Saturday, September 27, 2014

Speech delivered by Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on September 23rd, 2014

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

Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.

Frankly tonight I have more than one point to tackle: the situation in Lebanon, the situation in the region in general, and the events which are moving faster. However, I will commit myself to the available time limit. So I might not be able to cover all of these topics. Consequently, if I did not tackle some points, that does not mean that they are not important. There are several important points; however, the available time may not be enough to cover them.

Well, we will see within the available time what points I will be able to tackle.

First: The issue of the military men who are kidnapped by the armed groups in the barren mountains of Irsal, the repercussions of the cause, the stance from it, and the track it has taken.

Usually in similar causes – we will tackle a cause which was similar to it; I mean the cause of Aazaz kidnapped men – we avoid taking overt stances or discussing such issues publicly. That's because after all the other side which is kidnapping and detaining these dear men has its mentality and calculations. We usually are alert and a bit precautious. As far as Aazaz cause was concerned, you would have noticed that we did not talk openly. We used to offer whatever possible assistance. Hizbullah played important roles which remained unannounced. That's because what was important to us was to set these hostages and detainees free.

The media is not important. What is important is what we say and what we offer.

Today the same applies. This cause is of much importance, and it is very critical too. Still and though the event had taken place some two month ago by now, we have always preferred to tackle the issue in the cabinet with the concerned officials away from the media. However, today I find myself obliged to talk.

As I said, the cause is very critical and important whether as far as the kidnapped and detained military men are concerned, or as far as their families are concerned, or as far as the military institution and the official security institutions are concerned. The families of the detainees are being subject to massive psychological, emotional, moral, and political pressure. After all, they are military men and soldiers in these institutions, and consequently, the dignity, future, and integrity of these institutions are at stake as well. The rest of the military men are looking at this sample which they are facing now from this perspective and unfortunately, from the campaign of political and media distortion and falsification which is being waged daily on this cause.

First, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the families of the oppressed military martyrs, who were slaughtered by the terrorist kidnappers: martyr Ali Ahmad Sayyed, martyr Abbass Ali Midlij, and martyr Mohammad Maarouf Hamieh. We highly evaluate the stances of the fathers and families of these martyrs. In fact, theirs were national, moral, and humanitarian stances, and we hope that several political sides and personalities would rise to the level of the fathers and families of the martyrs. We also offer our condolences to the families of all the National Lebanese Army martyrs in the recent events in Irsal the last of whom were martyr Ali Ahmad Hamade and martyr Mohammad Assem Daher as well as the martyr who was oppressively killed today in Tripoli - martyr soldier Mohammad Khaled Hussein. We also stand sincerely by the families of the kidnapped military men who are still living in the sphere of threat.

We understand and share with them these feelings. In fact, we understand best the feelings and emotions of the families of the detainees, the missed, and the martyrs because of our long experience in the resistance. To understand this, we do not need time. We have been part of this sufferance for decades. We salute the sacrifices of the Lebanese Army and the security forces especially the army for its leadership, officers, and soldiers' steadfastness and bravery.

After this salutation, allow me to usher into the issue.

All the Lebanese know that for almost two months by now the terrorist armed groups inside Irsal and in the barren mountains of Irsal staged an aggression against the Lebanese Army check points and offices in Irsal and its neighborhood as well as against the offices of the Internal Security Forces and the security apparatuses under the pretext of the army detaining so called Imad Jomaa. This led to the broad aggression which was not coincident at all. Everyone who is acquainted with military action knows that following an accidental incident such as arresting this man, it is impossible that such a broad and wide attack take place against all check points and offices in such a broad area leading to the martyrdom of several officers and soldiers, the injury of others, the detention of tens besides the destruction of vehicles and offices.

The army strongly confronted the armed forces and restored its check points and offices. As a result of this confrontation – this is the point we want to reach – a number of military men – members in the army, the security forces, and the security institutions – were taken hostages by these groups. Why? How? This is another point of discussion.

After all, all the Lebanese and all of Lebanon came to be before such a cause called the cause of the military men kidnapped by terrorist armed groups in the barren mountains of Irsal. In itself, this is a humanitarian, national, and moral cause that does not concern a definite region, side, party, sect, or faction. It is rather a cause that concerns all of the Lebanese. It concerns Lebanon as a state, people, army, and institutions. It concerns all the Lebanese. It does not only concern their families or the military or security institutions.

