Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah tackled the developments in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain in an interview to Al-Manar TV channel Friday and as he greeted the Muslims on Al-Adha holiday, he assured that greetings this year are accompanied with condolences due to the tragic incident in Mina that left over 1300 pilgrims dead.
His eminence considered that the Saudi regime holds the full responsibility for the Mina incident as it was the sole manager of the pilgrimage and it has always refused to share this responsibility with anyone else. As he stressed that blaming the pilgrims for this tragedy was a simplification of things, he pointed out that the consequent accidents in the pilgrimage that take place every year indicate that there is a major problem in Saudi’s management to the pilgrimage.
In an interview with al-Manar channel His Eminence added that “the countries that were most affected should join the inquiry into the incident.”
He further called for the participation of delegates from the countries with the largest number of casualties in the investigation committee in the pilgrimage incident.
As the Resistance Leader heaped scorn on Riyadh for refusing any assistance in handling Hajj affairs, he called the Saudi Kingdom to allow Muslim countries to help the kingdom run the Hajj pilgrimage rituals.
He also emphasized the need for the formation of a Muslim committee to “supervise the management” of the annual Islamic event.
Syria, Shift in Int’l Powers
Moving to the Syrian front, Sayyed Nasrallah viewed that “the steadfastness of Syria and its allies for five years of the global war is the cause of current shifts in the international positions.”
“The aim of the 5-year global war on Syria was to topple the regime and seize control of the country, but the perseverance of Syria and its allies was the main factor behind what we’re witnessing today,” he said.
Responding to a question on Hizbullah’s power, Sayyed Nasrallah clarified that “Hizbullah is a Lebanese party and due to the regional events and our alliances and friendships, we now have a sort of regional influence.”
“The consequences of terrorism on the countries that supported it, the refugee crisis, and the nuclear agreement led to the change of international positions toward Syria,” he mentioned.
On this level, Hizbullah Secretary General highlighted that “today we’re witnessing the failure of the anti-“ISIL” US strategy and international coalition.”
“The Europeans are now facing a new challenge, the challenge of the refugees, and they’re facing two choices – ending the war in Syria or taking in the refugees,” he said, pointing out that “the Iranian nuclear deal is also a factor, as the Americans thought they could convince Iran through negotiations to bargain over Syria, but this has also ended.”
Elsewhere in his comments, the Resistance leader underscored that “Washington was after a bargain with Iran over Syria during the nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the P5+1 states.”
Russian Presence Key Factor
Commenting on the latest announcement of the Russian military presence,Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted that “the combat Russian presence and not the advisory one in Syria is a major development.”
“The Russian intervention is a key factor that has convinced everyone, including the Americans and the Turks, that Moscow is serious in its new moves,” he added.
In addition, His Eminence unveiled that “Russia had called for a new anti-“ISIL” international coalition comprising Iran, Iraq, Turkey and the current alliance that is facing the group. Several meetings were held between senior officials of these countries and they engaged in a serious discussion about forming a real anti-terror force.”
“The Russian position, as well as the Iranian one, concerning the Syrian President al-Assad is decisive and away from any confusion,” he said, explaining that “we consider the Russian intervention a positive factor that would yield positive results. The Russian moves are coordinated with the four countries that I mentioned.”
Sayyed Nasrallah moved on to say: “There are significant numbers of advanced Russian fighter jets, helicopters, missiles and sophisticated weaponry , which they brought to Syria in addition to their crews.”
On the refugees’ crisis, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the real cure to the refugee problem is to solve the Syrian crisis.
“We welcome any force that enters Syria to support this front, because it would be contributing to fending off the major threats that Syria and the region are facing,” he added.
He further stated: “Iran wants Syria to remain in the axis of resistance and it does not interfere in any domestic Syrian affair and all claims in this regard are baseless. The decision in Syria is 100% Syrian and Iran is only concerned with preventing the fall of Syria into the hands of terrorism.”
“Syria might ask Russia to send forces in the future,” Hizbullah Secretary General.
Sayyed Nasrallah hoped that the entire Lebanese-Syrian border is controlled and that the armed groups withdraw to protect Lebanon.
Zabadani and 6-month truce
Commenting on the Zabadani battle, he unveiled that the Syrian army and the Resistance men started the Zabadani battle on July 1 and seized control of all hills around the town and most of the town’s territory. “The militants started issuing distress calls within less than two weeks … They later floated the Fuaa-Kafraya-Zabadani equation after their leaders thought that pressure on Fuaa and Kafraya would improve their situation in Zabadani.”
In parallel, he confirmed that “it was possible to finish the Zabadani battle a long time ago. However, we preferred to take advantage of the opportunity to resolve the Fuaa-Kafraya problem .”
“When the linked the issue to Zabadani, we saw a chance and we protected Fuaa and Kafraya by refraining from seizing full control of the town before reaching a solution for the two towns.”
Explaining the details of the reached ceasefire in Zabadani, Sayyed Nasrallah elaborated: The first stage of the agreement sees the evacuation of gunmen and the wounded from Zabadani to Idlib.
