Sunday, May 5, 2013

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah of April 30th, 2013

I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be on the Seal of prophets, our Master and Prophet, Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household and on his chosen companions and on all messengers and prophets.

I would like to offer my felicitations first on the anniversary of the birthday of the daughter of the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon her) – the Lady of the world ladies - Fatima Al Zahraa (Peace be upon her). Second, I felicitate all the laborers in Lebanon on Labor's Day for their hard work, effort, toil, and struggle.

In fact, I will tackle some topics in the time available tonight. In Lebanon, everything is subject to analysis. It is supposed, if we stayed alive, that I deliver a speech on the occasion of the anniversary of the establishment of Al Nour Radio Station which will be held in several days. However, I was scrutinizing the topics and the nature of the occasion. I found out that the time available will not be enough to cover several sensitive issues especially after this break off that lasted for a period of time. Thus I found that I divide the topics in mind. Thus I will tackle some topics today and keep some topics to be tackled on the day of the ceremony Inshallah. So I will tackle some topics today and some in the days to come Inshallah.

We come to the first topic which I would like to tackle today – and I will try to talk a bit quickly to make use of time because the topics are sensitive and critical. Thus we all must follow them. The public opinion must follow them up whether in Lebanon or in the region because they have to do with our fate altogether whether on the regional or the local levels.

First, we will tackle the Israeli topic. The most important point in the Israeli topic is what took place several days ago when the Israelis claimed that they downed a drone alleging that it penetrated from the Lebanese airspace to Occupied Palestine airspace. They said it was downed near the city of Haifa – and more precisely the coast of Haifa.

Indeed, Israeli media, analysts, and observers accused us directly saying we stand behind this honor that we do not claim. According to the follow up by the concerned sides in Hezbollah, no official accusation was made so far by official Israeli officials to Hezbollah except for the very first moments when the Israeli war vice minister made such an accusation in a haste; however, he did not reiterate it later.

Indeed, some Lebanese sides directly held us responsible of launching the drone and started playing the tones you know by now. Because it knows that it did not send the drone first and because it knows the sensitive situation in the region second, Hezbollah issued an intact state. It was a one-sentence-statement denying that Hezbollah had dispatched the drone to Occupied Palestine airspace. It did not comprise two sentences – no preludes and no conclusions.

Why was the text as such? When I proceed in my comment, I will hint to that. Well, the great question came to be: if it was not Hezbollah who dispatched the drone, who was it then?

As for the facts, so far the Israelis did not broadcast footages or shots which are supposed to be recorded for the alleged drone. So far we do not know whether they have found the ruins of the alleged drone or at least that was not aroused seriously in the media. Where are the ruins? This also comes under the title of facts.

When we come to analysis, first everybody knows that Hezbollah has the courage to assume the responsibility and claim any act it undertakes especially if it has to do with the Israeli enemy.

We own the courage and we are proud of a brave act of this kind if we stage it. That does not worry us or annoy us. Many accusations or reservations or various readings do not annoy us if they were made with good intentions. What was said on this airplane is not more important or more dangerous from Hezbollah claiming the responsibility of Ayyoub Drone which penetrated to the south of Occupied Palestine and approached Dimona Reactor.

Thus first Hezbollah all through its struggle with the Israeli enemy never undertook any action then denied it. We have a long history. While some people are accustomed to lying, this is our history. For 31 years of struggle with the Israeli enemy, we have always acknowledged what we do. We do not denounce any of our deeds. We even are proud of what we do. Then whoever believes us, let him believes us and whoever doesn't, let him not. Whoever believes us is free to do so. We will not trouble ourselves with such an issue.

Second, I would like to tell the Lebanese and the public opinion. Nothing in fact asserts the incident so far. I am not denying that it took place. I am not saying that the drone did not penetrate. However, nothing asserts that a drone penetrated the northern airspace of occupied Palestine. Nothing asserts that. No evident was presented so far. No ruins were seen so far. Even the UNIFIL said we are not sure of such an incident. The same was said by the Lebanese official security bodies.

Thus there is an assumption which we must take into consideration which says that all what was said is fabricated and groundless.

Nothing proves this assumption. However so far nothing was presented that denies this assumption. Well, let's take this event for granted. Let's say that there is a drone and that it penetrated from the Lebanese airspace and that the Israelis are troubled. Some say it has a reconnaissance mission. Others say its aim is only to violate the airspace. Others say it is armed and it had definite aims. Let's take the incident for granted. Who might have dispatched it? So far the Israelis – who own strong radars and information apparatuses and who resort to international intelligence and to marvelous powers also which exist in the Mediterranean – could not specify who launched the drone and what track it took. This is weird. They did not even announce anything of this kind so far. Thus so far, it does not seem there are any official Israeli accusations. Indeed, Israeli TV stations, channels, journalists, analysts and experts are talking about suppositions.