From the very beginning, all the political forces, the people, the media, the elites, and especially the political forces whether in the government or outside the government must have dealt with this cause according to its national, moral, and humanitarian level.

It was and is still supposed that the aim of everyone be to restore the kidnapped military men and return them to their families as soon as possible. From the very first moment, this must have been the goal and this must still be the aim, and it will remain the aim until it is achieved. From the very first moment, all those who must have and are still supposed to join efforts must have exploited whatever means and offered every possible help to achieve this goal and put an end to this cause.

Unfortunately, some have turned this national cause to a subject for argument, false accusations, settling political calculations, causing factional feuds, igniting daily sectarian incitements, and even distorting facts, falsifying, and lying. Even more, some went even further. They raised the ceiling of the demands even more than the demands of the terrorist kidnappers themselves. Some people in Lebanon did not only adopt the demands of the terrorists. They even raised the ceiling of the demands higher than what the armed groups aspired to. So instead of condemning those who staged an aggression against the army and the security forces and killed, wounded, ruined, kidnapped, slaughtered, and stole, they accused and condemned other sides in the Lebanese internal. Some even justified what the terrorists did and even defended them. Anyway, today, I will try to put things in their place especially as far as we are concerned and I will not open the files of the others' performance and conduct because the situation in the country does not bear that.

There is much to say, and we are able to say much, and we need to say much; however, I do not like to do what I criticize others for doing. I want to say that this cause must be not a matter for argument and away from the subjects of mutual accusations, struggle, and settlements. I do not like to tackle that.

It is note-worthy that what have been taking place in the past few weeks - since the beginning of cause until now - is very painful and sorrowful, and it indicates the level of dealing with this cause that concerns all the Lebanese. Perhaps the cause of Aazaz did not concern all of the Lebanese, according to some. However, it is supposed that this cause mean all of the Lebanese. Still, I will not tackle this point because I do not want to cause an argument. Should I open all the files from the very beginning until now, that will not serve the cause of the kidnapped military men.

First: From the very beginning, we dealt, and are still dealing – as it is correct to deal – with this cause as primarily being the responsibility of the Lebanese government and the Lebanese authority in the first place, and everyone must support, cooperate, and back the Lebanese government in addressing this cause.

The second point has to do with the principle of negotiations. It is normal that in the cases of hostages, captives, and kidnapped detainees, that the concerned sides carry negotiations. This is very normal around the world. This takes place. We do that, and we did that. We carried indirect negotiations at several occasions to restore captives and the bodies of martyrs. We have done this, and we do this every day. We did it in Syria, and we do that every day. Now we have missed fighters and martyrs since a period of time – several months. What is said in the media is true. We seize any chance to carry negotiations. This is the right track. This is normal. This is logical. Thus we never rejected the principle of negotiations. Here, I would like the families of the kidnapped military men to be listening to me: If any one of the deputies or the politicians or article writers would tell you that Hizbullah – as we are placed in the front and messages are being sent to us – refuses the principle of negotiations, he would be lying on you for political goals and not because he cares for your children to be restored. We never refused the principle of negotiations. The political authority has the right to negotiate too. The officers have contacted us, and we made discussions with them. This is normal. The normal choice is that the political authority negotiate with terrorists, terrorist groups, and Takfiri movements. There is no difference. As far as the issue of captives is concerned, when it came to "Israel", indirect negotiations used to take place. As it is a humanitarian issue, no such political remarks are taken into consideration. After all, the authority in Lebanon is the side which is to decide whether to negotiate directly or indirectly. It specifies the mediator; but there was never any debate on the principle of negotiations.

Third: From the very first day, we have said that negotiations should be conducted from a position of strength.

Aren't you saying that Lebanon must negotiate like other states which have captives and hostages and negotiate to restore them? Well, no one in the world begs or deals with the kidnappers from a helpless position. There is nothing of this sort as some are trying to impose on the Lebanese government and Lebanon. Whoever wants to negotiate must search for all cards of strength and put them on the table and take a previous decision that he might resort to them and let the kidnappers understand that he might resort to them. Afterwards, he would head to negotiations. This is what we are calling for. The cards of strength exist. PM Salam had talked about them, and the government knows the cards of strength it owns. It is not right to talk about this in the media. It is not right that the media tackles this. The mediator as well as the kidnapper must be informed of the cards of strength so that they would be beneficial for the negotiations and so that other gates which I will tackle later on would be opened.

