Nasrallah Urges Syrians to Back Regime: Technocrat Govt a U.S. Idea
Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday described calls for forming a technocrat cabinet in Lebanon as a U.S. suggestion, noting that “the other camp’s claims of a coup have been refuted because the government has not been formed yet.”
The suggestion to form a technocrat government “was raised by the Americans and the Mustaqbal Movement,” Nasrallah charged.
“Accusations that Hizbullah has taken control of the country and that it isn’t pressuring its allies demonstrate that the other camp does not have a clear position on current affairs,” Nasrallah said in a televised address on Liberation Day.
His speech, marking the 11th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon after 22 years, was broadcast on a giant screen to thousands of Hizbullah supporters in the village of Nabi Sheet, a Hizbullah stronghold in the eastern Bekaa Valley.
“This day does not belong to one sect or one party, but to the entire Lebanese population and it should belong to the Palestinians and the Arab nation. The events of May 25, 2000 changed Lebanon and the equation in the region,” Nasrallah said.
“We believe that the existence of a government is necessary to tackle problems in the country … We don’t want a share in government and we only address the people’s concerns,” he added.
Addressing the unrest in neighboring Syria, Nasrallah urged Syrians to "preserve their country" and maintain President Bashar al-Assad's "regime of resistance."
"We call on all Syrians to preserve their country as well as the ruling regime, a regime of resistance, and to give their leaders a chance to cooperate with all Syria's communities in order to implement the necessary reforms," Nasrallah said.
It was the first time the reclusive Hizbullah leader has commented on the protests in Syria, which along with Iran is a major backer of his armed group.
“We in Lebanon, especially Hizbullah, are grateful to Syrian President Assad and the Syrian people because they had prevented divisions in Lebanon and the region. They helped maintain Lebanon’s unity and they stopped the Lebanese civil war. They supported the resistance in Lebanon, which resulted in the liberation on May 25, 2000 and the July 2006 victory.
"The difference between the Arab uprisings and Syria ... is that President Assad is convinced that reforms are necessary, unlike Bahrain and other Arab countries," said Nasrallah, who has not appeared in public since 2008.
He also urged his party's supporters to reject sanctions by the United States, the European Union and Canada on his ally.
"We must refuse these sanctions that the United States and the rest of the West are trying to market and convince Lebanon to abide by," said Nasrallah.
He denied as false a report aired by Al-Arabiya television alleging that Hizbullah has sent 3000 members to Syria.
“To all the liars in the Arab world and the journalists who write false reports, I say that if we were to deploy in these countries, we would at least have the courage to admit to it,” said Nasrallah.
Addressing U.S. President Barack Obama’s accusations that Hizbullah has been exercising “political assassination”, Nasrallah denied the allegations as baseless, stressing that the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon probing the 2005 murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri was an “American-Israeli product.”
“The U.S. is the country that has been involved in most political assassinations. The CIA targeted (late Shiite cleric) Imam Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah in 1985, killing more than a hundred people in the process. It also killed hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Nasrallah added.
Commenting on Obama’s latest rhetoric on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nasrallah said the U.S. leader and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have "dealt the final blow" to the 2002 Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative.
"Obama and Netanyahu have dealt the final, decisive blow to what is called the Arab Peace Initiative," Nasrallah noted in his televised address.
"Is it not time that this initiative be dropped as an option?" asked Nasrallah.
"At the very least, the Arab League should pull the initiative as an option," he added. "No to negotiations. No to Israel. No to the occupation of Jerusalem," said Nasrallah, stressing that “the developments of the past few years have demonstrated that the Resistance is the appropriate, realistic, logical, and productive choice to achieve goals.”
He described the path of negotiations as a “crazy and futile option that doesn’t achieve any results.”
“Hadn’t it been for the Resistance, Lebanon would have been still occupied by Israel,” Hizbullah number one stressed.
The peace initiative presented by Saudi Arabia in 2002 offers Israel full normalization of ties in return for its withdrawal from occupied Arab land and the creation of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu has rejected Obama's request that negotiations with Palestinians resume immediately and that he agree to the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War to form the basis for the talks.
“The Palestinians have no choice but resistance and I call on them to adopt this choice and I urge the Ummah to present all support to it,” Nasrallah said.