Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Beirut, (Al-Akhbar): There are two major security threats currently facing Lebanon: Israel, and the presence of radical salafis fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech Saturday.
Nasrallah, speaking on the 13th anniversary of the liberation of South Lebanon from Israel’s 18-year military occupation, justified Hezbollah’s continued armament by insisting that the Lebanese state has not prepared for a future attack by Israel.
“We have a state which cannot stop the bloody confrontation in Tripoli. We have a state that cannot agree on an electoral law, a state of confessionalism,” Nasrallah said, adding that the resistance is the only force capable of defending the country.
“After the 2006 war I said build a capable state, and we will fight under the state,” he added.
Israel and its allies want to prevent Lebanon from building a strong state, he added, because they know a robust Lebanese army with modern weapons could not be co-opted by the West like other Arab armies.
“Some Arab countries receive [weapons from the West] because they guaranteed that not one bullet from these weapons will be directed towards Israel,” Nasrallah said. “If the Lebanese national army was getting these weapons, it would fight just like the resistance. The men of the army are the sons of the people, the youth of this people.”
Nasrallah also dismissed the European Union’s recent push to blacklist the popular Shia movement as a terrorist organization, saying the group has been battling a psychological and political war for 30 years.
“We have confronted great pressure, but they have never been successful in harming our will,” he said.
Concerning the week-long clashes in Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli between supporters and opponents of Syria’s government that have killed nearly 30 people, Nasrallah called on all parties to end the violence.
He said the fighting in Lebanon achieves nothing, and urged those who wanted to take part in the Syria’s war to do so on Syrian soil.
“What is happening in Tripoli must stop. … Anyone who wants to fight, let him fight in Syria. Leave Tripoli to the people,” Nasrallah said.
He also described as “very disturbing” a move Wednesday by salafis in the southern city of Sidon to prevent the burial of a Hezbollah fighter killed in Syria.
The war in Syria could prove to be “fatal” for Lebanon should the Syrian government fall, Nasrallah warned, as extremists have vowed to take aim at the country.
He condemned Arab governments for sending al-Qaeda-inspired extremists to fight in Syria on behalf of United States and Israel.
All Lebanese religious factions would be targeted by these armed groups should they take control, Nasrallah said, pointing out that Sunnis themselves have been most frequently targeted by extremists in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries where al-Qaeda has gained foothold.
“We don’t accuse everyone [in the opposition] of having foreign ties. Some have logic, a vision, rightful demands, and they are ready to hold a dialogue. That’s their natural right,” Nasrallah said.
But the armed groups have a different objective, he added, and are executing western plans to dominate the region.
“If Syria falls into the hands of the Americans and Israel and extremists, and want to impose its own project on Lebanon …, Jerusalem will be lost. The resistance will be lost. The people of our region will witness a very difficult and dark period.”
“You can take any side you want,” Nasrallah added, “however Hezbollah cannot be on the side of America or Israel or people who dig the graves and open the chests and behead other people.”