Well, is there anything wrong in that? I am asking the families of the captives and the Lebanese people. Is there anything wrong if a political side calls on the government to negotiate from the position of strength and not to beg? Do not present the Lebanese Army, the Lebanese government, and the Lebanese people as weak and frail before small armed groups all what it is able to do is to put the sword on the neck of the soldiers and consequently, threaten Lebanon, the Lebanese Army, the Lebanese people, and the families of the military men in such a brutal way.

If we want to restore them alive, we negotiate strongly as a state. This is what we call for. Is there anything wrong in that?

Here I am telling you that negotiating from a weak position would lead to a catastrophe on the military men. If there is hope – and God willing there is a big hope – that these military men return to their families and institutions, that is only possible through a strong, dignified, noble, and responsible stance.

Fourth: I am talking as Hizbullah as we have a long experience in this field. None of the two negotiating sides must announce something and commit itself to it openly. There is nothing of this sort in the world. Well, yes openly, one might raise the ceiling while the other might start from zero. Later on, they would reach a common place. All negotiations over swap operations in the world take place as such except this cause. Why? It's because it has become part of political bargains, and every political side or personality or whatever would say "we accept" and 'we don't accept". Well brother! Tell your government, the authority, or the side entitled to carry negotiations and is responsible of addressing this cause whether you accept or not. However, when such a cause becomes a subject for argument in the media one side would raise the ceiling while the other would lower the ceiling. As such the government would be lost as well as the families of the captives, while the kidnappers would feel as if they are manipulating the country. They are playing with the country. Let's be frank. Lebanon is living true humiliation since weeks because of this political performance by several political forces. Let no one say in the media whether he rejects or does not reject. The concerned side, the government, and the entitled side is the side which must raise or lower the ceilings, act, and convey messages. As such if an announcement is made it would be in the framework of a negotiating plan and not in the framework of the plot of bargains that is present in the country. If such bargains are to carry on as such, I do not believe that any side would be able to negotiate seriously and reach a result as far as this cause is concerned.

As for us, all what was said by politicians is incorrect. It is mere lying. We did not say that the gate of negotiations is locked or that the gate of discussing demands is shut. We talked with the officials in the cabinet, the PM, and the concerned sides and told them that as a side which has ministers in the government our stance is the following. Here I find myself obliged to announce our stance as a result of what is taking place. Our stance is as follows: The negotiating side – whether negotiations are taking place directly or through mediators – must examine the demands of the kidnappers. No one may say I do not want to examine, listen and discuss. If we say negotiations, you have to listen, discuss and examine.

Among these demands which are presented via channels, arguments, and discussions, some points might be acceptable and possible while others are unacceptable and impossible. After all, all of these things are discussed, and there are methodologies to take a decision. However, no one is allowed to say we do not want to negotiate or to listen or to discuss. This is our stance from the very first point and whoever says otherwise would be a deceiver, a liar, and a hypocrite. Allow me to say so because there is political brutality as far as this issue is concerned. Anyway, indeed as a result of killing, the government announced that negotiations are stopped not because it wants to stop negotiations altogether but because it wants to guarantee halting the act of killing. In fact, the Lebanese government and the Lebanese PM have the right to say that they won't negotiate under the pressure of killing and slaughter. Nobody negotiates as such.

Anyway, if such a thing is guaranteed, and the government returned to negotiations, it is logical that negotiations would take place again. It is normal that friends and even foes may be sought. There is no problem in that. There is no problem in listening to demands and discussing them in negotiations. However, succumbing or being threatened by saying "you have 24 hours or the outcome would be slaughter" as they are doing is unacceptable. I do not believe that there is a state or a government or a people or an army or an institution in any place in the world which accepts things to carry on as such. This is for the safety of the military men and not at their expense. Yes, it is for their safety. Yet, they are threatening by slaughtering to make the other side kneel and beg, or else in 24 hours they would slaughter, and this scenario is repeated again and again. Do we want to reach here? Is it the wish of the families to reach here for example?

