A propagandist-in-chief's war on intellectual imperialism and pursuit of a resistance episteme

Posts Tagged: nasrallah

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Nasrallah’s condemnation last night of the US’ raids on ISIS positions in Syria, is reminiscent of his denunciation of the US invasion of Iraq a decade ago. Just as he questioned the moral authority and legitimacy of the US-led anti-terror coalition yesterday, in a May 2004 speech, Nasrallah, decried the US’ occupation of Iraq as being “a replica of the same quality and identity [as the Israeli occupation] in its hegemony, monstrosity, devastation, perpetration and committing massacres under the same slogans of civilisation, democracy and human rights.” Then as now, Iran and Hizbullah stood much to benefit from the downfall of the targets of US aggression, while simultaneously rejecting this aggression in principle. Today Iran has also condemned these attacks but the Syrian government has been tacitly or not so tacitly supportive of them (especially since the Syrians and Iranians were reportedly informed in advance about the US’ plans) for reasons related to the Assad government’s need for vindication and recognition by the West. While this appears to be a politically and intellectually incoherent policy on the part of the Resistance Axis, it reflects the strategic complexities of this new phase whereby ISIS represents a threat to both imperialists and anti-imperialists alike. This stems from ISIS’ trans-imperialism, meaning it is wholly unconcerned with global capitalism or imperialism on the level of principle. Imperialist powers are enemies only in so far as they constitute an obstacle to the ISIS caliphate, rather than on account of their inherent injustice and oppressive policies. Likewise, the US is not opposed to the sectarian religious ideology or the barbarity of ISIS, but to the political threat it poses to its interests in the region. Both the Resistance Axis and the imperialists are therefore keen to restore the status quo-ante whereby their routinized conflict can remain along imperialist-anti-imperialist fault lines, as opposed to this far less manageable and politically disorienting trans-imperialist morass we have now entered. Nasrallah’s speech yesterday was significant in that he reminded the world that imperialism will remain our paramount enemy even in this trans-imperialist phase. The Resistance Axis’ policy is one which vehemently rejects this aggression, while not shedding any tears for its takfiri casualties.

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Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah introduced a new strategic and political motivation behind Hizbullah’s involvement in the war on Syria, which goes beyond its defense of Syria’s territorial integrity and the Syrian state’s support for resistance movements, and even beyond the existential threat takfiri-jihadis pose to Syria and Lebanon; Hizbullah’s defense of the Syrian Arab Republic today aims at preventing a repetition of the imperialists’ creation of Israel, only this time in Syria and the region as a whole: “the spectre of Palestine’s usurpation is being repeated today”. By arming and supporting takfiri groups (Nasrallah even drew parallels between their deployment and mobilization throughout the region and the mass migration of Jews to historic Palestine) the imperialists seek to fragment Syria and destroy the Resistance Axis, and in so doing, protect Israel. Basically, Hizbullah will never allow Syria to become a second Israel or a neo-colonialist outpost in the region designed to protect the first Israel.

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After listening to ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf al-Ansari’s declare war on all of Lebanon I can’t help but wonder if and when Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah will announce a new equation in the Resistance’s war with the Takfiris, similar to the one he made in 2006 when he threatened to retaliate in Tel Aviv for any Israeli attack on the capital Beirut, in his famous “Haifa, and what’s beyond Haifa and what’s beyond beyond Haifa” threat. 
Our only hope in Lebanon today is for Hizbullah to devise a new military strategy for confronting and expelling Takfiri Jihadis from Lebanon— a new “Imaad Mughnieh school of fighting”. What we need is for Nasrallah to issue a threat to them and a promise to us that Hizbullah will retaliate in “West Syria, and what’s beyond West Syria, and what’s beyond beyond West Syria.”

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The following assertion Nasrallah made in today’s speech, probably won’t be reported in mainstream media, but it is extremely important as it is one of the rare occasions when Hizbullah has described the war in Syria in similar language to its war with Israel: “No amount of pressure can change our position on Syria because it is an existential battle for us; I don’t just mean for Hizbullah, but for Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and for the entire resistance project in the region.” 
Nasrallah’s deputy, Sheikh Naim Qassem elaborated on this point last week when he said: “Wherever our resistance is, it is ultimately a resistance to the Israeli enemy, because our enemy fights us directly in some places and it fights us indirectly in others with groups and proxies who either serve its agenda or are controlled without knowing it, which is an even greater calamity.”

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No matter how much I try to intellectualize Hizbullah for westerners to understand, it is sometimes the small, seemingly unimportant incidents, which i witness in my capacity as participant-observer, that best epitomize the essence of the movement. A case in point happened this evening when I stopped by a snack bar on my way home to buy a freshly squeezed exotic fruit cocktail. As I waited for my drink I heard that unmistakable sound of Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s defiant tone and it then struck me that I had missed his penultimate Ashura speech. Furious at myself for forgetting it (probably the second or third time that has ever happened to me), I asked where the noise was coming from. I was signaled to a tiny room where I found a very butch young guy, the kind who has over-developed muscles bursting out of his t-shirt, washing dishes in a tiny room. Next to the sink was his phone which was blaring out Seyyid Hassan’s live speech. I asked him if I had missed anything important. He gave me a look that said “Despite your hipster glasses and your lame request for no whipped cream topping , I have big love for you right now.” Then he called on Abu Shariff, an older man who was rolling out dough, to come fill me in as his phone had been confiscated for part of the speech. “No worries, you didn’t miss anything new” he muttered under his cigarette. “Tomorrow will be the bomb”. And that my friends, is how us Muqawama-istas roll.