If we are to go with what the Israelis are saying or what they may suppose, there would be several suppositions. Notice that I do not talk in such a way for doing so. It is rather because the issue is important and may lead to repercussions in the upcoming stage. The suppositions are:

The first supposition which was mentioned by Israeli analysts is that the drone was dispatched by the Iranian Revolution guards and that truly Hezbollah has nothing to do with it. Here I am telling you that this supposition is not true, not realistic, and impossible.

The second supposition is to think positively and seriously say that there is a friendly side –whether Palestinian or Lebanese - which is present on the Lebanese territories and which owns the capability to launch a small drone – because they are talking about a small drone which does not have the size of Ayoub Drone – to the airspace of Occupied Palestine. This is a possibility. However we do not have any data to this effect. In fact, we are searching for such a side – if it was a friendly side – to cooperate and coordinate with it as far as this issue is concerned. This is a supposition but it has not indication. Still the possibility exists.

The third possibility is that an unfriendly side – I will not say a hostile side or the like- apart from Israel and without the knowledge of Hezbollah or the Lebanese state or Israel too, launched the drone from the Lebanese territories or from other territories and let it penetrate into Occupied Palestine with the following background in mind. Here we will have bad intentions: the Israelis will make haste and accuse Hezbollah, and in such a sensitive situation, the Israelis would stage a direct military reaction. Hezbollah would then undertake a direct defensive act and consequently, they would have pushed Lebanon to a confrontation between Israel and the resistance and more precisely Hezbollah in this timing when the situation is tensed in the region. When taking the bad intentions into consideration, some may have such possibilities that Hezbollah is busy in Syria and they may suppose that Hezbollah is perplexed and worried and does not own the will to confront or the like. So in such timing, let's drag Lebanon and the region into a war between Hezbollah and Israel or between Israel and Hezbollah.

This supposition also exists. It has no indications but when the time is corrupt it is a good intention to have bad intentions as the saying goes. Thus we say that this supposition exists.

The fourth supposition which is being evoked and which must not be ruled out is that Israel itself had entered the drone to the Lebanese airspace and then returned it to the Palestinian airspace and downed it so as to make a definite atmosphere and to issue definite threats and achieve several psychological, moral, deterrent, political and media goals. We may talk lengthily about the desired goals and results of this supposition. You know the country is vulnerable. The Israelis may let the drone enter Lebanon and then dispatch it. They may enter it via the airspace or the sea. You know Israelis nets are active; they are active on the shores especially. So this is possible to a very high degree.

So these are the suppositions.

The Lebanese have to scrutinize these suppositions. Some people feel relaxed when they say that Hezbollah dispatched the drone. We thus do not want to trouble ourselves or to make any discussions. Well, this is wrong. Here I am saying that this is wrong.

I hope that the officials in the state, the officials in the security bodies, and the political forces in Lebanon especially those who categorize themselves in the antagonistic side would not drag everything that have to do with Israel into internal bargains and antagonisms because here we started talking about a dangerous, sensitive area that does not tolerate jests, antagonisms and grudges.

Sometimes we feel that some men and as a result of antagonism and grudge think like young children as far as this issue is concerned. Thus we hope that they scrutinize this issue, and indeed we will follow it up. Indeed there are worrisome indications in the region in general. That is true; notice the alert, mobilization, and summoning towards northern Lebanon which they talk about. A while ago the Israeli army official spokesman talked to this effect. We still believe that these things influence the developments in Syria more than Lebanon. In a direct way and apart from Syria, there are indeed worrisome indications concerning Gaza. That was said in media outlets. What increases these worries are the news of new US-Arab-Gulf efforts to reach a kind of a settlement to the Palestinian cause which impose further conditions on the Palestinians or solutions which the Palestinians did not previously accept. Well, this is the sphere of anxiety. That's because when a settlement is sought or when political conditions are imposed on the Palestinians, or both, such things are often preceded by an aggression which aims at shaking the will, courage, and determination of the Palestinians so as to impose conditions on them. Thus from the post of fraternity, unity and the comradeship of arms with the resistance movements in Palestine and especially in Gaza, I call on them in this stage to be careful and alert especially in the movement of the military leadership and to follow up this issue.

However, I would like to wrap up the Israeli topic saying that anyone in the region or in Lebanon or anywhere in the world who thinks or has the illusion that the resistance in Lebanon might be in a state of weakness, feebleness, confusion or vagueness now at this stage and as a result of what is taking place in Syria, Iraq, and the region and as a result of the pressures exerted on the Islamic Republic in Iran and what is taking place in Palestine is totally mistaken and erroneous. I warn the Israeli enemy and those who back the Israeli enemy against perpetrating any blunder in Lebanon or towards Lebanon. That's because the resistance and despite all the preoccupations here and there, still has an alert eye, mind and heart and has its finger on the trigger. It has the will, determination, and resolution to defend Lebanon and its land and people and all the victories and achievements made by the Lebanese people, the Lebanese resistance and the Lebanese army all through thirty years of confrontation with the Israeli enemy. We will confront any aggression with the highest degree of bravery, awareness, competence, ability and capability which can't be imagined by anyone. We will also gain victory in any future confrontation Inshallah. So as far as this point is concerned, I call on everyone not to make wrong considerations.

