outbreak that can't be stopped. Even if there is a revered and obeyed leader for the nation, the situation which some countries are experiencing would carry on for a period of time one way or another.
If we are to prioritize things, the priority now is to reduce the losses. Here, I am talking at the level of the Arab and Islamic world should there be governments or states or anyone who is able to have an influence one way or another.
For instance, if Iraq rushed towards partition, whoever is able to help against the partitioning of Iraq must exert all possible efforts. If Iran can help and is convinced in that, it will help.
The same applies to Syria. It must be sought that Syria won't go towards partition.
The case of Yemen is very serious. This stance is not out of courtesy. We are not with partitioning Yemen. Now if Yemen was made a united state or to a state that constitutes provinces, that would be possible, though it might be somehow risky. However, at least it is better than dividing Yemen to two or three "Yemens" which is very dangerous.
Therefore, priority now is to reduce losses and stop the collapse. It is similar to a military equation. The first step the aggressed has to take is to safeguard the area it exists in, so that it won't lose more land. Afterwards, it would think of how to regain what it lost. The same applies to politics.
This requires much effort. In some cases, calmness is recommended through reminding of states that were ruined. Voices are being raised in places where no collapse of state or society has taken place yet. If it is possible to influence some forces, that must be sought.
So, required now is limiting losses be it on the level of partition, chaos and the spread of sedition to other places. The priority now is stability, in addition to a calm call for reforms because going to confrontation might lead to division of the country.
The second point is to seek joining parts.
There might be a mentality of reprisal and revenge, and a process of holding each other accountable for the stances we took during the past three years. Mutual accusations of committing mistakes also come in the framework of a contest that was and is still taking place. This covers all places in Lebanon, Palestine, and the entire region... In any place where parts may be joined, the initiative must be taken to do that.
In this context, if I was asked if I support a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, I would say that I support such a rapprochement though I am convinced that Saudi Arabia had a very negative role in what has occurred and is occurring in the Arab and Islamic world. It also has a major role in what is taking place because of its adoption and promotion of this ideology.
However, with all of the past and the current reading, the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, also the Iranian rapprochement with the various Gulf states are useful.
As for the political forces, the people's return to talk with each other and to make discussions and revisions is favorable even if visions differ. That's because reorganizing differences on the basis of agreed upon priorities and squares of disagreements would help us against going towards absolute enmity, hatred, and divergence. All of that might take place.
I believe that following this outbreak, things will carry on in this way for a year or two or three or four pursuant to the laws of history and the experiences of human societies. I am not saying poetry. In fact, from the recesses of these sufferings awareness becomes greater. Experience is accumulating. Convictions will be born, and these convictions will differ from those which were three years ago. However, this needs time until we are able to step out from the situation we are living in.
I can't foretell the future because the international changes are very drastic too.
You might ask me what might take place in the Arab world in the coming few years. What can we do for that? However, the correct question is: Where to is the world moving? Where to is Europe heading? Where to is the USA moving? The situation is open to all probabilities, and it will have very great repercussions on our region.
If every loyal man in this nation whether he has an official, intellectual, political, party, resistance, or any other position does everything he can do, we may be able to reduce losses and to decrease enmities. Here, I am not saying imaginary things. The duty of everyone is to do his obligations, no matter if he will succeed or not.
Sayyed Nasrallah: Takfiri and "Israeli" Threat Alike
Q: In the culture of the resistance and Hizbullah, the Takfiri threat and the "Israeli" threat are correlated. When you talk about Syria in light of what "Israel" hides, that might mean that the Takfiri threat comes before the "Israeli" threat.
A: To me, the Takfiri threat does not come before. Rather, they are alike- and, more precisely- they coincide; for we can't say that the Takfiri threat is postponed. The Takfiri threat was always a threat; yet, according to us and to our square, it was postponed.
For example, in Iraq, it was an actual threat. Ayman Zawahiri says that they staged 4000 martyrdom operations -as he says in his own words - in Iraq. More than 3900 operations were not against the Americans. Suppose that 100 operations were against the Americans - and I don't suppose that the number of anti-American operations would be that much - then the larger number would be against Shiites, Sunnites, Christians, Kurds, and the other components of the Iraqi people.
Ask the Jamaa Islamia in Lebanon (which is the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood), about their brethren in Iraq- the Iraqi Islamic Party (which is the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood). I have met with their leaderships and they told me that most of the leaderships and cadres of the Iraqi Islamic Party were killed by Al-Qaeda and Salafis through assassination operations.
Moreover, Al-Qaeda also killed a great number of Sunnite and Shiite scholars. Perhaps it even killed more Sunnite that Shiite leaders.
The Takfiri threat led to a catastrophe in Iraq. What is the problem now in Iraq? Explosions and suicide attacks.
What is the problem in Afghanistan? Who killed the senior Afghani Jihad leaders? The Islamic movements are proud of the Afghani Jihad for defeating the Soviet Union.
Ahmad Shah Masoud was killed through a suicide attack carried out by Al-Qaeda under the pretext of being a military leader. What about president Rabbani who was playing the role of the sheikh of reconciliation between Taliban and the Afghani regime? They killed him, too.
They are a true and a serious threat in Pakistan and Somalia. They pose a threat wherever they are. However, in Lebanon, they were not a direct threat at the beginning. Now, they pose a direct threat. When I talk about Lebanon, I mean Lebanon and Syria as the Lebanese-Syrian file is one.