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In July 2006, Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah declared an open war on Israel and shattered the myth of the Zionist army’s invincibility. Today, Nasrallah declared an open war on the takfiris and —in alluding to their instrumentalization by Israeli, western and Arab [Saudi] intelligence agencies—shattered the myth of al-Qaeda’s ideological and organizational impenetrability. And yet many continue to bark about how Hizbullah is essentially a sectarian movement fighting “fellow Muslims” in Syria— a euphemism for this foreign takfiri implant which has no organic relationship with Arab populations or grassroots support and hence, is neither representative of Sunnis nor mainstream Muslims. Not only is this reality completely overlooked and/or distorted by the opposite side, but Hizbullah’s history of fighting fellow Shia like the AMAL movement in defense of overwhelmingly Sunni Palestinians in the War of the Camps in the late 1980s, and subsequently, the years of military assistance and political support which it lent to [Sunni Islamist] HAMAS, is completely effaced.

Today Nasrallah did not pledge to protect a minority sect in Lebanon or to fight a rival sect in Syria; today he pledged to defeat a Saudi-financed, US-Zionist penetrated force which poses an existential and strategic threat to the Resistance and all those who support it, irrespective of their sect. In declaring an open war on the takfiris, and promising heavier involvement in Syria, Nasrallah was merely expanding the scope of the open war he declared against the Zionists in 2006. 

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My translation of Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s live speech yesterday:

"First of all, we must emphasize that when we talk about Palestine, we mean all of Palestine, which extends from the sea to the river, and which must be retrieved in its entirety by its rightful owners. And nobody in this world, no king, or prince, or president, or leader, or sheikh, or Seyyid, or state or government, or organization can relinquish or give up one grain of Palestinian land, or one drop of its water or oil.  

Second, Imam Khomeini described Israel in very accurate and realistic terms when he called it a cancerous growth. This is a cancerous existence, and we all know that it is the nature of cancer to spread in the body and to disintegrate it, and that the only cure for cancer is to eradicate it and refuse to surrender to it…Israel poses a grave and permanent danger to the region. And we must be careful to note here that it isn’t merely a threat to Palestine and its people,  [ or to maintain that]  we have nothing to do with it, and that Lebanon is secure, as are Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, the Gulf states and North Africa, and other Arab states…. This is an illusion; it is a misleading and ignorant notion. Israel poses a grave and permanent threat to all the states and peoples of this region….Therefore, it isn’t merely an existential threat to Palestine and the Palestinian people, but an existential threat to all states, governments, peoples and civilizations in the region.

Third, some believe that the removal of this cancerous growth and this usurper entity is a Palestinian interest. But it isn’t only Palestinian, it is in the interest of the entire Islamic world, and in the interest of the entire Arab world when we say it is an Arab nationalist interest, and it is also a national interest for every country in the region. In this sense, we cannot extricate the Arab nationalist [qawmi] from the national [watani] interest. Israel is a danger to Jordan, and its eradication is a Jordanian national interest; Israel is a danger to Egypt and its eradication is an Egyptian national interest; Israel is a danger to Syria and its eradication is a Syrian national interest; Israel is a danger to Lebanon and its eradication is a Lebanese national interest.

Fifth, Palestine and al-Quds are the responsibility of every Palestinian and also, of every Arab, whether Muslim or Christian, and of every Muslim in the world and every human in this world because it is a righteous cause. It is above all else the responsibility of the Palestinian people…But there is a minimum responsibility that falls on everyone and nobody can shirk this minimum responsibility. Political position is a minimum responsibility, as is the media’s position, popular solidarity and financial aid to the Palestinians. And the minimum [responsibility] which we will be held to account for on Judgment Day is the non- recognition of Israel….

Sixth, confirming the priority of this struggle and confrontation against the Zionist scheme occupying Palestine….From the start, even as the Zionist scheme was occupying Palestine, states, governments and calls in the Arab world were saying: “the priority is confronting the Communist expansion; the danger to Islam lies in the Communist expansion,” and as such, Palestine was forgotten. And for the purpose of confronting the Communist expansion, billions of dollars were spent, television and media were established, books and conferences were held, and wars were waged, over the past decades. Fighters from all over the world even joined the war in Afghanistan; fighters from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and even Palestine, which was an occupied land itself. Why did you leave Palestine for decades and go to fight in Afghanistan? I am not debating here the shari’iya [religious legal] aspects of fighting in Afghanistan, but I am talking about the logic of priorities.

Well, the Soviet Union fell and was defeated in Afghanistan, and the Islamic Revolution in Iran triumphed which constituted an additional strategic element in the struggle with the Israeli enemy.  They immediately manufactured a new priority for us—they manufactured a war and invented a new enemy called the Iranian expansion and the Majoosi [Magi/Zoroastrian] danger. At first, they didn’t refer to it as “Shia” [threat]. Today I want to call things by their name; they didn’t say Shia, they used to say the Iranians or the Majoos or the Persians, were attacking the eastern gate of the Arab umma. They waged an 8 year long war against Iran, and Arab states spent hundreds of billions of dollars on this war. If just one quarter or one fifth or one tenth of this was spent to liberate Palestine, the Palestinian people wouldn’t be enduring all these hardships today.

….For every single tank, warplane, rocket and warship some Arab armies receive, there are guarantees extended to America that this won’t be used against Israel. They made a new enemy and then realized that their language which used the words Persian and Majoos etc. didn’t serve their project. So they gave their invented enemy another name:  the Shia expansion. For God’s sake, where is this Shia expansion?…They invented an enemy and now they have implanted the notion that Iran is the enemy in the minds of many Islamic groups, that the priority is confronting the Shia danger, Shia thought and Shia expansion, and that this Shia danger is a bigger threat to the umma than Israel and the Zionist scheme.