The second topic is the Syrian topic and it is more important, critical, and serious not only as far as Syria is concerned but also concerning Lebanon, Palestine, and all the peoples and states in the region. Whoever tries to spare this cause under whatever title or term used in Lebanon or abroad is hiding behind his finger. Under this topic there are several subtopics which I will tackle one after the other. Though I have made a table of content, I will not mention it because in case I run out of time, I will put off some points to another meeting.

First and before talking about the general stance and the general vision from what is taking place in Syria and consequently some of the detailed issues which directly touch the Lebanese and the Lebanese affairs, I must make some clarifications in this prelude. In the past few weeks, much was said and a very broad media and political mobilization took place. In fact they did not spare any politician, journalist, writer, religious men, sheikh, Sayyed, scholar, or professor. In the past few weeks, anything which might be said has been said by others and not by us. Now allow us to talk for a while. Everything which might be written was written whether it might cross one's mind or not. Things were at times said in a harsh tough way. We listened to all of that in all the atmospheres. Anyway, all what took place was an attempt to touch our stance, vision, position, action, conduct, determination, awareness, nerves, emotions, and minds. However, all of that flopped and will flop. This is not the first time we face a psychological war of this kind in an issue of this kind and a cause of this kind. For thirty years we have been living a psychological war at every day, hour and moment. We also used to live in the heart of security war every day, every hour, and every moment. Well, yes we used to live military confrontations from time to time.

One of the details which was focused on and which I would like to highlight before going back to my major topic – because they believe that such lies may be influential – is talking about the number or convoy of martyrs. In the past few weeks, some Lebanese and some Lebanese and Arab media outlets have staged an auction. Some say fifty martyrs, a hundred martyrs, a hundred and eight martyrs, a hundred and thirty martyrs, a hundred and thirty eight martyrs, two hundred martyrs, three hundred martyrs, and five hundred martyrs.

Yesterday, Al Arabiya Channel sources said we had 30 martyrs who fell yesterday only. I added the number of martyrs according to some channels – especially Al Arabiya and the Future – among other channels and websites during the past few months – as they have a daily average of 30, 40 and 50 martyrs. They also talk about mass burials, hiding the bodies of the martyrs, funerals at retail…. I added the number and it was not less than 1000 martyrs as they suppose. Well let's divide them by two to have 500 martyrs. By God, O Lebanese, you know that our country is too small and nothing may be hidden in it. Media exists even in villages and neighborhoods. Who may hide 500 or 1000 or 100 or 50 martyrs? Who may keep these martyrs from his people or society or the residents of towns or families. We haven't acted as such previously. We never hid our martyrs then made funerals in retail. I tell you faithfully and seriously that whenever any brethren is martyred anywhere, his family is informed and a funeral is held for him the following day. At times his family knows before we know because of mobile phones and the internet which are open and available.

So this is absurd. This is used as part of the psychological war and all of those who talked to this effect have done so without knowing – that is if I am to think positively of them – or are mistaken. However, no! This is intentional lying, and the rule which is followed as far as this issue and other issues are concerned is: Lie and lie. When they lie day and night, some people might believe them though our audiences and families do not believe lies. They have also got accustomed to their lies for long years. Whoever is martyred is bid farewell openly. We are proud whenever a martyr falls anywhere; we are especially proud of the martyrs who fell in the past few weeks and those who preceded them. We are not ashamed of our martyrs. We are not embarrassed with them. We are rather proud of them. We raise our heads high as their families also do. All of the atmospheres which were evoked are not true. By the way, I would like to seize the opportunity to salute the families of the great and honorable martyrs whom my brethrens in Hezbollah leadership and the various officials have visited and conveyed to me their messages and feelings. I thank them for their stances, patience, insight, and historic awareness. This is our expectations from them, and all what was conveyed from the fathers, mothers and families of martyrs make us more certain and determined to carry on.

I liked to mention this detail before moving to the general stance from the Syrian topic because from it I will move to some details such as Reef Al Qasir and Sayyeda Zeinab among other issues which I may tackle briefly.

For two years the general stance was:

We must comment on the goals of what is taking place in Syria very briefly. Taking into consideration the field events, facts and developments as well as the international, US, and European stances, the clear Israeli stances, the stances of the regional forces, the stances of the Syrian opposition forces and the various groups who are fighting in Syria, man reaches a decisive conclusion. When we want to build a stance, we must build a vision based on comprehension and analysis. The goal of what is taking place in Syria is not anymore omitting Syria from the axis of the resistance. This was what we used to say previously. The aim has become something else. It is not only omitting Syria from the axis of the resistance and the Arab-Israeli struggle formula. The goal is not also seizing the authority from the current regime and leadership for whatever price. We may decisively say that the goal of all of those who back the war in Syria is destroying Syria as a state, as a people, as a society and as an army.

