Sayyed Hachem Safieddine, Chairman of the Executive Council of Hezbollah in Lebanon, commemorated the 25th of May the Resistance and Liberation day by saying that the Zionist entity is unable until now to repair it losses at the moral, military and combating levels after their defeat in the 2006 war.
He says the liberation of South Lebanon in the year 2000 is a true nightmare that hit the Israeli military, political and security leaderships and this nightmare still entrenched within their conscience, their culture, and their military and security institutions.
“Our perception of the interests of both the Israelis and the Americans indicates that now is not the time for a new war,” Sayyed Safieddine told Khamenei.ir.
Sayyed Safieddine emphasized that “Ayatollah Sayed Imam Ali Kkamenei reassured us that victory will be on our side and his words had a great impact on us all and on the souls of the mujahedeen (resistance fighters).” His eminence also declared that Ayatollah Khamenei always envisions the future with optimism and constantly promises that our region will retain self-determination and revert to its people and that the day will come when there would no longer be an “Israel” and when the US hegemony on this region will end.
The following is a transcript of the recorded interview with Sayyed Hachem Safieddine Chairman of the Executive Council of Hezbollah in Lebanon exclusively for Khamenei.ir
Section One: Hezbollah v/s the Israel Entity
Q: Commemorating the Resistance and Liberation day of May 25, 2000, how do you assess the position of the Islamic Resistance Hezbollah after 16 years of ending the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon knowing that their withdrawal is still incomplete?
A: In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. After 16 years of the liberation of South Lebanon and some occupied Lebanese lands, facts have proven that the Israeli entity has faced a big defeat and was unable until now to repair it losses at the moral, military and combating levels. The proof of this is what happened in the year 2006. The Israeli entity is still overwhelmed by the victory of the year 2000, which was followed by the victory of June 2006. The Zionist entity still feels till this day that it is incapable of encroaching on Lebanon as it did in the past. And at the moment in which the Zionists find the circumstances possible to defeat the resistance in Lebanon, it will not hesitate to target the resistance. Despite carrying all the reasons according to our enemy’s logic, and I am not justifying for them, to launch a war against the resistance, the Israeli entity is not doing so. Therefore the Israeli enemy is suppressed and still lives through the harsh moments of defeat. Until today in their political analysis, military, security, and strategic studies and even when they talk about the major challenges facing the Zionist entity, they place the resistance at the top of their list of challenges. This proves that they are still living through this nightmare. Therefore, the liberation of South Lebanon in the year 2000 is a true nightmare that hit the Israeli military, political and security leaderships and this nightmare still entrenched within their conscience, in their culture, and in their military and security institutions. In return, the resistance is becoming stronger and more visible. It declares its intentions and always does what it declares. We experienced several ordeals during the past years when the enemy would try to test our readiness and the resistance proved to be prepared and present. The resistance will always be there for its people and its supporters and it reassures all the Lebanese public that the Resistance maintains tangible professionalism that protects the country and has proven this fact by providing experiences and models renowned all over the world. Hence, on the one hand the Israeli entity is still living the impasse, and on the other hand, the resistance has enhanced its strength, enriched its expertise and became heavily armed. We have enough pride in the power recognized by our enemy.
Q: Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in a speech in March 2016 eliminated the possibility of any Israeli war against Lebanon in the short term, noting that the Zionist entity does not carry out any military move without the American approval, yet in Mid April 2016, US signaled that it might increase military aid to Israel in a ‘largest single pledge in history’ from $3.1 billion to a probable $5 billion boost in military aid. Isn’t that a green light from Washington and an approval for a huge war to be waged against Lebanon in the near future?