…And the worst part is that they cloaked some of the local political conflicts in sectarian garb.  In Egypt today there is a political conflict, a deep polarization, is this conflict sectarian? It isn’t sectarian but political. In Libya there is a major political conflict and deep polarization. Is it sectarian? In Tunisia there is a major political conflict and in Yemen too. Yes, when we come to countries which are marked by [religious] pluralism and diversity, like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Bahrain, the issue becomes a sectarian one when it is, in fact, a political conflict. The discourse becomes sectarian and historical files are opened. This conflict is political, why are you turning it into a sectarian one? They do this intentionally, not out of ignorance. Today, this [sectarianism] is one the most destructive weapons in the region.  

There are those who seek the destruction of this region, the destruction of its states, armies and people, not merely to dismantle states and armies but also, to fragment people, Christians, Muslims, Sunnis. Shia, Druze, Zaidis and Ismailis, Arabs, Persians, Kurds and Turks.   

Whoever sponsors the Takfiri currents and groups across the Islamic world, ideologically, financially, with media and weapons, and encourages them to fight in various arenas in more than one country, is ultimately responsible for all the problems and destruction and has offered the greatest service to Israel and America.  

We in Hizbullah will remain on the side of Palestine and the Palestinian people, and we are committed to the solid and good relationship that we have with all the Palestinian factions and forces. Even though we disagree with them sometimes on issues related to Palestine itself, and to Syria and the region, we continue to meet on common denominators, [so imagine how solid these ties are] when the common denominator is Palestine, when our slogan is “al-Quds unites us”. Al-Quds must unite us regardless of any other disagreement we have, be it ideological or doctrinal or religious or jurisprudential or political—   the commitment to Palestine, the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people must remain.

On al-Quds Day we must extend our deepest gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to the Syrian Arab Republic for all it has done for Palestine and al-Quds and for what it offered resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine which resulted in more than one Israeli defeat.

…Permit  me now,  I always speak as a Muslim and a nationalist and an Arab nationalist, and whatever else, but permit me now to speak as a Shia.

This language increased with events in Syria. One feels that whoever is behind all this [sectarian agitation] activity aims at making us Shia forget Palestine, and forget al-Quds and forget the Palestinian people, and worse, to hate everything called Palestine and Palestinian.  What is being worked on today is this, for the day to come when these Shia who demonstrate every single al-Quds Day in every place they are present…to be removed from the equation of the Arab-Israeli struggle. And when the Shia leave [the equation] Iran is then required to leave the equation.

Today we tell America, Israel and the English— who excel in these types of games—and states who are their tools in the region, we want to tell every enemy and friend, on al-Quds Day, the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, that we the Shia of Ali bin Abi Taleb will not abandon Palestine or the Palestinian people or the umma’s sanctities in Palestine. Call us rafida [infidels/deserters], call us terrorists, call us criminals, call us whatever you want, and kill us everywhere, we Shia of Ali bin Abi Taleb will not abandon Palestine.

And we Hizbullah amongst these Shia, we who were raised in the spirit of resistance, for us, confronting the Zionist project, defending the umma, defending Palestine and al-Quds and the sanctities, and Lebanon…is something that has become ingrained in our flesh and blood and veins… and we offered thousands of martyrs in this path, from Seyyid Abbas [al-Mousawi] to Sheikh Raghib [Harb] to Hajj Imad [Mughnieh]…We in Hizbullah will bear our responsibilities. And we Hizbullah, the Islamic, Imami, Twelver Shia,  will not abandon Palestine, and will not abandon al-Quds, and will not abandon the Palestinian people.”

 

 

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"We have entered a completely new phase. What is happening in Syria is very important and fateful, for Lebanon’s present and future. Let us not bury our heads in the sand and act like we live in Djibouti, we are here on the border [with Syria]. We have the courage to talk and the courage to act and we will therefore speak honestly as such a historic and sensitive moment requires us to.

Our political position was clear from the very outset: we said popular demands for reform were legitimate. And we said that this [Assad] government had its positive points, particularly regarding resistance and mumana’a (political resistance), and that it also had negative points and flaws, and that what was needed were reforms which could be fulfilled by way of a political dialogue, [whereby] neither side fires a shot at the other. And this is because we know what Syria means to Lebanon and the region and the Arab-Israeli struggle, and to resistance movements and to the Palestinian cause.

Despite our modest capabilities as a party, we have strong and good ties with regional players. I was personally involved, along with my brothers [in Hizbullah], in brokering a political dialogue and a political resolution between President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition. And I witnessed how President Assad accepted while the opposition refused. All along, the Syrian leadership was willing to sit at the negotiating table and pursue a dialogue, and it accepted substantive political reforms. But to this day, the opposition continues to reject dialogue as it did from the outset, in the [vain] hope that the regime would collapse within a few months. This was based on the assumption that whoever is backed by the US, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Europe and Arab oil states and Turkey etc. will necessarily triumph within a few weeks or months. They miscalculated.