The field result would be that Syria would not be anymore a strong central country, and that Syria would become a futile feeble state which is unable even to take decisions related to its oil, gas, sea, land, borders, and shores as what is taking place now in some so called Arab Spring countries – and I do not want to mention names. You may follow the statements made by senior leaderships in the current state and in the previous oppositions. They talk about definite states which prevent forming an army and prevent forming a central state. The best image in any country is the presence of armed groups. Every group seizes a part of land. It is the skeleton of a state. It is a week feeble state. Each of these armed groups is linked to an intelligence body or an Arab state or a western state which controls the fate of that state and its oil, gas, and wealth while leaving the people of that country for antagonism, fighting, and combating while experiencing security instability. This is first.

I also like the Syrians who are hearing me and who aren't hearing me to know that it is required that they have no strong central state in the future regardless of the government that will lead their country whether the current leadership or any other leadership. They further want to destroy Syria so that it would be crossed from the regional equation. Some Arab countries used to accuse Syria that it was practicing a regional role which was larger than its natural size, and that is not true.

What is required now is crossing Syria from the regional equation and the regional influence while Syria which was one way or another a partner in what used to take place or in the consequences of what used to take place or in drawing the lines or the tracks on the level of the region whether in Lebanon, in Palestine, in Iraq besides other places in the region is now meant to become a marginalized, hungry, demolished, combating Syria in which every Syrian has no time or breath to think of what is taking place in the region. This is the goal of what is taking place now in Syria apart from the target and specifying the target. Indeed some may ask that some in the Syrian Opposition know that – and indeed many of them know that – and many are moving with this target whether they know or not.

Apart from the target, what is taking place now in Syria and is going on is very dangerous, challenging, threatening and harmful to Syria itself and to the Palestinian cause as we used to say in the first days. Today what is being weaved to the Palestinian cause in the stage of Palestinian exhaustion, obscurity and unknown future, in the stage of Israeli arrogance and in the stage of the return of the Americans forcefully to the region as a result of the sedition which some torched mounts to the risk of real official liquidation. This has its repercussions on Lebanon – let's not hide behind our fingers – Iraq, Jordan, Turkey as well as the whole region - no one argues about this except the arrogant – while Israel would ascend the throne, mobilize its forces, and seize the opportunity to take the initiative and reap the crops for us to hear and see.

Third: Since the very beginning up till now there has been a struggle in Syria in which friends and foes from abroad and even from within Syria are partaking in two camps. The other side is fighting the regime and opposes the regime. There are also the friends and the loyalists who say that they don't agree on toppling the regime in Syria and do not agree on fighting in Syria and we are part of the latter side. So there are two tracks:

The first track went to the furthest point which is toppling the regime. Thus they went to the military choice. They linked great expectations to the military choice. They resorted to fighting, killing, attrition, and the worst forms of killing – slaughtering, beheading, and throwing from rooftops – and summoning international intervention on the military and political levels. The recent game of chemical weapons which was played in the past few days is no more than a new attempt to summon foreign intervention so that these come and demolish Syria. Some issued severe fatwas which are still broadcast on satellites and are still found as audio-visual footages on websites. Even some senior scholars who are categorized as moderate had issued absurd and weird fatwas even from a religious perspective. I do not want to get engaged in jurisprudential or specialized argument as far as this issue is concerned. One of these senior scholars was asked whether it is permissible to target whoever supports the Syrian regime. He was even asked whether it is permissible to kill all the militants though some militants may have thought of splitting but haven't had the opportunity to do so. Fatwas were even issued against these poor militants. The answer is: "How am I to know? All those who work for the authority must be killed whether militants or civilians, and whether literate or ignorant." Then he says: "Whoever is with the tyrant, arrogant, oppressive authority – scientific authenticity requires that I quote the whole text – in Earth and which had killed people unjustly is an oppressor like the authority and is judged similarly. Thus anyone who fights must be fought." So fatwas were issued against scholars, civilians, militants, and the ignorant people. Afterwards, if some people were oppressed, Allah would send them to Heaven. As such and for two years we faced a stream of fatwas and announcements for jihad. This is not new. For two years fatwas and calls for jihad were being made. The instigations for jihad are not new. They have nothing to do with accusing Hezbollah of intervening in Syria or not. The fatwa I quoted was made in the first stage of the events. So the servant in the Syrian state who wants to make reparations following power cuts in this or that province is now being killed according to this fatwa. A municipality servant who is cleaning the street may be killed because he is working with the regime. The same applies to a civilian who works in a hospital or a medical center or to an agricultural engineer. We know these fatwas tell you that the blood of an employer in this oppressive state is permissible. Thus they kill and kidnap scholars as well as ordinary people. They find a fatwa for all of these. Well where would such a track lead Syria to? That leads to destroying Syria.