A: On the contrary, the fact that the US is willing to increase military aid to the Zionist entity proves that the Americans only want to soothe the Israelis so as not to ruin the region, since if the US agenda does not include war, then the US might become more generous with the financial aid and the armaments only to further mollify their Israeli ally keep them away from any adventure; that is in some cases and not always. That is first. Second, it is true, the Israeli entity cannot launch any war against Lebanon without the consent, the support and the signature of the US, with the exception of the 2006 war which was the opposite case where the Israeli entity wanted to go through the war while the US administration went along with their Israeli partners. During the 2006 war, the Israeli entity didn’t ask for permission to attack Lebanon. That specific war had its own conditions at the level of the American-Israeli relationship and its results were disastrous for the Zionist entity. Therefore the existence of financial support is to boost the superiority of the Zionist entity psychologically. As if the US is telling the Israelis that it is true you have lost facing the Resistance in Lebanon but we shall increase our support for you to prove to you this supremacy and be it at the psychological level and at the level of at least convinces your people of this supremacy. Third, we knew exactly what is happening in the region and not only in the case of Lebanon versus the Zionist entity, but also in all what is going on in the region that the Israeli entity is a strategic ally and a key ally. It is always in the higher interest of all US administrations to extend the Zionist entity with more experiences, armaments and financial support and this is not an exception. The increase in the amount of money being given to Israel by the US might be the result of sensing of the immense nature of the risks facing the Zionist entity after all the recent variables hitting the region one of which is the development and growth of the strength of the Islamic Resistance. And finally, if the US wanted war or if the Israelis wanted to engage in war with US approval, they would have their own accounts associated with their interests in the region. We believe we are now at a moment where the decision of waging war on Lebanon is not yet made. Our perception of the interests of both the Israelis and the Americans indicates that now is not the time for a new war. At the same time, when our enemies feel that they can achieve their goals, they would hurry to do so without hesitation. But in our conviction and our logic, the deterrent force of the resistance is the first preventive measure against any war at this stage.
Q: Hezbollah has managed in the past through its achievements and capabilities to convince the Zionist entity that any war it launches against Lebanon will be very costly for the Israelis, however after Hezbollah’s engagement in the war against terrorism inside Syria, the Israeli entity has been claiming that Hezbollah has become weaker at the southern border and their evidence relies in their success to target and assassinate several Hezbollah commanders in the recent years. How hard would it be for Hezbollah which is fully engaged in the war against terrorism in Syria to defend the Lebanese territories in the event of an Israeli aggression? Knowing that this time the civilians have literally no place to hide since Syria is no longer an option.
A: We have said since the beginning that the Syrian issue did not distract us from our Israeli enemy, thank God, the resistance possesses enough of human potential, armament programs, plans and readiness to confront any Israeli threat at any time. Throughout the period of our presence in Syria we always take into account the Israeli danger. At any time now and every day we are positioned in Syria we fight in defense of the resistance and in defense of our country and we consider that the Israeli hand is behind the chaos happening in Syria. At the political level, in our point of view the outcome of the battle in Syria proved that we are handling the same enemy and the same instigators of war who have specific goals which they want to achieve through waging war on Syria. At the level of combat, the resistance always reassures its people and its audience that the battle front with our enemy Israel has never impaired and that our engagement in Syria will not affect our readiness against the Israeli entity. We are fully ready at any moment.
Q: How do you describe the accounts of the leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, assuring the divine victory in 2000 as well as the victory of Hezbollah against Israel during the war that continued for 33 days in 2006? Can you tell us his thoughts in this regard and if possible some of which that has not been published or announced yet?