The last point in the track of addressing this cause is that all around the world – as long as you are saying that we want to deal with this cause as other states and governments – no one deals with a cause of this kind in one track or with one option. He would put forward several options on the table. He sets several scenarios. In case this scenario does not work, he would go for the other. As such he sets several scenarios which he is not concerned in discussing in the media. So he does not resort to one scenario and say that we are not able to do anything. There is nothing of this sort around the world. He must continuously be working and searching. Does Lebanon have other choices? Is it possible to find other scenarios? Well, simply and clearly yes. However, this is not also to be discussed in the media. But because of the bargains in Lebanon, we must go and tell the terrorist kidnappers what we want to do and what we must do. This is not correct in any administration in the world. This is incorrect.

I will go back later to the means of addressing the reactions in a couple of words. However, before this title, I call today to do what we must have done weeks ago. For the sake of the dear kidnapped military men, for the sake of the emotions and dignity of their families, for the sake of the army and the security institutions, for the sake of the country, and for the sake of this people, we must put this cause outside the sphere of bargains, settlements, and point scoring on each other. What was the reason? Who was wrong? Let's put this aside. If we are to open such files, let's talk about the barren mountains of Irsal. Since when are these mountains occupied by them? That took place even before we went to Qusair, to Qalamoun, and Syria. What is the position of this geographical area? What is the role it plays? Who stands behind it? Who is with it? That is a long research. Let's keep this aside. Let's put all bargains aside. Let's say: These men are our brothers, children, fathers, and dear ones. No matter to which family they belong, from which region they are, or to what side they belong, they are the children of the national institution and the state. Let's – all of us as Lebanese – come together and cooperate and take it for granted that there is a definite side with which we may discuss any point we have. Let's not overbid each other and cause sectarian and factional instigations. No one would win anything as such. Let no one believe that through what he is doing he is achieving political and media goals. I am saying so from our concern to the families and the military men. If anyone believes that through distortion, falsification, misleading, and deception they have been practicing in the past few weeks against Hizbullah, they have achieved any political and media achievements, they are mistaken. They have not made any achievements in fact. I wanted to say so not to defend Hizbullah. In fact, I talked as such to say: Let's stop this to work in a proper way to serve this goal and this cause. Let's stand together and support the government in its negotiations, in discussing the demands, in seeing what gates may be opened, and also in putting ready scenarios to confront any unexpected events or developments.

Well, there is something which has to do with wrapping this issue. It has to do with the reactions. Indeed, we have tackled these issues previously. I am not talking about anything new, and I am not making a new call. Following the bombing that took place in Rweiss which led to the martyrdom and injury of scores or people – and not killing one or two soldiers – we tackled this issue. The issue is not that of a number. All of them are our people, our men, our women, and our children. Following that bombing we addressed all of the Lebanese and advised that no one harm any Syrian immigrant as no one is to be punished for the sin of another. No one must be held responsible for the crimes of the terrorists and the Takfiri groups. Following the second, third, and fourth bombing and following the bombing in Hermel we said so too. So this is not something new. Today, I want to assert this point: No innocent person or Syrian immigrant must be harmed. It is not allowed to hold anyone responsible for the crimes of these criminals. This does not need any assertion. This is not allowed by all norms whether humanitarian, moral, religious, legitimate, legal…

I hope that everyone takes what I am saying into consideration. That's because from among the goals of slaughtering and killing the soldiers is that such popular reactions take place against the Syrian immigrant to exploit that politically in sectarian and factional instigation. This must not be allowed to take place. Between parentheses, I would like to say that Hizbullah and Amal Movement - with the cooperation of the apparatuses, the scholars, and tribal and social dignitaries – have exerted industrious efforts to protect the immigrants and pull danger away from them. Still those whom I was talking about a while ago held Hizbullah responsible at a time Hizbullah was protecting and defending the immigrants as well as appeasing the people. Still there comes he who overbids and accuses you as far as this issue is concerned.

The other point I want to tackle as far as reactions are concerned is that in case there is any security suspicion against anyone – this is not limited to the Syrian refugees or immigrants – provide such information thankfully to the security apparatuses which would burst into any suspicious place. Here the security institutions hold fully their responsibilities.

The other point concerning the reaction is counter-kidnapping. Indeed some kidnapping operations take place at times without having anything to do with the kidnapped military men or anything with the reactions on the kidnapping of the military men as what took place some time ago. Such operations have to do with ransoms, stealing, and robbery. These are criminals. These are highwaymen and corruptors. Frankly speaking, it is they who are carrying such operations.