The second track which we consider ourselves a part of is summed in the call we made from the first day. From the very first day we warned against the seriousness of what is taking place in Syria on Syria and its people whether Muslims or Christian, on Lebanon, on the Palestinian cause, on Iraq, on Jordan, on Turkey, and on the region. We always have called for political dialogue, political solution, and a political settlement. I want to address you all with this question: Do you find in this track – the second track – scholars – whether Shiites and they include Shiites or Sunnites and they include Sunnites or Muslims or Christians – who issued a fatwa that says that the blood of whoever cooperates with the Syrian opposition and whoever backs the Syrian opposition is permissible, and thus kill them whether they are militants, civilians, scholars, or ignorant? Name me one scholar who issued a fatwa of this kind. There isn't because such a fatwa does not have anything to do with religion, jurisprudence, Shari'a, the interests of Muslims or the interests of the nation. This second track has always pushed towards dialogue and a political solution.

The followers of the first track have always refused dialogue and a political solution. They insist on toppling the regime and are making wrong considerations. Even as far as this point is concerned, there are Syria's friends or those who call themselves Syria's friends – who are offering more money and arms and instigating and calling for international military intervention. If anyone in the Syrian opposition ever thought of political dialogue, he would be oppressed. I know that, and I even have names and data. At one of the stages, no one in the Syrian opposition – especially those abroad – could dare to talk about political dialogue. Nobody could dare. He would fear the states which sponsor the war and the armed groups who run the war.

There is another kind of Syria's friends including Iran, Russia, China, The BRICS and other countries who from the first day have been calling for dialogue and are pushing towards dialogue.

Fourth, this title would tackle the wrong considerations and wrong bargains which were made for field facts. Here I am not talking analyses. Many who had met with presidents, princes, sheiks, and foreign ministers of states which are fighting now in Syria indirectly have heard from them clear evaluations which say that the regime would stand for two months. Then they renewed for another two months and later on for three extra months. Then they specified last month of Ramadan before they said the current Month of Ramadan which passed a couple of months ago. Every week or fortnight, they show up on Arab satellites and say it is the decisive battle in Damascus. Still things do not move as such.

Well, two years have passed on the war and the bloody fighting in Syria. Where to would field events lead? Some are practicing pressure especially in the coming few months. So let's be frank. Some people are looking forward to Obama-Putin Summit. Things are being pushed towards the worst stage so as to impose political facts via field facts. Well, where might Syria go in this case?

Here I would like to move to the stance so that I would not remain discussing the vision. Based on this vision, I may tell you that you can't topple Damascus. You are not able to topple the regime militarily. The battle is long, and we – and all of our track, international, regional, local, Islamic, Sunnite, Shiite, Durzi, Christian, Alawite or whatever group – and even the regime never called for ending the debate militarily even if it is able to end it militarily. We do not instigate for such a track also for reasons that have to do with the shar'i vision and stance. However, here we are telling you that you are not able with your military power to topple the regime militarily.

After two weeks and through field facts – the data and field facts – show inefficiency in this issue. Do not pay attention to what is said in some Arab and international satellite channels who say lies. Notice that you are still fighting who is fighting you – namely the Syrian Army and the popular forces loyal to the regime in Syria – this is to refute some of what is being said in the media. So far, there aren't Iranian troops in Syria. Everybody knows that. Nobody claimed that except some Arab satellites unfortunately. Should the Americans or the English or the French or the Europeans have had any data to this effect, they would have aroused this issue and made a big fuss about it. Everybody knows that there aren't any Iranian troops in Syria. There might be some experts in few numbers; however, they have been in Syria for decades before these events. So you are fighting the Syrian Army and the popular forces which are loyal to the regime. Whatever is said on troops and interventions contrary to this is either groundless or extremely exaggerated.

If this is the case so far, what would be the case in the future, should things mount to what is more serious and lead to the actual intervention of states or forces or resistance movements in the field confrontation in Syria?

I want to say two things which constitute the stance;

First I will say in broad lines – and as they end a scientific research: Take notice, understand and reflect: Syria has in the region and in the world true friends who would not allow Syria to fall in the hand of America or Israel or Takfiri groups. They will not allow that. How? Details and interpretations would come later. When I say so, I do so based on information and detailed follow up and not based on prediction, analysis or expectations.

The second point is readdressing a call – and not saying something new – to the Arab peoples, Islamic peoples, the Arab states, the Islamic states, to all the Syrians, to all who want to save Syria, all who claim that their hearts bleed on the Syrian people regardless of their sects, all who mourn daily the blood which is being shed in Syria, who have mind, morals, religion and values, who don't want to lose the Palestinian cause in new liquidation projects, the Lebanese who want Lebanon's interest, the Iraqis who want Iraq's interest, the Jordanians who want Jordan's interest, the Turks who want Turkey's interest, and all the peoples in the region: This is the only path. This is the only address to the crisis and catastrophe of the emigrants. Jordan is calling on the General Assembly to hold a session to this effect. Lebanon is yelling. None of the promises was realized. Lebanon is lurking under the impact of a million emigrants. The radical solution to the crisis of the emigrants is that they return to their villages, houses and country honorably, dignified, and free. This is made possible via a political settlement. The shar'i, political, national, and moral duty is that everyone seeks a political settlement and a political solution.

