September 4, 2012 (TSR) – Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah reassured Monday that the Palestinian cause should stay the priority for all countries, indicating that the United States and Israel are trying to make this cause forgotten.
In an interview with Ghassan bin Jeddo on Al-Mayadeen, Sayyed Nasrallah said that “we are in front of a transformation period in which new systems and regimes are being established, and new powers are being formed.”
He considered that Russia and China are regaining their powers internationally, while Egypt and Iraq are getting their major roles back in the region; and pointed out that “while the Arab countries are still being manipulated by superpowers, they could successfully become major players on the international level if they gain their powers back.
In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that “before the Syrian crisis emerged, things were moving towards the choice of the resistance… Israel was in a funeral during the Egyptian revolution which ousted Hosni Mubarak.”
One of the Enemy’s Goals is that the Palestinian Cause Becomes Forgotten
Hezbollah secretary general considered that there are attempts to blackout the developments in Palestine, stressing that divisions must not affect the essence of Palestine and Al-Quds.
“No matter what the divisions were, the Palestinian cause is an ideological and moral responsibility, and divisions must not affect this path… the enemy is occupying new lands in Al-Quds, and the settlements are extending, while no one is taking any action.”
He also noted that “the developments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen had begun to establish strategic environment for the benefit of resistance and at the expense of Israel.”
“The way the media covers with what is happening in Syria and pumping money and weapons to this country have raised doubts about the goals of what is happening”, he expressed.
All options are Open in Case of an Israeli Attack: No Chemical Weapons, but Missiles
Nasrallah reiterated that “when Israel threatens of destroying Lebanon, it is our duty to stand in its face and say: This era is over,” emphasizing that “Israel’s ambitions and dreams are still the same, and only its power have changed.”
He clarified that “the enemy is always ready for the “first strike” in case of a war, in which he would try to destroy the rocket launcher sites.
“In my speech on Al-Quds day, I warned that our rockets could force hundreds of thousands of Israelis to the shelters… from here I tell the Israelis not to bet on this “first strike” because it will fail to achieve any goal,” he added.
He also stated that “Israel has many weak spots, and we are trying to take advantage of that,” assuring that “if the enemy wanted to work without restrictions, we will do the same… the resistance rockets could hit any goal in occupied Palestine, and we are the ones who choose the goals.”
From here, Sayyed Nasrallah reassured that the resistance did not have chemical weapons, and it can’t use such weapons for legitimate reasons.
“We do not have a chemical weapon and use it because it is forbidden in Islam,” he said.
Nasrallah stressed that “there are sites and rocket launchers which remain untouched, but by the first Israeli strike, we would be capable of turning Israel into hell”.
“When Israel stands and threatens to destroy Lebanon, it is our duty to stand up and say that this time is over.”
He also stated that “Hezbollah was never worried, not even during the July war. It was very clear for us that we will triumph, and this is what we promised our people of,” adding that “our status today is much better than 2006… this is why we are not worried.”
“When Barak told his soldiers to be prepared for some day they might return to Lebanon, I told our men to be prepared for someday we might go to Galilee,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, asserting that “if Israel attacks us, all options are open.”
Moreover, his eminence noted that “some people think that the internal files are occupying Hezbollah from the front, but I assure you that we are working on the front like there is nothing inside.”
Iranian Response to an Attack
Hezbollah secretary general considered that Iran is targeted because it is a strong and advanced Islamic country that is gaining more power, authority, and presence on the regional level, and it is an ultimate enemy to Israel.
He does not believe Israel will attack Iran in the “foreseeable future,” warning that Tehran’s response to any potential assault will anyway be “great.”
“Personally, I do not expect the Israeli enemy – at least in the coming months or foreseeable future – (to wage) an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Nasrallah said.
“A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great,” Nasrallah added.
“The response will not be just inside the Israeli entity – all American bases in the whole region would be Iranian targets… If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility,” the Hezbollah leader said.
“Israel does not take any step separate from the US, so any Israeli attack on Iran will be considered an attack by the US,” he said.
On the Bahraini issue, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that high-level talks between the Iranians and the Saudis took place in the past couple of months, in which regional files we discussed.
“A Saudi official told the Iranian side that the solution in Bahrain is that the Iranian supreme leader tells the protestors “Guys” return to your homes, and they return to their homes, and everything ends, and the regime stays as it is,” he further pointed out.
America Wants to Destroy Syria
Sayyed Nasrallah said that Hezbollah chose to support the Syrian regime for two basic reasons: the first was its stance from the conflict with Israel, and the second was its readiness for dialogue and reforms.
He revealed that he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad on the first week of protests, and the latter showed his desire to make reforms and changes and start a dialogue with the opposition, but the opposition refused.
“President Assad was even ready to cancel constitution article number eight which stated the Baath party’ leadership in the country,” Sayyed Nasrallah added pointing out that “President Assad is not the target, but the regime and its stance from Israel is.”