Well, there is another kind of impermissible kidnapping operations. Anyway, there is not permissible and impermissible kidnapping; however, that might at times take place as a reaction as some families do.

Besides saying that such kidnapping is impermissible religiously and legally, I want to tell our people that it is fruitless too. With whom are you dealing? At times there are sides which might be pressured in case you detained or kidnapped. At other times the side might not be concerned with the people, the people of Irsal, the family of so and so, Sunnites, Shiites, Muslims, Christians or the Druze. They do not care for anyone. They kill even each other and slaughter each other, rob each other, and take each other's womenfolk as detainees. So they do not care for what you do? Thus it is fruitless to kidnap so and so to practice pressure on these armed groups. As far as this issue is concerned we have a long experience in Syria and in the cause of Aazaz detainees. I do not want to go far into details. This issue must remain covert. Thus counter-kidnapping is impermissible religiously and legally besides being fruitless. That does not lead anywhere. This is true concerning harming the Syria immigrants as well as concerning counter-kidnapping. Where to do such acts lead? They achieve the goals of the armed forces. The speech of these armed groups is sectarian, factional, instigating, and Takfiri. They seek a sectarian strife in Lebanon; they want a factional ordeal in Lebanon; they want people to fight each other in Lebanon; and they want to bring the battle into Lebanon. It is they and not we. Between parentheses some are saying that Hizbullah is pushing the army into the battle in Irsal. Never! It is they who aggressed against the army soldiers who were in their barracks, cross points, and offices. I also want to tell you that the roads are open, the barren mountains are open, food supplies are reaching there, medicine is reaching there, and the wounded of the armed fighters are submitted to the hospitals in Irsal and thereof they are conveyed to hospitals inside Lebanon. Funds are available; arms are being conveyed to Irsal; facilitations are available; no one is holding anyone responsible or trying anyone. Do you want us to remind you of all of these issues? These want to transfer the battle to Lebanon. Here I want to reiterate and to assert to the families of the military men and to all of the Lebanese: What we say in the cabinet we say in the media, and what we say to all officials we say in the media. We do not have double languages, double speeches, double faces, and double tongues. When I say I am with that means that I am with. When I say that I am against, that means that I am against. Since the very first day when we went to Quseir, I made an announcement of that. Some presidents and officials blamed me saying that if you want to go to Quseir go without making an announcement. But no we want to announce. Why shouldn't we announce? At that day, I said whoever wants to fight let him go to Syria where there is a battlefield. Let's fight there. Let's keep Lebanon aside. However, some argued this logic. Well no! This is a well-calculated and well-considered logic because we do not want a problem in Lebanon and we do not want fighting in Lebanon. We do not want the war to be transferred to Lebanon. It's the armed forces which want to transfer the war to Lebanon and are seeking day and night to transfer the war to Lebanon. It is not we at all who are doing so. That's why we never opened the file of Irsal. We never tackled the issue of the armed forces, the facilitations offered to the armed men, or the position of Irsal regarding what is taking place in the region. Well yes, when the booby-trapped cars started coming from Irsal, we called on the army and the security forces to take the necessary procedures: Just prevent the booby-trapped cars from coming from there. We never ignited any instigation. We do not want such a battle. We hope that no battle would ever take place inside the Lebanese territories. We can tolerate much to observe this commitment. Thus when any counter-kidnapping or any aggression takes place against the immigrants or any such problems take place that would be achieving the goals of the terrorists and the killers. That's because they are seeking sedition and moving the battle to Lebanon. It is not to the interest of the Lebanese that the fighting be moved to Lebanon.

In general, what is required is controlling emotions, feelings, and reactions, avoiding harming the innocent, and guarding the social and national composition. Thereof, everyone is responsible and a partner in sharing the responsibility. As for the military men and what they are being subject to, there are concerned sides, a state, officials, and the court. These sides are concerned about trying and punishing, and we are concerned in being behind the state and supporting it on this perspective.

This is the first point which I wanted to tackle. Briefly to benefit from the available time, I want to wrap this point saying really Lebanon is before a true challenge. Well, let's see how this state, this government, and these political forces would act. This is what we call for today. Later on and when this cause would come to an end and the military men return safe and sound other things may be said. Whether we would talk or not has to do with the atmosphere and the developments. That's because being responsible we do not act in reaction. We are not talking in reaction of what is taking place. We talk to rectify things because it is wrong and dangerous to move along as such as far as this humanitarian, national, and moral issue is concerned.