A: Of course for us this is a matter supported by strong clarifications and evidence. In the battle of 2006 during the war of 33 days, a message was sent by his eminence Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei to the commander-in-Chief Secretary General of Hezbollah, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in which he spoke clearly about the nature of this battle and about the side that started this battle and about who exactly was planning to carry out this war and also talked about the preparations prior to July which we saw as a strange matter, since we did not have any concrete evidence or any analysis or any intelligence information that indicated that a war is about to hit us. While His Eminence spoke about how this war was prepared by the Israelis and the Americans beforehand and that what happened in July was not the reason this war started. His words were echoed after the war when Ehud Olmert (Israeli PM at that time) declared clearly that the preparations for the 2006 war actually began in the month of March of that year. The leader told us in this letter that this war will be a hard one, very similar to the Battle of the Trench during the days of Prophet Muhammad the messenger of God (God bless him and grant him salvation) but he also reassured us that victory will be on our side and his words had a great impact on us all and on the souls of the mujahedeen. According to our experience with His Eminence the leader, his promises are a result of his insight and from the Holy Quran and the traditions of history and primarily from his faith in God Almighty (swt) which granted us full confidence that victory will be with us and indeed that is exactly what happened. Hence the leader’s words which reassured us, spoke at the same time about the nature of the battle where this letter was at the beginning of the war, as if he knew that ahead of us lies a long and tough battle which will bear huge losses but eventually while resemble the Battle of the Trench, but eventually the leader told us that victory will be with us and this is what happened. And after the victory at the end of the war, his eminence also sent another letter to Sayyed Nasrallah, in which he spoke clearly about the aptitude that Hezbollah has obtained from this victory emphasizing that because of this aptitude our enemies will work with all the power they possess to besiege it and to strike it but will eventually fail in their attempts and the strength of Hezbollah will only increase, this time not only in the face of the Israeli entity in the region but all along the Arab and Islamic world and this is also what happened.
Q: In one of the speeches of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah spoke of some aspects of his meeting with Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and in specific about six accounts of the leader’s views with various dates about the defeat of America and Israel. How do you explain the vision of the leader Ayatollah Khamenei to defeat Israel during the past twenty five years and how did these aspirations become a reality?
A: His Eminence the leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei possesses a clear vision with a fixed foresight, he understands matters and offers appropriate and convenient treatments. The leader knows the nature of the enemy that influences our region which is the US which is why his eminence always focuses on the US hands in all what is going on in the region starting in Palestine to all other events stirring up our region and this is all backed by evidence and well documented. The leader also knows what the capabilities of our enemies are. He knows this through his understanding, know-how, expertise, knowledge and experience. Ayatollah Khamenei always envisions the future with optimism and constantly promises that this region will retain self-determination and revert to its people and that the day will come when there would no longer be an “Israel” and when the US hegemony on this region will end. This clear vision may need years to be accessible at the level of implementation and application and may need more sacrifices, but the leader has no doubt at all that the future will be much better for the peoples of the region. This vision reveals first a deep understanding of the history and analysis and secondly the strong belief of the promise of God the Great and Almighty and understanding of the Holy Quran and the traditions of the history, and thirdly reveals the deep experience in the nature of the events and its course of action in the future. The leader does not speak about dreams and aspirations; he talks about facts known through vivid expertise. And finally, we in the resistance have never entered an experience where His Eminence indicated to be successful and not come out of it successful which is always achieved by the praise of God the Great and Almighty.
Section Two: Hezbollah v/s PGCC
Q: The PGCC-Saudi led decision to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization obviously represents an Arab and International cover for any Israeli war against Lebanon and Hezbollah in specific, doesn’t this fact deeply impact the deterrence formula that Hezbollah has managed to carve over the years of fighting? And what do you think the Lebanese government’s stance will be in the event of a confrontation with Israel? knowing that there is a division within the Lebanese government concerning the decision of the PGCC against Hezbollah.