An alliance of all these states I just mentioned soon emerged, led by the US which has the first and final say [in everything] . The British, French, Italians, Germans, Arabs, Turks, all work for the Americans. And we all know that Israel also supports this axis because the American project in the region is first and foremost an Israeli project. Al-Qaeda and takfiri groups joined this axis, and they were offered money and all kinds of facilities from all corners of the globe.  Doors were opened for them and they entered Syria. Nobody can convince us that the tens of thousands of takfiris and extremists who reject everyone that doesn’t subscribe to their thought, stealthily entered Syria…And an international war against Syria was waged, a media, political, diplomatic, economic and financial war, and the arming and funding and deployment of tens of thousands of fighters from all over the world. Tens of thousands of fighters from all over the world don’t seem to bother the so-called “Friends of Syria”, who met in Amman a couple of days ago, but they considered the intervention of a small group of Hizbullah [fighters] as foreign intervention.

To be honest, we didn’t intervene until a month ago….We used all our contacts with Islamic and national forces, as well as with states, to no avail; nothing but the downfall of the regime, whatever the cost. I know that there were reasonable proposals for a solution which were accepted by the Syrian leadership. These proposals were rejected by regional states because they cannot bear the idea of this regime remaining in power, even if Syria is going to be destroyed in the process.

We don’t accuse everyone [in the opposition], there are people who don’t have [American/Zionist/Arab oil] connections, and they are logical and have a vision, their demands are just, they are willing to engage in dialogue for their natural rights, and we respect these rights. This is part of the Syrian opposition. And there is another segment of the opposition which is employed by the CIA and the Pentagon and this or that intelligence service, and they don’t have any say in decision making. This is the external opposition. On the ground, [there are] the armed groups, [in] the areas from which the state withdrew, or was made to withdraw, and which is now under the control of armed groups. Does the external opposition have any control over these groups? They want to go and debate in Geneva; will they able to hold any sway over these armed groups? The West, the Arabs, the intelligence agencies and the media, and you and I know this truth: the largest force and dominant trend within the ranks of the armed forces is the takfiri trend. Those abroad have no influence over any of them.

And this trend started to dominate the Syrian opposition and it was funded and armed by several Arab states and regional countries and these states not only want to get rid of the Syrian regime, but of these   [takfiri] groups as well, so they facilitated their departure. But what they didn’t realize was that there would come a day when they will return home after earning this combat experience and experience in slaughter and killing….The case is no longer a popular revolution against a regime, it is no longer an issue of reform [because] the man [Assad] was ready to reform.

We regard the control these groups have over Syria, and specifically over parts of Syria bordering Lebanon, as a grave danger to Lebanon and a grave danger to all Lebanese. It is not only a danger to Hizbullah, or to the Shia of Lebanon, it is a danger to Lebanon and the Lebanese and the Resistance and communal coexistence in Lebanon. If these groups control areas bordering Lebanon they pose a threat to Lebanese Christians and Muslims, and when I say “Muslims” I means Sunnis, Druze, Shia and Alawites. I don’t just mean Shia, it is the Sunnis who are first and foremost in danger. The proof of this is Iraq. The same groups fighting in Syria today are an extension of a group there called “the Islamic state of Iraq”. Just ask Iraqi Sunnis how many of their Sunni clerics and Islamic party leaders this group killed; leaders who didn’t follow it. How many mosques in Anbar, Fallujah and Mosul, not merely Shia mosques and Christian churches? This organization boasts of carrying out 4 000 or 5 000 suicide attacks in Iraq. Most of these operations have targeted Iraqis of all sects, religions and ethnicities.

A week ago there was an election in Pakistan. You know what is problem with takfiri thought? They accuse others of apostasy over the most trivial matters, not merely for ideological or sectarian reasons, but for political reasons too. Whoever participates in the parliamentary elections is also an apostate; [shedding] his blood becomes permissible….This is the takfiri mind. He doesn’t differentiate between Sunni, Shia, Muslim, Christian, it makes no difference…They killed people at polling booths in all Iraqi provinces. How many people were killed in Pakistan a week ago? And most of those killed in Pakistan, in electoral campaigns and polling booths, were Sunni Muslims and Sunni clerics. The Pakistani Taliban killed them because they consider participation in the parliamentary elections as apostasy.  In just 4 countries—Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia—there were many more Sunnis killed than other Muslims or Christians.

Tunisia and Libya are suffering from this [takfiri] scourge today; those states which created and exported this scourge suffered from it. And we have been promised here in Lebanon that this scourge is coming our way. This is the danger. This mind does not accept dialogue…it has no priorities or common denominators. All it does is declare others apostates for the most trivial reasons, and it sanctions their killing. What future can there be for Syria amidst these groups and this mind? What future for Lebanon? What future for Palestine? What future for the people of this region?

We do not approach the problem from the perspective of Sunnis versus Shia as some have accused of us doing. Our approach is that all Muslims and Christians are threatened by this mind and trend and thought, which is creeping its way into our region. It is financed by America and supported by America, because that is the only means America has left at its disposal with which to destroy the region and restore its hegemony over us.

From the very start, people in the Syrian opposition declared that once the regime would collapse within 2 or 3 months, they were coming after us in Lebanon, before we had even articulated our political position. They burnished their credentials with the Americans and Israelis, [assuring them that] “we are ready to take revenge from the resistance which was victorious in 2000 and which thwarted the New Middle East project in 2006. We are ready, just support us.” And from the start, they kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims in Azaz and they began attacking Lebanese in the Qusayr countryside in order to displace them.

I have three points I want to make. This is the first development, and that is the domination and control by the takfiri trend. If it does take control, then the future of Syria and Lebanon and the region will be a very difficult and dark one.

Second, Syria is no longer an arena for popular revolution against a political system, but an arena for the imposition of a political project led by America and the West and its regional tools. And we all know that the American project in the region is an Israeli project through and through.