As for going on bargaining, I say no for that. That's because some people may misunderstand things. No! From the very first day, we called for this. Today too we call for that, and we assert that bargaining on military options are great adventures that will not lead anywhere. That would rather lead to more damage and attrition of the peoples of the region and all the interests of the nation whether of Muslims or Christians. Whoever is concerned about Muslims, Christians, Shiites, and Sunnites, must seek to find a political solution and a true political settlement in Syria as soon as possible.

What I know in this framework is that the regime has announced a long time ago its willingness to carry dialogue and reach a political settlement. What I also know is that the regime has informed the names of the Syrian delegation which is charged of dialogue and which represents the regime. However, the other side still refuses to carry dialogue and reach a political settlement and imposes conditions that cripple dialogue and push things towards a great confrontation and international military intervention. We have all watched the resigned head of the coalition who when on the first day announced his willingness for dialogue was charged with treason and attacked harshly only because he used the term "dialogue".

Today the solution which realizes the interests of Syria and its people, army, future, present day, regional position as well as the interests of the Lebanese, the Palestinians and the peoples of the region is this track. Any insistence on refusing dialogue and on refusing a political solution would push things to what is worse. How are we to judge on people who think in such a way? This is as far as the general stance and the general vision is concerned. This is how we used to see things and we still view them in such a way. Never a fatwa was issued from this track which labels the blood of people permissible. Unfortunately, in the other track, states, governments, sheiks and even politicians issued fatwas which label blood permissible pursuant to a political stance and a political vision.

As for Reef Qasir, I have tackled this issue previously and mentioned that there are more than 30 thousand Lebanese people – whether Muslims or Christians - in a number of villages. So the issue is not that of the followers of one sect. I said that these Lebanese are targeted and were targeted. Their houses were subject to fire; some of their villages were occupied; they were subject to killing and kidnapping; they were prevented from going to their work and to their fields; their very existence in these villages was threatened. I did not invent this threat. This threat exists on mobile messages and websites and in the psychological wars which were launched on the residents of that area. What made the state graver in the past few months is that due to the field facts, the Syrian army was obliged to vacate some of these villages and consequently these people became face to face with the armed groups.

In the course of my speech, I also said that we always used to push the residents of these towns and villages to make reconciliations in their neighborhoods and to reach a truce. So whenever a truce was reached or a reconciliation was made, we used to back it. However, armed groups used to breach any truce or reconciliation reached among the residents of that region because their plot is something else. They do not have a local project.

In the latest period, the rate of aggressions increased in these villages. Moreover, there is confirmed information that a great number of fighters are being prepared to control these villages which are resided by Lebanese. A day may come when we may say names and facts and figures as some Lebanese are involved in this. It was normal that the Syrian Army and the popular forces loyal to the army and the residents of this area be supplied with the appropriate or available assistance to confront this threat. Thus things went as they did in the past weeks in Reef Qasir and they did not end yet as these villages and areas are still subject to aggressions, sniping, shelling, and operations. Anyway, things went as they did, and tables were turned.

The country went into uproar. Much was said. Indeed some of what was said evaluated that as a reaction. Some of what was said labeled that as a reaction. Some people issued fatwas for jihad and called for dispatching fighters to Al Qasir and to Syria. Here I would like you to recall - so that none would begrudge anyone anything – that for two years in Lebanon everyone who could issue fatwas did – and even those who couldn't did too. Everything they could do in Lebanon and Syria they did: fatwas, speeches, instigation, sending money, arms and fighters not only via the borders but also via Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. So let no one present himself as a civilized civilian who has a political stance and who is standing aside. If you like, when it’s due, we will provide you with details, names, and facts and figures.

What took place afterwards? Well yes some of what was not said openly was said openly as some Lebanese fought in the past and also partook in aggressions against Lebanese in Reef Qasir.

Some said if some had a hand in Reef Qasir, who charged you to fight there? It is the responsibility of the state. Well, we always say that this is the responsibility of the state. However, what did the state do? Now I will not let the Lebanese state hold what it can't tolerate. In fact, what is the Lebanese state able to do? Let's be objective. Is the Lebanese state or the current, previous or upcoming government able to send the Lebanese Army to Syrian villages with Lebanese residents within the Syrian territories? Another state may do that. However the Lebanese state – and according to its nature and composition – can't do that. The utmost thing the Lebanese state can do is that it makes an objection at the Arab League.

