Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese party Hezbollah, has given a televised statement in which he addressed the pressing issues concerning the apparent captivity of “former” Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia.
Whereas in last week’s address, Nasrallah speculated on Hariri’s condition, now, he stated that Hariri is clearly being detained against his will. Nasrallah affirmed that Saad Hariri is under “house arrest” on the orders of the Saudi regime and has been ever since he made a forced resignation address live on Saudi state-run television.
Nasrallah affirmed that like all other major Lebanese parties, Hezbollah demands the release of Hariri. He further stated that Hariri’s captivity is an insult to all of Lebanon including the Sunni dominated Future Movement whose top figures have also called for Hariri’s safe passage to Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s position, like that of Christian Lebanese President Michel Aoun, is that the forced resignation has no legal status in Lebanon and that until Hariri is allowed to resign of his own free will on Lebanese soil, he is considered the legal head of government, thus making his captivity an intentional diplomatic incident and act of war by the Saudi regime.
Although Saudi has absurdly stated that Lebanon declared “war” and now the Hezbollah leader said that it is Saudi Arabia that has declared war on the Lebanese state, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah once again admonished all Lebanese to remain vigilant against any threats and further provocations, while urging for calm and unity among all Lebanese in spite of their party political affiliation and ethnic or religious background.
While many have suspected that Israel and Saudi have worked in collusion to provoke a crisis in Lebanon, Nasrallah stated that this collusion will not amount to a new Israel war on Lebanon. He stated that the Israeli regime is well aware of the international climate and will not likely enter into a new conflict that would be long, costly and ultimately unfruitful from the Israeli perspective.
However, Nasrallah warned that Israel is capable of igniting sedition in many places through the use of proxies. He cited the recent events in the Golan Heights where Israel allowed the safe passage of al-Nusra/al-Qaeda terrorists into the Druze village of Hader in order to create bloodshed. He stated that the only way for al-Nusra terrorists to reach Hader, was for Israel to allow them to pass from illegal Israeli occupied Syrian territory into Hader and surrounding areas.
Still though, he emphasised that Hezbollah, the Lebanese state and Lebanese military are following events closely but that ultimately, Israel’s self-interested caution will prohibit an Israeli attack in spite of Saudi provocations providing a possible pretext.
Nasrallah further stated that Saudi is angry due to its many recent failures and that because of this the regime in Riyadh is taking this anger out not just on Hezbollah, but on all of Lebanon. He further stated that if Saudi wanted to, it could singularly rage against Hezbollah, but like a blind man swinging a sword, Saudi has decided to inflict strife on all of Lebanon, which is why it is all the more crucial for Lebanon to maintain its dignity and sovereignty in the face of the “unprecedented intervention” from Saudi.
He also said that the primary target of Saudi’s anger is Iran and that Lebanon is merely ‘on the road’ of Saudi’s path of anger. Even though Iran is closer to Saudi than Lebanon, he expressed his assessment that Saudi is afraid of attacking Iran directly, knowing that this would be the biggest Saudi failure of all.
In respect of Saudi failures, Nasrallah pointed to the failure to destroy Syria and Iraq, the failure to establish a Kurdish statelet in Iraq, the failure to subdue Qatar, the failure to ‘win’ in Yemen and the failure to even secure Bahrain as the small island is now entirely dependent on Saudi and UAE direct cash injections after waging a costly internal war against Shi’a human rights activists.
Nasrallah further accused Saudi of being in a state of denial over Yemen. Saudi absurdly blames Hezbollah for trafficking weapons to Yemen, something which is impossible due to the Saudi imposed blockade which has starved thousands of Yemeni civilians.
Nasrallah said that he is ready to swear before God, that Yemen’s Houthis are capable not only of building their own missiles but also their own drones and that Saudi knows this, but blames Iran and Hezbollah because it is afraid to admit its weakness in the face of impoverished and materially isolated Houthis who are largely autarkic. Nasrallah then laughed, stating that if Hezbollah is really doing as much in distant Yemen as Saudi Arabia claims, than “we are even more powerful than we know”.
The leader of Hezbollah then turned to interference in Lebanon’s domestic sovereignty. He stated that it is clear that both Iran and Saudi Arabia have influence in Lebanon. The difference, he pointed out, is that while Saudi meddles in Lebanon’s internal affairs, Iran does not. Iran is respected but Iran does not instigate sectarian crises, tell Lebanese businesses how to operate nor tell Lebanese which factions to support or proscribe, while Saudi has done and continues to do all of these negative things.
Nasrallah’s speech affirmed Hezbollah’s confidence that Saudi Arabia will not succeed in weakening Lebanon nor in reversing the victories of the Lebanese resistance and that of their allies in Syria and Iraq. He further stated that the only just solution to the present crisis is for Lebanon to continue and unite behind calls for Saad Hariri to return to Lebanon and either continue to government as part of the coalition or else legally resign on Lebanese soil.