Third, Syria is the backbone of the resistance and a support for the resistance and the resistance cannot sit idly by while its back is being broken. We are not stupid. Only someone stupid would watch the death, siege, and conspiracy closing in on him without lifting a finger. Only a stupid person would do this. A reasonable, responsible person lives up to his obligations in full. If Syria falls into the hands of America, Israel, the takfiris, and all of America’s tools in the region, the resistance will find itself under siege, and Israel will invade Lebanon, in order to impose its terms on the Lebanese people, and in order to revive its aspirations and schemes. Then, Lebanon would return to yet another Israeli era. If Syria falls then Palestine is lost and the resistance in Palestine is lost, Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem will be lost.

There are two sides in this conflict: the first is the American/western/Arab axis which links the takfiri currents with one another on the battle field. [Takfiris] who rip chests open, behead people, dig up graves and destroy the past, a past which is 1400 years old. For the entire duration of this past, the followers of different faiths coexisted, and mosques, churches, shrines and mausoleums remained, and this diversity remained under the rule of various governments, most of which were Sunni governments….

And on the other side is a state or government which has a clear position on the Palestinian cause , on resistance movements and on the Israeli scheme, and which has always made clear its intent to engage in dialogue and a political solution and enact reforms.

Hizbullah can never belong to the same front which includes America, Israel and those who rip chests open, behead people and dig up graves. You can take any side you want, but Hizbullah can never belong to a front which wants to destroy all our achievements and squander all the sacrifices and make us slaves of America and Israel once again in a renewed Middle East project which we had previously defeated with the blood of thousands of martyrs…. By means of our position, we are defending Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.

In any case, we have been subjected to a formidable media and political campaign on account of our position, even when we were still silent, even when we had not yet intervened. The intent behind this media barrage, this media and psychological hegemony, for the past two years, was to prevent us from uttering a word of truth, and to make us subservient to this scheme. Whether we intervene in Syria or not, the media campaign against us is unrelenting. Millions of dollars have been poured into this campaign.

Our classification as a terrorist group is not new. There are people inside and outside Lebanon who aspire to have just one regional leader mention them by name. In our case, the leader of the greatest world power went to Israel and from day one repeated “Hizbullah, Hizbullah, Hizbullah”. We are happy [about this], not sad, that Europe sees that we are capable of changing the equation. This is something we take pride in. Go soak your terrorism list and drink its water.

They accused us of sectarianism. This is nonsense.  In Lebanon, Palestine and Bosnia Herzegovina. Maybe this is the first time we talk about this issue. We fought in Bosnia and lost martyrs, in defense of whom? In defense of Muslim Sunnis in Bosnia. There are no Shia in Bosnia. All the hardships that we endured and will continue to endure for the sake of Palestine. Nobody can accuse us of sectarianism. Our position on Iraq was clear. Our position on all events is clear.  Attempts to undermine our will and morale and [that of] our martyrs’ families, have failed.

I want to tell you something, [in response to] the completely unfounded words which were written these past two days. Go and meet the martyrs’ families and listen to what these honorable people have to say. None of what I am about to say has been reported in the media before or even in internal meetings….I am one and a half years late in saying this. The martyrs’ families are saying the same grand words they said during our previous confrontation [with Israel]….We don’t have to force our youths to go to battle. Not once in these past 30 years have we forced anyone to do so. There has been such a huge surge in the number of mujahideen and cadres [who want to fight in Syria]… we have banned many from fighting….We are not merely ready to declare jihad, all it takes is a couple of words and you will find tens of thousands of mujahdieen heading for those battle fronts. We do not allow an only son to go to battle unless we have permission from his parents. Now, there are only sons whose parents send me signed documents [granting permission]. Their sons come and tell us my parents have allowed me to go, and when our brothers ask these youths if they forged the signatures, their parents come and ask us to send their only sons to battle. I have now instructed our brothers not to allow them to do so even upon their parents’ request.

You do not understand this resistance or its support base, or its environment, or its culture. You haven’t understood it for the past 30 years nor will you understand it, because you always misunderstand it.

We have entered a completely new phase now, which began these last few weeks.  This new phase is called immunizing the resistance and protecting its backbone, and immunizing Lebanon. I am not asking anyone to share this responsibility with us. As with all previous battles, this battle is ours, we are its men, we are the ones who will turn it into a victory…

As I told you at the beginning of the July War in 2006: oh honorable people, oh mujahideen, oh heroes, as I promised you victory in the past, I promise you victory once again.”   

 

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"Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah on the rationale behind Hizbullah’s military role in Syria: “Syria is the backbone of the resistance, and the resistance cannot sit idly by while its back is being broken.”"

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"On the latest Israeli aggression on Syria:

Unfortunately, the Israelis talked of their “enemy’s enemy” and “friend’s friend”. Isn’t the Israeli enemy the benchmark? Isn’t this rudimentary? This is part of our Islamic lexicon.

Of course there were objectives behind Israel’s attacks which it sought to realize. I want to define this reality so I can discuss the nature of the [Syrian] response and so that we can understand it.

One of its objectives, especially over the past two years— its objective and that of others— is to remove Syria from the military equation in the struggle with Zionist enemy. First of all, Syria hasn’t made a peace agreement with Israel as other Arab states have. Although there is a hudna (truce), everyone knows—the enemy knows this more than friends do—what Syria offered resistance movements for tens of years now and especially over the past few years, particularly the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements. If the day comes when our brothers in the Palestinian resistance will declare on their pulpits what they used to admit in private meetings, they will say that no Arab regime has offered us what the regime of Bashar al-Assad offered us.