A: Predicting the position of the Lebanese government in case of a war is waged against Lebanon is a premature call, so let’s wait till the time comes. Meanwhile, we don’t believe that the PGCC-Saudi led decision to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization will have an impact on the position of Hezbollah especially towards confronting the Israeli enemy and the reason for this is very clear, throughout all the past decades in which we have resisted the Israeli entity those states you mentioned had the very same position towards Hezbollah as they do today. The difference is that their position back then was disclosed and now it is openly declared. Even in the 2006 July war, for 33 days we were clear about it when we said it and we now reaffirm that the Saudi and several Gulf states was strongly and directly involved in the paying of the cost of the war. The cost of the July war 2006 was fully covered by the Gulf money. Even when the US and British administrations were sending weapons, equipment and ammunition to the Israelis it was all being paid for by the Saudis. And before that, back in the 1990s and in the 1980s we saw many scenarios where the CIA was being aided by Arab, Gulf and Saudi intelligence and even then they were targeting the resistance, but their circumstances at that stage did not allow them to declare so. I tell you more than that, for us at the level of understanding the role of these states since the Palestinian Nakba on, when of course some Arab and Gulf States did not exist in those days, the roles of these states was to stand in the face of popular resistances so that Israel maintains the upper hand and remain the strongest entity in the region. These states are merely tools stirred by the United States of America. So what they are doing today with such declarations is simply within as agenda escalating day after day in their announcement and disclosure. They were always in the obstructive, disruptive and besieging position against the resistance, however the resistance became much stronger and we are today at a much better stage than we were before ten or twenty years ago. Those states obviously have millions to spend along with draconian media empires with heavy propaganda aimed against the resistance day and night. However, have anyone who lives in Lebanon or beyond all across the world, anyone from the close friends of the resistance to its foes that resistance has been affected by this propaganda? Did the resistance take any step back? Is there one resistance fighter who has abandoned his arms for fear of Saudi Arabia? Is there a dignified family that chose not send their sons to the resistance to fight off the Israelis and the Takfiri terrorists because of the pressure exerted by the Gulf media? These states need to know because they do not know and I think they will never know, they have to know that our peoples and our families and our resistance fighters have enough awareness that secures them from such false propaganda. We are at a point where our society is now certain that every time they see these states in a certain position they immediately know that they are on the wrong side and that righteousness is in exactly the opposite direction. Therefore this pressure of course is backed by huge sums of money funneled into the media but by the will of God Almighty will only be a smoke screen without any impact on the resistance.
Q: Hezbollah declared that they have information about the Saudi scheme to crush the resistance but Sayyed Nasrallah stated he will not talk about the matter because of local considerations. Are these local considerations even relevant when Saudi Arabia has reportedly spent millions of dollars in a bid to destroy the resistance, this same resistance that is protecting all of the Lebanese territories?
A: Local considerations must take into account in each move we make as a resistance because we are always keen to our country and our homeland and eager to our environment and our society. And we know very well that the aptitude of the US and Saudi influence on Lebanese communities is of great capacity. In other words we take into account the possibility that some Lebanese communities might be affected by this influence against resistance and against Hezbollah and might not bear many facts, leaving things for time so that the Lebanese do not become engaged in specificities that do not impose a priority. Let the Lebanese remain focused toward the real enemy that is working nonstop in sedition and wreaking havoc either in our country or in our region. As the Lebanese proverb says, “leave things be until the right time”, the best wisdom requires us to take these considerations in our country. These aspects simply confirms our views for the stability in our country especially when we fight our Israeli enemy and our Takfiri enemy and when we protect our country from the disinformation campaigns waged by the Takfiri terrorists including media and political campaigns, we always take into account our country’s stability and the safety of our internal societies, this is a priority that must be to taken into account in all what we do and we are doing it without any affect against our duties and responsibilities.
Q: Saudi Arabia has the financial, media and religious power in which it uses to threaten whoever opposes it and in this case is working successfully against the resistance regionally and internationally while banning several media outlets from reporting the other side of the story; with the massive winnings of the Persian Gulf-funded mainstream media what is the strategy at hand that the resistance and its allies in the region can resort to in order to oppose the PGCC propaganda? Can they even compete with it given the current media blackout?