The second topic has to do with the developments in the region and the stance from the international coalition – the so called international coalition to fight the "ISIL".

Indeed we are concerned in specifying our stance from it - our stance as a resistance and as a side – via our ministers in the Lebanese government. We also have to specify our stance to wipe away the distortion and falsification that have come upon this stance. In case some people were not able to understand and to comprehend, this would be their own problem and not ours. Still, we will clarify and explain our stance because this too is a historical and critical moment.

First: Everyone knows that Hizbullah is against the "ISIL". Some two months ago I have talked extensively on this. We are against those Takfiri movements, and we are fighting them too. We are offering sacrifices in fighting them. So first we must put aside what some are saying to the effect of our stance from the international coalition as being to defend or to protect "ISIL". This is simplification and misleading of the facts. So it is either simplification because of ignorance or intended misleading of facts. No, that is not the case. I have tackled the issue of "ISIL" extensively at several occasions in the past. As for us, "ISIL" are groups that kill and slaughter merely because of intellectual and political or organizational disparity. They pose a threat to all the peoples, governments, and sects. So they do not pose a threat to the minorities only but rather to all the peoples of the region. Thus our stance from these Takfiri terrorist groups is clear, firm, and final. It is obligatory to fight them, confront them, and push their danger away from the peoples of the region and the region too.

However, the issue of the US military intervention or the formation of an international coalition led by the USA is another issue. This issue must be tackled from several perspectives.

First, we have a primary stance whether America came to attack "ISIL" or to attack Taliban or to attack the former Iraqi regime or to attack any other place. In principle, we are not like the others who say they are with the US intervention and call for the US intervention to topple the so and so regime for example. However, if the US intervention was solely to attack "ISIL" or to attack their groups, they are against it. No, we are against the US military intervention and against the international coalition in Syria, whether the target is the regime – as was the case a year and a half again - or the "ISIL" or other groups. Primary, there is a principle called the US intervention whether under the cover of an international coalition or the cover of the NATO or the cover of multi-national troops.

We have a primary stance based on rules and pillars, and it does not change from one arena and another. As a result of our commitment to this primary stance, we were harmed by some in previous incidents and cases. Thus first because of our primary commitment we do not agree on this coalition. We have said so in the cabinet via our ministers and other friends. So when we are to vote in the cabinet, as Hizbullah, we will say that we do not accept that Lebanon be part of this coalition.

However, if Lebanon partakes in conferences and meetings, that would be something else. That would be the concern of the government, the President of the Republic, the Premier, and the foreign minister. However, the commitments are discussed in the cabinet. We say that we have a primary principle. Why do we have this primary principle?

Let's take the developments into consideration:

First: America is the mother of terrorism. Whoever wants to argue, we are ready for argument. America is the source of terrorism in the world. If there is terrorism in this world, search for the US administration behind it. Indeed, we are not talking about the US people.

Second: America is the ultimate supporter of terrorist Zionist entity. The source of terrorism in our region is the existence of (the State of "Israel") which attains absolute US support whether militarily, security, political, economic, financial, or legal. In the Security Council, even condemning or the right of veto is not allowed when it comes to "Israel".

Third: The US fabricated or played a role in fabricating these terrorist Takfiri movements.

Fourth: America is not in the moral position that entitles it to lead a war against terrorism. In fact, it never once had a moral position. The side that struck Japan with nuclear bombs, committed atrocities in the Vietnam War, has all of this dark history, stood next to Netanyahu in the 50-day-war against Gaza and the people of Gaza, demolishes, kills thousands, wounds thousands, and displaces tens of thousands from their houses is not morally eligible to present itself as a fighter of terrorism or as a leader of an international coalition to target terrorism.

The issue has nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

Fifth: Based on all of Obama's statements, this coalition aims at defending the US interests. What have we to do with defending the US interests especially that most of these interests – if not all of the US interests come at the expense of the interests of the region and the peoples of the region and the governments of the region.

Are we, Lebanon, or other states to be a part of a coalition led by the USA in a war to defend the US interests in the region? This is what Obama says. I am not fabricating lies against him.

He did not say we came here to defend the minorities or the Muslims or the Christians. Never! This never took place before the eyes of the entire world. For years by now – and not only in the past few months – he did not take any action.