The Israeli knows that one of the most important sources of strength for the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine is Syria. This is why they want to remove Syria from the [military] equation and they want to besiege the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine. What this siege means is that any material or moral or military support from whoever supports the resistance must end. The Israelis said they won’t allow the transfer of any weapons which could upset the balance of power with the resistance into Lebanon. Now they are saying they will prevent the resistance’s military capability from growing, meaning we won’t even allow you to increase the weapons you currently have. So they struck Damascus and its environs, in order to tell Syria—and we should read this part carefully so we understand the nature and scope of the Syrian response—that the continuation of support for the resistance and the transfer of capabilities will spell the demise of the regime and a declaration of war on Syria. Therefore, the real objective behind the latest attacks is the subjugation of Syria and breaking the will of its leadership, army and people and to permanently remove it from the resistance equation.

By the way, everything you heard in the media about 200, 300 and 400 [Syrian army] martyrs, is all lies. Unfortunately, we heard on [Arab] cable tv takbeer [cries of Allahu Akbar] and jubilation, because Israeli planes were bombing Syrian facilities or locations or bases. This is very sad. According to the reliable information I have, those killed  were 4 or 5 martyrs from the Syrian army who were guarding these places.

So these were their objectives. How should one respond? First of all, one must thwart the aims of the aggression. This is the minimum response for resistance and mumana’a movements, and if possible, to turn the magic on the magician. And this is what the Syrian leadership did. There are some well-meaning people who want Syria to bomb occupied Palestine for reasons related to morale, and some hateful people who want it to bomb occupied Palestine so that war can break out between Israel and Syria and let all hell to break loose.

The first [Syrian] response: You Israelis are saying that the aim behind your aggression was to prevent the resistance’s military capability from growing, so the first response is that if you consider Syria to be a weapons’ conduit for the resistance then know that Syria will continue supplying the resistance with weapons. This is a huge strategic decision. More than this, if you are claiming that the aim behind your aggression was to prevent the resistance’s military capability from growing, then Syria will provide the resistance with game-changing weapons that it did not possess before. This means upsetting the balance of power.

Show me one Arab regime which would dare to openly supply the Palestinian resistance with so much as a rifle, let alone a game-changing rocket. And then we have a leadership which was bombed just two days ago which says I want to give them weapons they don’t even have. This is Syria’s strategic response, and it is much more significant than firing a rocket or launching an attack on occupied Palestine.

The second strategic response, which is no less important or dangerous, is to open the Golan front—opening the door to the popular resistance on the Golan front. In this war you have launched on Syria, the threat has been turned into an opportunity.

Let us set the third response aside for now. To go back to the first response, we the resistance in Lebanon announce that we are ready to receive any sophisticated weaponry even if it is game-changing and we are ready to protect this weaponry and use it to defend our people,  country and sanctities.

As for the second response, just as Syria stood by the Lebanese people and supported its popular resistance materially and morally until this resistance was able to liberate South Lebanon, we in the Lebanese resistance declare that we will stand by the popular Syrian resistance and offer it our material and moral support, as well as cooperation and coordination, in order to liberate the Syrian Golan.

[Chuckling] The third response is a huge deal so we won’t discuss it now.

All the latest events and responses and positions taken by the Syrian leadership suggest that it is a leadership with nerves of steel, that it is a very wise leadership which is managing the battle with the Israelis with a strategic mind and not in an emotional or impassioned manner. This is how the resistance and mumana’a axis has foiled all schemes in the region since the 1990s.

Whoever wants to retrieve Jerusalem, whoever wants to achieve Palestinian rights and realize Palestinian aspirations, should know that this won’t be achieved in the Arab league or the UN or the Organization for Islamic Cooperation or anywhere else. The only choice has always been resistance and remains so.

Oh Palestinian and Arab people who reject Israeli hegemony, you will not find anyone to stand by your side except he who has stood by your side for tens of years. Protect those who stood by you, protect the sources of strength in your axis.  Any serious effort to find a political solution in Syria which refuses to allow Syria to fall into the hands of the US, Israel and the takfiris is effectively the battle for Palestine, the battle for Quds, the battle for the Aqsa mosque.”

 

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Over and above the sense of empowerment, security and much needed assurance people in our political camp derive from Seyyid Hassan’s speeches— especially at strategically critical times as these— another important reason so many of us eagerly await his speeches is a very personal/emotional one: when so many of our former political heroes have fallen from grace, so many intellectuals who once inspired us have opportunistically joined the mainstream, and too many people in our lives have disappointed and hurt us by becoming everything they promised they would never turn into, Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah—who is recognized even by his staunchest enemies as “a man of his word” , a man who “delivers on his promises”— somehow serves as a beacon of hope. His honesty, transparency and consistency helps us regain our childlike faith in humanity. 
When Seyyid Hassan speaks the world seems less absurd; we are reminded that there are some people we can still trust, people who will always remain principled, people who will continue to love and care for us, people who will never let us down. 
Seyyid Hassan doesn’t have a cult of personality, nor do we idolize him, we simply love him because he is real, because he is true.