Well, the Arab League is the one arming, funding, instigating and running this battle!!! Are we to plead with the executioner? Indeed, as we have previously said, these have the natural right to defend their existence, themselves and to do everything required to establish their existence and presence and to be provided with the appropriate assistance. That does not require a decision from anyone. This is a moral and humanistic decision. Here we are not talking about Lebanese of a definite sect. We are talking about all the Lebanese who reside in the villages and towns of Reef Qasir.

I wrap up this point saying: away from all the uproar, we clearly say that we will not desert the Lebanese in Reef Qasir who are subject to attacks and aggressions by armed groups. We will not hesitate to support them with whatever help, assistance and anything necessary for their steadfastness and existence.

The other point which is also very critical is the area of Sayyeda Zeinab (Peace be upon her). Let me give a general idea or to call everyone's attention. That's because at times there is a big and a complicated scene with details which are very serious and other details which are not with that degree of seriousness. Well these serious details are very grave and critical.

In Damascus, there is a region called Sayyeda Zeinab which houses the Shrine of Sayyeda Zeinab the daughter of Imam Ali Bin Abi Taleb (Peace be upon them) for hundreds of years. It is not important how you comprehend this idea. However, what is important is how others comprehend this. Is there tolerance as far as this point is concerned? For a period of time, the armed opposition sought among its priorities to seize the Eastern Ghota and the Western Ghota and to practice a firm siege over Damascus. The armed opposition and the armed groups could control some villages in the western Ghota in the neighborhood of Sayyeda Zeinab (Peace be upon her). Now for some months ago, some armed groups have been positioning in points that are only hundreds of meters away from the Shrine of Sayyeda Zeinab (peace be upon her). This is the fact apart from who is intruding and who is not. Well, this issue is extremely grave. Why? That's because the armed groups – especially those who belong to the Takfiri track – had sent clear messages and threatened even on the websites saying: "If we entered and controlled that region, we will ruin the shrine". Do they believe in what they say? Yes they do. That's because they have a jurisprudential problem in this issue. We have seen in Mali, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Somalia, when these Takfiri group enter any country, before seeking to achieve security, stability, peace, healthy water, the daily bread, and human dignity for the people, they search for any shrine, tomb, or monument which they label as idols and destroy them. Well that would lead to grave repercussions.

Let no one say we are exaggerating. In the past, the Takfiri groups bombarded the Shrines of the two Askari Imams in Samerra in Iraq. All of us remember these black days which led to grave repercussions in Iraq and abroad. Here in Lebanon was it not for the doubled and multiple efforts exerted by Shiites, Sunnites, scholars, leaderships and politicians to contain the stance, it would have led to grave repercussions. As far as Sayyeda Zeinab is concerned, let no one hide behind his finger. If Takfiri groups bombed or demolished the shrine, that will lead to grave repercussions. Things will be uncontrollable. Then neither I nor you will be able to do anything.

Thus I say there are several responsibilities:

The first responsibility is to be assumed by the Syrian opposition. It is not enough that the Syrian Opposition Coalition or the political opposition sides issue statements that object or condemn attacking this shrine or our sanctities or the sanctities of others in Syria. Who would take this seriously? No one will take this seriously. That's because the armed groups are present on the ground and they turn a deaf ear to all these coalitions which exist abroad.

The states which stand behind these Takfiri groups and which fund and arm these groups are held responsible. Thus these states must prevent these groups from taking such a serious step with such a magnitude. This is the required position.

On the other hand, there are some people who are defending this area and who are being martyred while defending this area. In their defense, blood, and martyrdom, they are preventing sectarian sedition. It is not that they are opening the gate before sectarian sedition. No, they are rather preventing sectarian sedition. Yes, this holy shrine is for all Muslims whether Sunnites or Shiites. We do not ever accuse the Sunnites. I am a Shiite and I do not accuse the Sunnites. When the Shrine of the two Askari Imams was bombed, you remember that we staged a massive demonstration in Lebanon. I then delivered a speech and told the Shiites in Lebanon and the Shiites around the world that the problem is not with our Sunnite brethrens. That's because the Shrine of the two Askari Imams as well as the Shrine of Sayyeda Zeinab has been under the guardianship and care of Sunnites for hundreds of years. However, our conflict is with the Takfiri groups who kill and slaughter Sunnites as well as Shiites, ruin the shrines of Sunnites and Shiites, and label Sunnites and Shiites as unbelievers. What is the way to prevent these Takfiri groups from pushing Sunnites and Shiites to sedition and combating? It is that we all stand in their face whether as scholars who issue fatwas or as politicians or even on the battlefield levels as the fighters and the honorable are doing now. They are preventing the fall of the area of Sayyeda Zeinab or the Shrine of Sayyeda Zeinab in the hands of the Takfiri groups and preventing them from ruining the shrine because that will lead to grave repercussions.