Well yes, when the situation became dangerous enough to the extent of harming the US interests, the US administration came to create a cover and an international coalition. We are not concerned in fighting in an international coalition of this kind or to support an international coalition of this kind that serves the US interests apart from the interests of the peoples.

Sixth: The Lebanese, Iraqis, Syrians, as well as all the peoples of the region have the right to question the US intentions through this awareness and this awakening. He wants to gather the world and form an international coalition. In fact, he had formed an international coalition and wants to lead the war, and today he started this war.

Is it true that now the Americans woke up and their humanitarian emotions got moved thus they were shocked by the slaughtering, the massacres, the displacement of people from their homes, the demolishing of churches, mosques, and shrines, and the crucifixion of people? Did they wake up now? Did their humanitarian emotions lead them to this coalition or this is a pretext or an excuse for America to occupy the region again or to form military bases the Iraqis had refused previously and now it is its chance to restore to Iraq again or to the region in some states again or to impose such choices?

I only want to remind the Lebanese that this issue was evoked previously. On the first days of July 2006 War, when we used to receive messages and there were mediators to stop the war, we were made this offer: Hand all of the arms of the resistance, hand the two "Israeli" captives unconditionally, and thirdly – which is most important - accept the existence of multinational forces – not the UNIFIL or the UN - in the south, along the Lebanese-Palestinian borders, along the Lebanese-Syrian borders, in the airport, at the ports, and on the Lebanese territories. We rejected this in July War and toppled this scheme with blood, martyrs, patience, tears, wounds, sorrows, and solidarity.

Who says they do not want to impose this again when we become part of the international coalition? As soon as you become part of this international coalition, your airport, ports, skies, waters, and territories would be open for them to make military bases for NATO and the USA? What would become of Lebanon then?

Don't the Lebanese have the right to be suspicious as the Iraqis are very much suspicious that the goal from this awareness and from this concern expressed by the Americans is the return to impose military bases – what the Iraqis refused previously? The Americans want to return and form military barracks, bases, and airports. They want to impose their conditions and achieve immunities to their soldiers and officers as what they did in South Korea and other places.

For all of these reasons and others too we say that we do not support and we also refuse that Lebanon be part of the international coalition led by the USA. Lebanon does not need to be part of this coalition. First that is not to the interest of Lebanon. Lebanon would be subject to dangers in case it became part of this international coalition. I am not talking pursuant to the principle of staying away so that they won't say that this is inappropriate. No! This is a totally different idea. The disintegration among them is clear. There are dangers in case Lebanon becomes part of this coalition. Second, Lebanon does not need this coalition. It does not need to be part of this coalition. It has no interest in that.

It might be said that we are facing this danger now in Lebanon. The Lebanese are able to face this danger. As Lebanese we are able to confront the terrorists and terrorism. Despite the political division, the political overbids, instigations and all of what I talked about in the future, Lebanon is still able to confront this danger. With the least degree of harmony and with the least degree of cooperation within the Lebanese government – this current government – Lebanon is able to confront this danger through its army, military apparatuses, people, steadfastness, and patience. In the future too, we as Lebanese are able to confront this danger.

What are we in need of? If anyone is to call on the international community or the USA or the members of the new coalition, we would call for the following:

First, I call on everyone and not only on them to stop financing and arming the terrorist groups which are targeting Lebanon and the Lebanese interior. I do not want to talk about Syria and Iraq. I am talking about Lebanon. I am talking on the Lebanese national level.

Stop arming, funding, training, and dispatching fighters who are targeting Lebanon. This is still taking place to our day and from among states in this coalition. Let this stop if you want to serve Lebanon. Do you want to serve Lebanon? Is your heart aching for the Lebanese and the Lebanese people? Do you want to defend Lebanon against terrorism? First do this.

Second: Speed up in supporting the Lebanese Army and the security forces because we bargain on them. This is the responsibility of the state in the first place.

Third: Help Lebanon in resolving the crisis of the refugees. When the crisis of the refugees is addressed, the danger of the terrorists and terrorism would be kept off to a great extent. It would also spare Lebanon many ordeals and crises.

If anyone wants to help Lebanon, let him help Lebanon in the framework of these three topics.

First: Stop funding and arming the terrorists.

Second: Speed up in supporting and arming the Lebanese Army and the security forces.

Third: Address the crisis of the refugees.

As for the Lebanese, they are able to confront any danger which may target them.