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Some highlights I translated from Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s speech today on the occasion of the annual commemoration for the Resistance’s leaders:

Whoever thinks that because Syria is embroiled in a bloody struggle and therefore it cannot be part of any confrontation that might occur with the Israeli enemy, Syria that was a support during the July War is now preoccupied with its internal struggle and therefore can’t support the resistance…..so this is an opportune moment that can be exploited to isolate the resistance. Some might miscalculate and believe that the resistance is weak and that this is the right time to commit a violation or an aggression or to launch a war, I tell him on the commemoration of Seyyid Abbas and Sheikh Raghib and Hajj Imad, you are greatly mistaken. Today, the resistance in Lebanon is fully equipped, we have everything we need inside of Lebanon, we don’t need to transfer anything either from Syria or from Iran.  Everything we need for the next battle is already inside Lebanon…

In all calmness I warn the Israeli that the resistance in Lebanon will not tolerate any violations on Lebanese territory…They [the Israelis] have an electrical plant in northern Palestine, with just a few missiles we could plunge Israel into darkness. The Israeli themselves have admitted it would take 6 months to make this plant operational again…

[I swear] on Seyyid Abbas’s and Skehikh Raghib’s and Hajj Imad’s pure blood, that the sons and students and comrades of Seyyid Abbas and Sehikh Ragheb and Hajj Imad have greater resolve and determination today  to confront any aggression and to keep the pledge and to keep the score [that must be settled] open [here Nasrallah is alluding to the “open war” concept he used in February 2008 after Mughineh’s assassination].

I tell the MP Saad al-Hariri, we sat with your father, the martyr, in the past and we discussed the resistance and its weapons and we told him that our priority is the resistance and all other matters were open to debate and political power wasn’t our priority. And he told me I support the resistance’s weapons not only until  the prisoners are released and the Shebaa farms are liberated but until a comprehensive and just peace agreement is reached. I told him that is what we call a settlement not a comprehensive and just peace because for us that means the return of every inch of Palestine to the Palestinians… And he told me: if there is a comprehensive and just peace while I am still Prime Minister, and I come to you and tell you that the Arabs and Syria and Lebanon and Palestine have signed a peace agreement and there is no longer any need for the resistance, come and let us settle the weapons issue or you can hand them over or sell them, and you tell me no, then I will resign and leave Lebanon because I am not willing to fight the resistance. This was your father….

If there is a party which makes political concessions and relinquishes power, and remains quiet about daily insults for the sake of the resistance which protects the country, is that a shortcoming? If the purpose of our weapons was to preserve power then how can one accept the contradiction Saad Hariri makes when he says that we are making political concessions to protect our weapons?

 

 

 

 

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It has become increasingly clear that the proxy war on Syria is not merely intended to unseat the Assad “regime” with the sole aim of weakening the Resistance axis. The ultimate goal of the US-NATO-GCC-Israeli axis is, as Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly warned, to destroy the only strong army in the region, besides Israel’s, and in so doing, to dismantle the Syrian state as was the case in Iraq and Libya.

This objective is all the more apparent when one considers how the Syrian Arab Forces’ rank and file is predominantly Sunni (see this BBC report here if you need mainstream media confirmation of this) and consists of all sects. As such, the Syrian army represents all Syrians, not merely Alawites. This objective is also evidenced by the fact that this army is not fighting merely to protect the Assad leadership as the opposition and its backers would have us believe, nor is it reducible to an armed militia of the regime’s.   

Irrespective of whatever atrocities may or may not have been committed by individual soldiers, as an institution, the Syrian army is fighting both Syrian and foreign rebels who have collectively instituted a reign of terror in areas under their control, far more brutal and repressive than that practiced by the regime in the past. In confronting groups who harbor sinister and divisive ambitions, the army seeks to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity, national sovereignty and communal coexistence.  

No army fights an internationally-waged war like this one, for two years straight, simply to preserve a regime. No army fights to the death with minimal defections [compared to other Arab countries] for anything less than a national cause, and that cause is Syria.

It is no coincidence then that Iran, Hizbullah and Russia, as well as nationalist opposition figures like Haytham Manaa and regime insiders like Farouk al-Sharaa, have called for the preservation of the Syrian Arab Forces. All those who want to see the army defeated and who reject the dialogue initiative proposed by Iran and others before it—an initiative which could very well result in the opposition winning the presidency and making significant gains in parliamentary elections— are effectively advocating the wholesale destruction of Syria as a state and not merely the overthrow of the Assad regime. The irony is that in such a non-state, they will achieve neither power nor victory, only division and bloodshed. Such is the nihilistic character of the Syrian opposition.

 

 

 

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Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s charisma and widespread popular support have been a source of mystery and consternation for Israel and the West, whose officials and pundits often attribute his far-reaching influence to his oratory skills or his ability to deliver on his promises. While both qualities are integral to his—and by extension Hizbullah’s— popularity, the moral authority that he wields has as much, if not more, to do with the fact that he is not merely a religious or political leader, but the prototypical counter-hegemonic “organic intellectual” that Gramsci called for in his writings; a non-traditional intellectual and thinker who arises from the people and reflects the aspirations and needs of the people. Nasrallah’s relationship with the people is a dialectic one—he both guides them and is guided by them. What makes Nasrallah’s words so powerful is that he does not bring consciousness “from without” nor does he indoctrinate a politically passive people with the resistance culture, but he harnesses the people’s pre-existing sense of justice and channels it into action, effectively synthesizing theory with praxis. As a critical pedagogue, he raises the people’s level of critical awareness, enabling them to recognize injustice and to discern the most strategic means of confronting it.

Nasrallah represents not merely a new discourse or political line, or even a new political culture or identity, which pre-existed his advent to power as Hizbullah’s Secretary-General, but a new rationality with its own alternative understanding of reality, its own discourse and epistemology— hence my blog’s URL, “resistance-episteme”. And it is this Moqawama rationality that enables those who have it to intuitively KNOW where to stand on given political positions like Syria, and to KNOW, as opposed to merely believe, that Israel is doomed to collapse.