A: Competing with them is not at all an option. Unfortunately, as long as the main driver of media is money, then it is natural for us not to be in a position to compete with the financial capabilities of Saudi Arabia in this regard. We face this massive media campaign and propaganda as you refer to it through staying steadfast, showing our right, demonstrating our capacity to state our position loud and clear and fully expressing our position and this is evident throughout history. Eventually, if we don’t possess the financial capability that our enemies own, it does not mean that we should abandon the media arena on the contrary we should do what we can according to our abilities and capabilities. It is important for us not to withdraw from the media arena, what is important is for us to stay standing and not fall. It is important for us not to allow the enemy or the conspirator to feel that we have fallen into the trap that he wanted to push us into. The world today has changed. No one can claim that the media belongs to a specific group or can propagate one specific point of view. Yes, there is on the one hand a side that has huge media potentials and on the other hand another side with limited media potentials. However, this limited side can face this other more capable side through patience and firmness towards righteousness and praise God we have many good experiences in that case. Imagine, for example, talking about experience, for example in the July war of 2006, the Israeli entity recognized that the resistance was not only victorious in the field militarily, but it also managed to possess a high level of media propagation and a high level of speech that exceeded that of the Israeli potential which is historically known in our region as the psychological war. So there are certain levels in media propagation which we can reach through focusing on the art of speech and the ability to express our position through statement and through righteousness that becomes secured as time passes along with a few sacrifices, we can eventually manage to do it. We believe that the success of which the Saudis speak of through their money and media is a success in the possession of the tool and not a success in making an impact and fully influencing the public. Impact and influence usually affects the weak and the doubtful, however the resistance depends on a wide audience of followers that are full of awareness, knowledge, experience and stability which allows them to be immune enough to face a ruinous influence. Banning the media of the resistance does not affect the course of the war. It undoubtedly deprives the resistance from a vital weapon that was used during the confrontation in a specific place. We, of course, try to work on compensating this tool with a proper substitute. But to say that banning the resistance media impacts the course of the war or weakens the fighters is inaccurate. Even in Yemen, we know that the Yemenis are immunized enough even if they do not have great media outlets but they are fighting and fallingmartyrs, their homes are being destroyed and their sanctities are being destroyed yet they keep expressing themselves and speaking out. If the Yemenis were to fall to the Saudi aggression they would have fallen in the first month of the war. They are definitely stronger than that.
Section three: Hezbollah in Syria
Q: The famous saying by Sayyed Nasrallah “We will be where we should be” has halted all expectations of a Hezbollah withdrawal from Syria anytime soon, what would you say to those who are accusing Hezbollah of playing the same role inside Syria that the Syrian army once had inside Lebanon before their withdrawal in 2005? What guarantees can Hezbollah provide to the Syrian people that its stay in Syria will not be indefinitely?
A: This approach is inaccurate. To say that Hezbollah’s presence in Syria is similar to the former Syrian presence in Lebanon is inaccurate. There are significant differences and vast differentials. We are fighting in Syria to defend our country, defend our people as well as defend the Syrians themselves and there are lots of facts which prove that. While we have the capacity to support the Syrian army and here it is useful to use clear expressions while stating the facts, those who defend Syria are the Syrians themselves from the Syrian Arab Army, the national defense and various forces from popular formations and we are there to help them. When we are present at certain sites giving assistance, for example in Homs, when the liberation is done Homs goes back to the Syrian civilians and other regions in Damascus also go back to the Syrian civilians. We help the Syrians restore security and stability and expel this virus of Takfiri terrorists that threatens Syria and all the region. It is not our goal to be like the Syrian Army and everyone knows that the resistance has enough causes to defend against the aggressions of the Israeli enemy and our presence in Syria is to fight terrorism and in defense of a fundamental cause. We do this because we firmly believe that any negligence or leniency in the issue of Syria or in the face of terrorism will result in eliminating the resistance, will harm Lebanon and will dismiss all the achievements and the victories obtained throughout the past decades. This is exactly what the US wishes to achieve and what they have been openly declaring as their primary objective. They publicly announce that the objective behind Isis (Daesh) is to fight back Hezbollah and the resistance. We have no specific goals to achieve, neither in Syria nor outside Syria. We know how to protect our country and our people and how to face this Takfiri terrorism which to target and attack us and to target all our region.