Thus, we view this threat as a true, actual, and daily threat just like the "Israeli" threat is true, actual, and daily.
The "Israeli" threat is an existential threat. The "Israelis" now are deterred; however, they once had the aspirations to take our land from us and ‘throw us out', and this still is their project for the future. These Takfiri groups also pose an existential threat.
In 2006, all the givens indicates that one of the goals of the war then was to achieve a demographic change in the entire country. These Takfiri groups think in this very mentality; it is this very mentality: exterminating the other.
Thus, I do not place the Takfiri threat before the "Israeli" threat. However, today, I say that there are two true, serious, grave existential threats, and they must be confronted accordingly. "Israel" is not a threat to us only; it is a threat to the entire region. The Takfiri trend is a threat to the entire region, too.
Q: What is your evaluation of the magnitude of this trend in Syria and Lebanon?
A: No one has information on this issue. Some regional states have information, but they are incomplete because every state facilitated either its citizens, or by offering foreign help.
The Europeans have figures because every state knows the number of its citizens through surveys. However, who counts those who came from the Arab world? There are no precise numbers. However, they may be assessed at tens of thousands of non-Syrian foreigners.
Q: Is there an incubating environment for those in Lebanon since they overt in Syria?
A: Even in Syria, it is being realized with time that they don't have an incubating environment there. In the entire Arab and Islamic world and even when talking about Sunnite Muslims, they do not tolerate this fanaticism and extremism- this is peculiar to the general Sunnite disposition. I doubt in the existence of an incubating environment. Well, when these groups are employed in a particular atmosphere, things get mixed up- as what happened in Syria. When the various states adopted these groups, their only concern was who would hold arms and fight the regime in Syria; they did not care whether they were from Al-Qaeda or a Salafi, or from the Muslim Brotherhood, or a Sufi, or a nationalist, or a secular- they had no problem in that.
Q: Can we say that they made use of the existence of this regime in Syria to recruit and mobilize them?
A: That is easy; a pretext may be found anywhere. When the people of such a mentality differ with you, if you are an Alawi, they say they are fighting the Nusayris; if you are a Shiite, they would say, they are fighting the Rafida; if you are a Sunnite, they would say they are fighting the disbelieving tyrant.
It is easy for them to accuse others of apostasy and atheism. Now, the "Islamic State of Iraq and Levant" [ISIL] accused the "Islamic Front" of apostasy and atheism, and vice versa. Both groups belong to the same intellect, the same sect, the same path, and the same organization.
It is always easy to find a pretext always in whatever square.
I am waiting for the role of the Arab regimes in this perspective. I believe that the latest Saudi stance is very helpful because this mentality is from there, it is financed there, and the fatwas are issued there. So, if the fountainhead- for several, different reasons-took a stand, at last: to stop the flow of money, change the fatwas, and change the media and religious speeches, that would make a major change.
In my viewpoint, the Sunnite atmosphere is not an incubating environment for the Takfiri groups. Even in Lebanon, the scale of these small groups in the Sunnite milieu is very limited. In case elections were carried out, their true scale would be revealed. However, these groups were employed. Some exploited these groups, financed them, protected them, opened media outlets for them, and employed them in order to achieve definite goals. Thus, these groups are now living in a state of utmost concern because of the Saudi stance and its repercussions on the stance in Lebanon. So, if these groups really had a popular incubating environment, then we must have worried.
This Takfiri trend has no future in the Arab world because it does not have a project.
Q: Without mentioning names- when the regime in any state is changed, what would the people be seeking?
A: They would be seeking justice, fighting illiteracy, providing food, addressing the crisis of unemployment as well as providing security. The same applies to the national stance; they would be seeking an acceptable national stance - so as not to say an advanced stance.
This trend does not have any project or answers. Thus, I decisively say that this trend does not have a wide existence in the Islamic world apart from the regional and international employment and investment. They do not have an incubating environment, and they do not have a future because they do not have a project.
Sayyed Nasrallah: Palestine is Our Cause, Resistance is Not Sectarian
Q: What was the aim of the speech, "We, Shiites, do not give up Palestine?"
A: This speech had two messages: The message was to the Shiites, themselves, whom some try to terrorize and provoke, and to preoccupy in more than one Islamic and Arab country as well as targeting them with explosions and suicide attacks, and to change the ‘identity' of the enemy according to them.
Thus consequently, they are trying to keep them away from Palestine and the Palestinian cause. Moreover, they are trying to find psychological barriers between them and Palestine, the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian cause.
The other message is to all those who want to keep this section of the Arab and Islamic world away from the Palestinian cause. It is to those who want to tell us: You have nothing to do with Palestine; Palestine and the Palestinian cause are the cause for a particular section of people or for a particular sect in the Islamic nation.
We want to tell them via this message: Accuse us of whatever you want. Depict us as you like. The genocides taking place in some place in the Islamic world will never prevent us from remaining concerned with the Palestinian cause which we defend and are committed to.
It is a message that goes in both directions: it is directed to the Shiites direction as well as to the general public. I believe that this is still an important message which must be asserted.
My word does not have a sectarian or a factional background. The resistance in Lebanon never once acted or talked with a sectarian background.
Source: As-Safir newspaper, translated by Al-Ahed news