In the near past, they gathered the military hostages in one place and a person stood among them and bragged saying: "If we want, we can be in Beirut within days." No! You can't be in Beirut or in any other place. I do not want to name villages and regions. Through the state, army, solidarity, national emotions, and national responsibility, the Lebanese can protect all the Lebanese regions. All the Lebanese areas will be protected against any terrorism danger, and I mean what I say.

Any Lebanese region does not concern a definite sect, faction, or side. This is a Lebanese territory; this is Lebanese people; these are Lebanese people. All the Lebanese must be one hand to prevent the expansion of terrorism to any of the Lebanese regions.

I reiterate saying that in the first place the government, the state, the army, and all of us must be one hand against the state, the government, and the army. It is not allowed to act according to the principle that "we are not concerned" in case the terrorism military expanded towards any region under the pretext that this is not our sect, this is not our region, and this is not our political side. This is a mistake. It is a fatal mistake in fact.
The Lebanese must come together, unite, and be one hand. In fact, they can push the threat of the terrorists and the Takfiri groups away from their country. The Lebanese are strong. We are not weak. No one can threat us by invading, controlling, or reaching Beirut or any other region. We are still alive, and no one can intimidate the Lebanese in such a way. We will assume our responsibilities as I used to tell you in the past.

In the remaining few moments, I will briefly tackle definite topics though these topics deserve some elaboration.

No doubt the region is moving towards important developments in the coming few weeks. What is taking place in Iraq? What is taking place in Syria? The new military operation was launched. We in Lebanon and in the region are concerned in following all of this precisely and cautiously and consequently assume our responsibilities.

Praise be to Allah! Summer is over. No one is to say he wants to take a vacation to spend the summer somewhere. Everyone must be alert, aware, and follow the developments because it is not known where these developments would lead to. We have our analysis and views on these events, but we do not have enough time to explain that. I will only call for being aware, cautious, alert, follow the events, and assume responsibilities.

Second: As it is the first time I talk since a period of time, I offer my felicitations to the heroic resistance in Gaza, the Palestinian people, the people of Gaza as well as its martyrs, injured, and brave fighters, and the prisons of the Palestinian people on this great victory which was achieved. No doubt, it is an absolute strong, great, important military victory. It is also a great political victory because it crippled all the covert and overt targets of the "Israeli" aggression against Gaza.

We felicitate them on this victory which we view as a victory for the entire nation, for all the Palestinian people, for all the peoples of the region, and for all the resistance movements in the region.

Third: Before these recent developments which took place in Yemen, we also must felicitate the dear Yemeni people for this reconciliation. The National Peace and Partnership Agreement – as I believe they called it - is an exceptional opportunity before the Yemeni people. It is a historic opportunity to pull Yemen out of its complicated problems as it eliminates those who were behind the domestic war and aggressions. The regional states have also welcomed this agreement. We are glad when any people reach an agreement, a national reconciliation, and a political resolution. We listen to this marvelous, great national address made by responsible Yemeni leaderships. Praise be to Allah! That really is promising. We hope Inshallah that no one seeks to cripple this agreement, and that all the Yemenis and all those who care for Yemen would seek to help the Yemeni people to implement and enforce this agreement.

Fourth: We hail the Bahraini people's continuing peaceful movement and their tolerance of all the repercussions and sacrifices. We hope that this people will achieve their goals and that the regional and international developments which may advance in some places would help this people in achieving their aspirations and targets. As a part of the peoples of the region, as part of this nation, as part of this body that aches when any other part aches, that feels happy when the others are happy and suffers when the others suffer, we as a political side has an aspiration. We hope that the Lebanese people, the Syrian people, the Iraqi people, the Bahraini people, the Yemeni people, and all the peoples of the region - I will not name all the peoples of the region. Though I try not to approach some places in my political speech or discussion because of the existing sensitivities, however at least I specify those with whom we share geographical proximity – would be able to transcend their catastrophes and sufferings. We hope that through their leaderships, historic awareness, assumption of responsibilities, sacrifices, perseverance, and steadfastness, these peoples would be able to turn these threats into opportunities. Today, the region is before a great threat. This threat may be turned to a great opportunity. However, that is dependent on the determination, awareness, and assumption of responsibility. Allah has men who when they wish He wishes.

Peace be upon you, and Allah's mercy and blessings.