Q: The US and Russia have been actively engaged in head-to-head talks to find a political solution in Syria, and as History has shown, politics are maneuvered by those who hole the power in the battlefield. Now Hezbollah has time and again stated the axis of resistance aims to reach a political settlement that preserves the Syrians’ rights to determine the destiny of the ruling system, but there must be a more personal goal for Hezbollah in the event of a political solution. What might this goal be and will Russia approve of it being within the list of conditions for a Syrian political solution?
A: We reaffirm today as we did since the first day that the solution in Syria is a political, meaning to leave the Syrians alone to choose their own system of ruling, to choose how they should manage their political, economic and social matters and this is a drafted right for the Syrian people. We don’t have any special program linked to the priorities and choices of the Syrian people. Even if we are in the battle field it does not mean that we must invest in the results of the negotiation table. We believe since the very beginning that what is happening in Syria is an aggression against the Syrian people, the Syrian decisions and the Syrian choices. And just as this aggression targets Syria, it is also intended to target Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and all the region. Therefore, no one should consider that we want a price in return for our military presence in Syria. What we want is for Syria to return to its old days and for the aggression against Syria to end, because defeating this aggression will terminate the possibility of it spreading into Lebanon or targeting the remaining region. The Russian side are have clarity in their words about political solutions, they seek with all their strength a good political solution for Syria and they are constantly talking about that.
Q: It is well known that the Russian intervention in the war waged on Syria has helped in achieving massive gains on the ground by the SAA and by Hezbollah as well. How do you describe the Russian-Hezbollah relationship and how does Israel see this coordination?
A: Coordination on the ground is mainly done with the Syrians. The Russian forces coordinate with the Syrian forces directly. Our job is to support the Syrians in this battle and they Syrians choose and determine the priorities and ways and means to do so. On the other hand, it is very natural that the Israeli entity doesn’t like any action taken by Hezbollah and the resistance to defend any cause. Every day the Israeli entity speaks about what is to be of them after Syria, about the danger of Hezbollah after Syria and the resistance’s capabilities and military expertise and the goals to be achieved, this is normal, the Israeli entity is the enemy and is still haunted by the fear of Hezbollah’s expertise and capabilities and this is how it should remain, we do not see any problem in that situation whatsoever.
Section Four: Hezbollah in Lebanon
Q: In a wide offensive last year, Hezbollah drove most of the terrorists out of the Qalamoun border region, but many still remain in an area east of Arsal and nearby Ras Baalbek were thousands of Daesh and Nusra Front militants are believed to be holed up on Lebanon’s northeastern border with Syria. And recently, in late April 2016, Hezbollah reported that resistance fighters destroyed a bunker belonging to Nusra Front militants on Arsal’s outskirt in Dahr al-Huwa region. Relatively speaking, is it more costly for Hezbollah to keep withholding from taking the fight against takfiris into the town of Arsal to avoid sectarian tension in Lebanon or rather to enter Arsal and liberate it from terrorists that can and already have infiltrated into other Lebanese regions creating sleeping cells and targeting civilians?
A: Hezbollah has never spoken about any intentions to enter the town of Arsal.This is up to the Lebanese army and the Lebanese security force and also up to the nature of the battle. We cannot talk now about what could happen in the future. As we defend the entire eastern Bekaa Valley, we also defend the people of Arsal from being targeted by these terrorists whether militarily, security wise or even by simple psychological pressure. Anyhow, the municipal elections that took place in recent days in the Bekaa region and in Arsal specifically proved that the resistance and the Lebanese army were able to protect all the Lebanese people by securing for them the needed freedom and stability which allowed them to participate in the elections and Arsal obviously benefited from these achievements and from these sacrifices. Therefore we have always been very clear, our aim is to avert the Takfiri danger away from Lebanon. As long as this line of terrorism is away from Lebanon, we feel comfortable that Lebanon is stable and that the Lebanese reside in security and stability. The nature of the battle, how will it be, how it will extend, in what direction, which hill, in which region, this will all be determined by the nature of the battle field data and we are till this day facing off with these takfiris so as to prevent them from stretching forward and expanding their areas of control.