Article VIII [Baath Party]
The leading party in the society and the state is the Socialist Arab Baath Party. It leads a patriotic and progressive front seeking to unify the resources of the people’s masses and place them at the service of the Arab nation’s goals.
Nasrallah disclosed Assad’s concerns further,”the Syrian opposition did not not have the desire to dialogue, but was aimed at toppling the regime and thus things went to the clash. ”
“The Western countries aims to overthrow the Syrian regime, including what it represents and to thwart any options provided. The true goal is to remove President Bashar al-Assad.”
“An Arab country and some American sides had recently asked President Assad to change his stances from Israel and to cut his relation with Iran and Hezbollah so that the crisis in Syria ends,” he uncovered, indicating that “Imam Khamenei supported the Syrian regime under the condition that it makes reforms.”
“Iran is putting real efforts in the Non- Aligned Movement and is ready to cooperate to solve the Syrian situation,” he said.
In contrast, he considered that “America does not want a solution in Syria… it wants the crisis to stay long to destroy the army and the people, just like it tried to do previously in Iraq.”
“America likes this Syrian scene because it is reflecting on the region, and is spreading sedition everywhere,” Sayyed Nasrallah further said, adding that “many suicide bombers were able to enter Iraq with American facilitation.”
“The only solution in Syria is by the end of fights and the beginning of a dialogue between the Syrian sides,” he assured.
Syria: Conflict not Sectarian
Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that the problem in Syria was not sectarian but rather political, stating that “the conflict is not between the Sunnis and the Shiites, it is rather with the Takfirists who are manipulated by the West.”
“It is the scholars’ responsibility to hold a serious dialogue to discuss the issues that aggravate a Sunni-Shiite conflict,” he said, and addressed the Lebanese and the Arabs saying: “Let’s avoid the sectarian speech and differ politically as much as we want.”
Government… Lebanese Captives in Syria
As he called upon all parts to differ politically and avoid the sectarian speech, he assured that the former Lebanese government was not more productive than the current one.
He also pointed out that Hezbollah held on to this government because “information reveal that if this government resigned it will take one year to form another government.”
On the Lebanese citizens kidnapped in Syria, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that “if anyone wants to convince us of his stance in Syria, we are ready for discussion; but using innocent civilians to put pressure on some political parts so that they change their stances is meaningless.”
He further asked: “If these are guests, isn’t it time for these guests to be released?”
Additionally, Sayyed Nasrallah addressed the Syrian kidnappers saying: “If you are freedom seekers you cannot kidnap innocent people for this long… if you are justice seekers then don’t oppress them.”
Context: The Iran Nuclear Issue
Nasrallah added that there were disagreements among Israeli officials over attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.
On Sunday, Israel’s former Supreme Court judge Eliyahu Winograd lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister for Military Affairs Ehud Barak for their “extremely irresponsible” statements about striking Iran.
“I’m not familiar with their [Netanyahu and Barak’s] considerations, but their [statements] are extremely irresponsible,” Winograd said.
“The chiefs of the entire defense establishment – Shin Bet and Mossad chiefs past and present, Military Intelligence – they all oppose a strike but Netanyahu and Barak alone will decide?” he asked.
The US, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Tel Aviv has repeatedly threatened Tehran with a military strike to pressure it to halt its nuclear energy work.
Iran refutes the allegations over its nuclear energy program has promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country.
Heightened Israeli rhetoric about Tehran’s nuclear facilities, which the West says could be part of a weapons programme, has stoked speculation that it may attack Iran before US elections in November.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers on Sunday to set a “clear red line” to convince Iran they would prevent it from obtaining nuclear arms.
Israel, thought to be the Middle East’s only nuclear-armed power, views Iran’s nuclear programme as a threat to its regional dominance and to its very existence. Tehran says the atomic work is for peaceful purposes only.
But Netanyahu’s cabinet is divided over the wisdom of attacking Iran, and Israeli officials have dropped heavy hints of a climbdown strategy, under which Netanyahu would shelve threats of an attack now in return for a stronger public pledge from President Barack Obama on conditions that would provoke US action in future.
Nasrallah said there were divisions in Israel over attacking Iran. “Personally I do not expect the Israeli enemy – at least in the coming months or foreseeable future – (to wage) an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.
Nasrallah pointed to the fragile global economy, which would be weakened further by any sharp rise in crude oil prices stemming from conflict in the Gulf, and to likely Israeli casualties in any war with Iran.
“Netanyahu and (defence minister Ehud) Barak inflate the benefit and play down the cost,” he said, referring to Barak’s estimates that Israel could suffer up to 500 fatalities in any conflict aimed at wiping out Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Hezbollah guerrillas fought a 34-day war with Israel six years ago in which 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 people in Israel, mostly soldiers, were killed.
War with Iran would be more deadly, Nasrallah said. “We don’t know what will happen in the region.”