When we call Nasrallah our leader we do not mean it in the narrow sense of a following, but in the sense of an oppressed people who chose from among their ranks the person who best personifies their sacrifices; who best articulates their passions; who best communicates their position to the outside world; and who best guides them because his deep connection with the people has granted him the unique ability to be guided back by them. And that is why we call him the Leader of the Resistance.

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Much is being said and written about Khaled Mishaal’s press conference yesterday in which he thanked Egypt, Qatar and Tunisia but failed to mention Iran, Syria or Hizbullah. Here is what he said: "I salute President Mursi’s decision to stand by us from the first moment and sending the Prime Minister Dr Hashim Qandil [to Gaza], and I salute the Tunisian Foreign Minister’s visit and salute once again the Qatari Emir for breaking the political siege on Gaza.” When cornered by a journalist who asked about Iran, Mishaal responded "Our dispute with Iran over the Syrian crisis is no secret, but we will not forget Iran’s support for us in the past.

 Mishaal’s failure to recall the Resistance Axis—Iran, Syria, Hizbullah—military and political support for Hamas and the Palestinian resistance, was not lost on Nasrallah who responded in a speech a few hours later:

 The question here arises, despite the blockade imposed by some Arabs, how did the weapons reach Gaza, how did Fajr 5s reach Gaza? And how did Grad rockets reach Gaza? And how did anti-tank missiles reach Gaza, Kornet and other types? And how did anti-aircraft missiles reach Gaza? And WHO sent it? And who transported it? This is the big question that needs to be asked today, before we discuss which states are bringing us medicines and giving us a few cents.  We need to ask who enabled Gaza to stand on its feet today , to fight and make surprises and to shell Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and to fire at planes and battleships…The Arabs have acknowledged they besieged Gaza.

We must ask anew about the role of the Islamic Republic in Iran and the role of Syria. And I tell everyone [quotes from Quran here in my rough translation], “he who doesn’t thank the creature, doesn’t thank the creator; and gratitude perpetuates blessings, and if you are thankful we will increase them [the blessings].” However, God says in the Quran that few worshipers thank him.

Iran and Syria and Hizbullah will not abandon Gaza and its people, and just as we were with them over the past several years we will continue to stand by them, even if we disagree on some political positions here and there. We are fulfilling our religious , national and humanitarian duty when we stand with them. The main battle is this battle which requires everyone to stand with them [Gaza].”

The response was clearly critical and even somewhat dismissive of Mishaal’s rhetoric (the allusion to Qatar’s money). But although it was a stinging riposte, it was also a  reassuring one: that despite Mishaal’s ingratitude and Hamas’ position on Syria,  Hizbullah and Iran would continue to support it as a matter of principle and ideology. Supporting Palestine is the foremost duty for both actors . In fact, were Iran or Hizbullah to discontinue support for a Palestinian resistance which is actively resisting, both actors would be undermining their ontological security; that is the security of their political identities as particular kinds of actors. In short, they would be undermining their own raison d’étre.

Nasrallah’s remonstrations should therefore not be construed as a demand for some kind fealty owed to Iran or Syria, which would effectively reduce such support to pure self-interest rather than ideological or political obligation,  but rather, to two central concerns : First, is the fact that Hamas didn’t merely fail to thank its Resistance Axis allies, but that it thanked Egypt, Qatar and other “moderate” Arabs on more than one occasion, and omitted any reference to Iran, Syria and Hizbullah (actually Nasrallah doesn’t mention Hizbullah, only Iran and Syria). Had it not thanked anyone this omission would surely not have been such an issue.

Second, is the fact that this selective gratitude—and a misplaced one at that given Egypt’s token gestures of support for Gaza and the continuation of its blockade, as well as Qatar’s purely monetary support—isn’t occurring in a political void but in the midst of an unprecedented level of anti-Shi’ite sentiment in the region and in the context of a highly sectarian climate. In paying homage to his Sunni Ikhwan brethren in Egypt who have done little more than pay lip service to Palestine while closing more tunnels than Mubarak—and excluding the support of Shiites actors who have never had any problem arming Sunni resistance groups, Mishaal was unwittingly reinforcing sectarian tensions in the region. As has become patently obvious to all, sectarianism has become the new Israel and sectarian sentiment only serves to distract from the struggle against Israel and normalizes it in the region.

But none of this is to say that Hizbullah’s or Iran’s military support for Hamas and other resistance groups will be effected by either of these grievances. Ismail Haniyyeh’s interview on Al-Jazeera Arabic earlier this year is very telling in this respect. Despite the clumsily written title of the video, and the AJ interviewer’s biased and heavily loaded questions,  Haniyyeh’s rather reserved answers actually demonstrate the unequivocal and consistent nature of Iranian support for Hamas, despite the latter’s abandonment of its Syrian sponsors. I have transcribed excerpts from the interview below:   

Q. Many reports claim that Iran changed the nature of its support for Hamas because its asked Hamas for a clear stance on Syria

A. Our relationship with Iran is a good one, Iran stood by our side and supported our people and our resistance

Q: was this only in the past but not at present or in future?

A: No this remains the case, in one form or another, it continues

Hamas was always careful that whoever supports the Palestinian people should not ask for anything in return in terms of political positions or political blackmail

Q: So you were subjected to blackmail [by Iran].

A: No I am describing reality. The reality is that Hamas’ relationship with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt and Jordan is a balanced relationship based on the [principle that] support for the Palestinian people is a duty and that Hamas can’t be in anyone pocket in exchange for this support….

Q: So you have no intention of making any concessions in return for the continuation of support?

A: WE HAVE NOT BEEN ASKED TO MAKE ANY FUTURE CONCESSIONS


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