“The civilians and families who wish to stay in Zabadani are allowed to do so.”
“In return, 10,000 civilians will be freed from Foua and Kefraya, in addition to the wounded,” he added, noting that “the first stage also sees a ceasefire in the areas and a truce for the next six months.”
Sayyed Nasrallah also detailed: “Those who remain in the two villages will receive aid, including food and fuel, pointing out that “Zabadani remains under the control of the Syrian regime and peace would return to the Lebanese border.”
The second stage touches on the prisoners issue “that needs further negotiations.”
“We wouldn’t have reached these results if the people of Foua and Kefraya didn’t stand their grounds,” he noted, viewing that “chances for a political solution in Syria are growing.”
Furthermore, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that the “reports about Hizbullah’s casualties in Zabadani are exaggerated.”
Once again, His Eminence reiterated: “We’ll be where we should be.”
“We are fighting in Syria with grief and we would have liked to see this huge number of militants embarked on liberating al-Aqsa. We were obliged to enter this battle … If time goes back, we would expedite the decision to intervene in Syria. Everything that we said in the first year is being echoed by some countries nowadays,” he said.
We will take part in any movement for protecting Al-Aqsa Mosque
Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah warned that “”Israel” is benefiting the most of the current events but the course of developments is not in its hand.”
“We are concerned and we will be part of any real movement aimed at protecting the al-Aqsa Mosque,” he stated, noting that ” No one can say that war with “Israel” is inevitable, although it is possible and might erupt at any given moment due to Israel’s well-known hostility. We must maintain our preparedness to protect our country and people.”
KSA Failed in Yemen
On the Yemeni level, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted that the failure of the Saudi attack in Marib could open the door to a political solution.
“There are a variety of nationalities fighting alongside the Saudi aggression in Yemen, he clarified, noting that “Saudi Arabia is disrupting a political solution in Yemen only because it wants to negotiate from a better position.”
Aoun for Presidency
On the internal front, Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated Hizbullah’s support for electing Change and Reform Bloc leader Michel Aoun as a Lebanese president.
“We will support Aoun’s presidential aspirations until he decides not to run for the post,” he declared, noting that “Lebanon needs a “strong, independent, authentic and solid head of state…. We want a strong president who cannot be “bought or sold,” especially in this period that Lebanon and the region are going through. These characteristics apply to General Aoun.”
He also stressed that “Aoun bears these characteristics.”
“Aoun’s chances remain high as he isn’t linked to any foreign country. It’s a logical choice,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.”Michel Aoun is not linked to any country, embassy or party and he has the courage to take his own decisions.”
He argued that Saudi Arabia has a veto on the election of Aoun, saying that Future Movement leader Saad Hariri was seeking to reach a deal with the FPM chief over the presidency and the premiership, but “Riyadh refused.”
Moreover, His Eminence rejected claims that his party and the FPM are boycotting the presidency election sessions to block the road on the Saudi intervention, saying: “[These claims] undermine the role of the president and insults the post.”
“We will not agree on any president. Such a president would be threatened by foreign powers and have no independent stance.”
However, Sayyed Nasrallah denied that Iran intervenes in Lebanon’s local affairs, adding it “has
no veto on any solution to the crises in Lebanon.
His Eminence voiced support for an electoral law based on proportional representation, which he said “would allow new powers to emerge.”
“Such an electoral law, if it was adopted, would resolve the crises in Lebanon,” he said, describing those who refuse the proportional representation as “dictators.”
In any country, when the political process reaches a deadlock, the rulers would return to the people … The problem in Lebanon is that the Constitution did not mention a referendum, although it exists in most countries in the world.
“We don’t have this mechanism and we can only return to the people through parliamentary elections,” he said.
Sayyed Nasrallah went on to explain that “holding parliamentary polls under any law will not solve the problem because the elections will yield the same results. Therefore, an electoral law based on proportional representation would be the gateway to give people a chance to elect a parliament that would improve the political life.”
Sayyed Nasrallah also tackled the dialogue with the Future Movement, saying it defuses tension and aims at setting a common ground for communication.
“The national dialogue parties in Lebanon have a chance to success in some files if there is a will. We encouraged House Speaker Berri’s initiative but we don’t expect major achievements.”
He further announced: “Should we fail to reach an agreement on the presidency around the dialogue table, we can move to the other issues. For example, we found a solution for the cabinet decision-taking mechanism and nowadays efforts are underway to find a solution to the issue of the security appointments.”
With Civil Society
On the civil society movements that emerged out of the waste crisis such as You Stink and its offshoots, Sayyed Nasrallah argued that the demands are “righteous but the side supporting the movements is vague so we can’t blindly back them or oppose them.”
“Any side protesting within the limits of the Constitution, we support. When I understand the project and goals of a certain movement I either support it or oppose it.”
Sayyed Nasrallah said that “if Hizbullah joined the popular protest then it would be accused of leading it, which would confiscate the movement.”
He noted that “our direct participation doesn’t serve the protests and its aims.”
He urged the movements to focus on the main issues and not deviate from their causes.