Leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah said that despite his party’s hostility towards “terrorist organisations”, he rejects the international alliance formed and led by the US against the Islamic State (ISIS) and other organisations. He urged the participating countries to “stop funding and training these terrorist organisations and to arm the Lebanese army”.
In a televised speech made yesterday evening, Nasrallah said: “Everyone knows that Hezbollah is against ISIS and takfiri groups and is fighting them and making sacrifices. The groups that kill and slaughter pose a threat to all the peoples of this region.”
He added: “We are principally against any international coalition in Syria, whether it targets the Syria regime, ISIS, or any other group,” noting that “Hezbollah is against Lebanon’s participation in this alliance.”
Nasrallah described the US as “the mother of terrorism and the cause of terrorism in this world. It is the absolute supporter of the Zionist state of terrorism,” adding that “America isn’t qualified morally to lead an anti-terrorism coalition, and we are not concerned with fighting within an international alliance of that sort.”
He also urged the countries participating in the international alliance to “stop the financing and arming of terrorist groups and to arm the Lebanese army and resolve the issue of the Syrian refugees.”
ISIS was first established in Iraq shortly after the American occupation of the country in March 2003 and its influence spread to Syria after the outbreak of its popular revolution in mid-March 2011. For the past three months, ISIS has controlled large areas in east Syria and northwest Iraq. In June it announced the established of what it called the “Caliphate State”, naming its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi a “Caliph” and urging Muslims to pledge allegiance to him.
With the growth of the organisation’s strength, the US announced that it formed an alliance consisting of over 40 regional and Western countries, in the hope of overpowering ISIS.
As for the case of the Lebanese soldiers captured by ISIS and Al-Nusra Front in the city of Arsal bordering Syria last August, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah is “staying out of” this issue because the other party has its own means and consideration, noting that he is “cautious” in such issues.
He stressed that “Hezbollah’s goal is to release the soldiers as soon as possible,” calling for support for the Lebanese government in addressing this issue.
Nasrallah rejected accusations that Hezbollah opposed negotiations with the captors and urged the government to negotiate “from a position of strength. No one begs and submits themselves to the captors, negotiating from a weak position, especially since the Lebanese government is aware of the positions of strength it has”.
He also point out that “innocent Syrian refugees and any other innocents must not be harmed. No one should be held responsible for the crimes of those terrorists,” noting that Hezbollah has made efforts to protect the refugees and fend off danger; “we are protecting and defending the refugees and are working to provide a calm atmosphere for them.”
He added: “Lebanon is facing a real challenge and we are now required to control our feelings and emotions, refrain from harming the innocent, and preserve national and social unity.”
The Battle of Arsal, which broke out between the Lebanese army and armed Syrian militants in early August, led to the death and wounding of dozens of militants and the death of over 17 Lebanese soldiers and the wounding of 86 others. A number of soldiers and internal security forces were also captured during the battle.
Nasrallah congratulated the Palestinians on “the great victory they achieved”, he said he considered it “a great political victory because it thwarted all Israel’s announced and unannounced goals”.
He also said that “in terms of Yemen’s developments, we congratulate it on its reconciliation which gives the country a historical opportunity to resolve Yemen’s complex problems. We are happy when any nation reaches a political solution.”
The Yemeni capital city Sanaa fell into the hands of armed Houthis by means of their control over the majority of the vital institutions in the city, particularly the parliament, Defence Ministry headquarters, and the national television and radio stations. This was the climax of weeks of Houthi protests demanding the overthrow of the government and re-establishment of fuel subsidies.
Under the pressure of this military raid, the Yemeni president signed an agreement with the Houthis on Sunday evening in the presence of the UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar, Houthi representatives, and a number of right-wing political forces.
Some of the most prominent clauses of this agreement include the formation of a new inclusive government within a month, appointing a Houthi and a Southern Movement advisor to the president, and reducing the price of petroleum by-products.