Q: Concerning the Presidential deadlock in Lebanon and the bickering over the electoral law, Hezbollah has time and again stressed that Lebanon can only be built upon the concept of partnership; Ironically it is the same logic that Hezbollah’s political foes use against the resistance by saying that how can there exist a partnership between Hezbollah and other Lebanese political blocs when the decision of war and peace is solely incubated within the hands of Hezbollah?
A: We have been over this since a long time. Such statements are issued by some Lebanese politicians for domestic consumption. When they feel that is best fits their interest to be with us in the same government formation, they simply be with us, and when their interest lies alongside our position in any political process you see them by our side, thus their stance are tentative and not static. They use such statements to achieve an echo abroad and not inside our country because these statements serve their positions and generate them money and political support. They aim to reach certain embassies with such statements through reports written by official embassy employees and eventually pin a price to their political stance by that embassy or other foreign entity outside the country. Such debates are over and they know perfectly well that any talk about the disarmament of the resistance is now beyond discussion, because it has been proven that these weapons are here to protect the country and no one in Lebanon has the option to allow the stability in the country to be put in any jeopardy and we will not allow anyone in Lebanon to reinstate the Israeli threat or the Takfiri threat against our country. The issue of the disarmament of the resistance is much bigger than any local political talk inside Lebanon.
Q: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has in the past indirectly accused Leader of the Lebanese forces Samir Geagea of collaboration with Israel during the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War. And Geagea for years has attacked Hezbollah over its ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran and military involvement inside Syria. Despite the obvious enmity Hezbollah declared that it is not embarrassed to see that its ally Michel Aoun receives endorsement for presidency from fierce rival Samir Geagea, doesn’t Hezbollah have concerns as to what might Geagea’s demands be in return for this endorsement?
A: Not at all. We have full trust in the decisions of our Lebanese allies and we know what they want and where they aspire to reach, this is first. Second, we have full confidence in our ability to understand what is happening in the Lebanese arena. We are not worried at all from any alliances in the internal arena regardless of the matter that we may support a political stance in some places and may not support it in other places. This issue does not affect our positions and our vision and our alliances because our alliances and specifically with the Free Patriotic Movement, are based on clear foundations and principles of and well-built frameworks. This alliance have proved its ability and its effectiveness in the Lebanese arena serving the interest of all the Lebanese.
Q: Do you think election of a president in Lebanon could take place any time soon?
A: The key for the Presidential elections in Lebanon is in the hands of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis control the timing of the elections, end of discussion.
Q: Hezbollah’s political foes March 14 have declared that there is no “Saudi veto” against Aoun but Iran has a problem with it. In April, Geagea commented on Iran’s stance, saying, “The Iranian ambassador has told the Western diplomats to ask the Vatican to convince Aoun to withdraw his nomination so that the presidential election can be held.” How do you perceive such an allegation and why is Hezbollah still perseverant on boycotting the parliament sessions to elect a president?
A: We have declared from the start our position from the Presidential elections and it is our constitutional and legal right to demonstrate our stance from it and to defend that stance with all available means legally and constitutionally, that is first. Second, we said that there we support our own candidate in this race who is the major general Michel Aoun and anyone who wants to address this subject should meet with General Michel Aoun and communicate with him on the matter. Third, at the elections level and participation in the parliament, we have always stressed that the moment in which we feel that the atmosphere is ready and well prepared for a presidential elections, we will be the first to go to the parliament and elect a president for the republic; however the question remains: who is prevented the eligible candidate from becoming the President of the Lebanese Republic? The answer is Saudi Arabia.
* Marwa Osman is a Media studies university lecturer at the Lebanese International University and a political commentator from Lebanon. She is also a member of The Blue Peace initiative’s media network. She hosted a political show on ‘Al Etejah English’ TV channel, and she is often seen on ‘Russia Today’ as a panelist.