I have watched some TV outlets in Lebanon who made interviews to the effect that the one buried in Damascus is not Sayyed Zeinab who is actually buried in Egypt. Now there is no time for such intellectual luxury. Does that change anything in the equation? That does not make any change in the equation. What is the significance of making a scientific traditional investigation? Hundreds of millions of Muslims deal with this shrine as being an honorable, blessed and holy shrine. So stop playing such games and wasting time. Who are to be held responsible in Lebanon or abroad? There are countries which I will not name now – perhaps time might come when we name them – who fund and arm and even call on these Takfiri groups to take steps of this kind. These countries must deter them. In the field there is who is deterring them. That does not lead to sectarian sedition. On the contrary, this is what is protecting everyone against sectarian sedition. Sectarian sedition would open its gate if we underestimated this issue and were content with words, literature, poetry, and intellectual luxury from here and there.

I have a final word concerning the detainees of Aazaz before wrapping up my speech. I have two other points which I will postpone talking about. We will tackle the Lebanese affairs Inshallah in the few days to come.

As for the detainees of Aazaz, indeed it is very painful that their cause is still going on for today. The scene of the families, women and children moving their demonstration from one street to another and from one place to another is also very painful.

The state has not so far reached a conclusion. That leads us to say that someone who kidnaps some persons and keeps them alive is kidnapping people. He does not want to kill them. He is practicing kidnapping for a definite goal. What is the goal of the kidnappers?

In fact, there is not in Lebanon an understanding or a vision for the goal of these kidnappers. What do they want? Do they want a ransom? Do they want money? Do they want a swap with prisoners in Syria? Do they want to practice political pressure?

If they want to practice political pressure, that failed from the very first days. Pursuant to our stance from what is taking place in Syria which is based on a national, Islamic, strategic vision which has to do with the entire region, no one can practice pressure on us or on our stance via these inhuman practices.

Well then, what do you want? Do you want money? Say then that you want money. Someone might say they asked for money. Whom from did they ask for money, and is that demand which was made true or untrue? We do not know. Do you want a prisoners' swap? We have heard in the past days or weeks that they want the female prisoners in the Syrian prisons. Well, I contacted Lebanese officials and called on them to verify if these demands are true. If this is true, I am ready to go to Damascus and to contact the Syrian leadership to this effect. However, afterwards, these demands were clearly denied in the media. Well then, what do you want? What are your demands? Where do you want to lead things? Demonstrations and sit-ins here and there may not lead to a solution. Negotiations held by the Lebanese state with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other countries for several months by now did not yield any results. Do you believe that we can go on waiting and watching women and children moving from one street to another while the catastrophe carries on without taking any action? Do you believe that is possible? Where to do they want to push things in this cause? Here in fact pops in the mind a possible idea. Perhaps some do not want the kidnappers to make a demand which may be achieved, and some may not want the kidnappers to set the detainees free before an appropriate political timing. Underline this idea and we will elaborate it later. This is shameful. If there is such a supposition, that'll be shameful. Take the Lebanese detainees in Aazaz away from the political struggle sphere. They are visitors of holy shrine who made no crime or sin. Pursuant to what used to be said in the past, I say that it is we who are fighting you and you who are fighting us. However, these visitors are innocent. The same applies to the other Lebanese detainees from Miqdad Family. There are Lebanese families who also lost some of their members within the Syrian territories. This also applies to the religious men who are kidnapped in Syria namely the two patriarchs who were recently kidnapped. Anyway, we must find an end to this case.

Anyway, I would like to wrap up my speech with a word to the Lebanese and to anyone who hears me. We do not want any conflict in Lebanon, and we do not want the struggle to be imported to Lebanon. I even tell you more. We know Lebanese groups who staged aggressions against Lebanese in Reef Qasir. We know the names, the groups and those who sent them. Still we did not take any action. That's because from the very beginning we committed ourselves to keeping Lebanon away from any confrontation or struggle or fighting. That's because we are cautious and not afraid and because of love and not because of greed and because of the national, shar'i, moral and fraternal responsibility. However, I want to tell everyone that what is taking place in Syria concerns us all. Time is over or almost over for Lebanese and others to be content with expectations and emotional expressions to seek quittance through the issuance of statements.

The Lebanese people, Lebanese political forces, Muslims and Christians alike, the state, the government, and all who have relations abroad with foreign and Arab governments must hear one voice which seeks stopping what is taking in Syria. The war in Syria must be halted. It is shameful that when a senior religious man whether Christian or Muslim expresses such a stance, he would be dubbed as an ambassador to the Syrian regime. Anyone who expresses this stance – whether Christian or Muslim – would be expressing values, religion, morals, and national interests. Whoever wants to take Syria and our region to demolition is the one who must be accused in his mind, religion, background, and stance from what is taking place in this nation.

I conclude saying: Do not bargain on the field. Pushing the battlefield towards dangerous tracks will not stop at any limits. He who cares for the blood, wealth, honor, fate, and national interests must assume the responsibility of seeking a grand political solution which will bestow its blessings over Syria and Lebanon and the entire region. The rest will come later Inshallah. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.