Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah was Al-Manar TVâ€™s guest Wednesday night in the talk show â€˜Whatâ€™s Nextâ€ with Amr Nassef. Amr Nassef â€“ Introduction: Assalam Alaykom and Allahâ€™s blessings be upon you.
It is not easy for a journalist to interview someone who dwells in the minds and hearts of millions of Arabs and Muslims; to interview someone whoâ€™s regarded as the enemy of all tyrannies. Our guest today is someone who promises and fulfills his promise; someone who if he threatens, his enemies hold their breaths; someone who every time he triumphs, becomes more modest. No victory has distracted him from his obligation. All that I can promise tonight in this interview is that we will do our best in talking to a â€˜Sayyedâ€™ who excels in putting the dots on the Iâ€™s to for the enemy and the friend, the swindler and the loyal to read much clearer. Allow me to welcome with great pride his eminence Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. Sayyed Nasrallah: Welcome. Nassef: First of all, how true are the reports that have recently circulated in the media and attributed to the Attorney General pertaining to summoning some Hezbollah members to appear before judicial authorities? Sayyed Nasrallah: This is true. In the past few weeks the Attorney General office contacted several people who have close ties with Hezbollah and requested they appear before judicial authorities. Yes this is true. Nassef: What is the number? Sayyed Nasrallah: Their number reached 12 comprising Hezbollah members and non-members. The Attorney General is to summon six more people. Nassef: Is this the first time? Sayyed Nasrallah: I believe that the basic summoning took place at the end of 2008, following the May 7 incidents and right before the release of the four generals. At that time, some brothers and sisters were summoned and in 2009, others were summoned as well. This is not the first time that such thing happens; however, no uproar was made about it before. Nassef: Before now? Sayyed Nasrallah: Many were summoned in 2005. However, no one was summoned as a Hezbollah member, for being a Hezbollah member, or to ask about someone from Hezbollah. Nassef: Did they summon leaders? Sayyed Nasrallah: It did not happen before. In the past few weeks, we cannot say that publicly known leaders have been summoned but among the brothers were a â€˜cultural officialâ€™ and another â€˜jihadiâ€™ brother working on the Palestinian portfolio and in contact with Palestinians inside the occupied territories. Nassef: The reaction? Sayyed Nsrallah: My request to the (Special Tribunal for Lebanon) is to maintain secrecy and as far as we are concerned. Weâ€™ll not reveal the names or the context of the investigations at the time being. We have agreed not to say anything other than what we believe is convenient. At the current stage, itâ€™s better to keep everything secret. Nassef: Could there be more summoning and by who? Sayyed Nasrallah: We have no information yet. If we consider political salons or some journals, we can understand and expect this, but we donâ€™t have any information. Nassef: Is it accusatory? Sayyed Nasrallah: We have to differentiate between what is being said in the media, what was directly addressed with the investigation panel, and what we have heard from them. A meeting was held between Hezbollah delegates and officials at eh Attorney Generalâ€™s office, and they confirmed that those people were summoned as witnesses, not as suspects. Nassef: How did this go to the media? Sayyed Nasrallah: Whatâ€™s being raised by the media is associated with political sides, embassies, intelligence corpses, propaganda, and rumors in Lebanon, the Arab world and the world. At one level, we have a political accusation and at another level there are circulations related to the investigation panel. There could be a strong link between the two, but what is being raised today are leaks, and political and media accusation. We are used to this. The first time anyone talked about the circumstances, the circumstances-to-be, and pointing the finger at Hezbollah or some Hezbollah members, was the French daily Le Figaro in August, 2006. It published a detailed report which the Der Spiegel later made use of. Le Figaro reported details and talked about motives. It sought to involve some regional states into this, immediately after the 2006 war. What does that mean? The second to write about this issue was the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyyassa in March 2009, just when the case of the four general was resolved. It was the same Al-Siyyassa that published in 2005 a scenario about the four generals. The new scenario of 2009 sought to point the finger at Hezbollah. Then came Der Spiegelâ€™s report in May 2005. It stated similar details but added some new names amid preparations for general elections in Lebanon. The French Le Monde also wrote about this in February, 2010. All those articles sought to determine the networks (involved in the assassination of former PM Martyr Rafiq Hariri) and tried to give details and bring accusations. Everything that was written was attributed to sources close the investigation or to sources close to politicians. It is clear that everything that has been said was political and media accusations, which were directed towards Syria and what they call the â€˜joint Lebanese-Syrian security regimeâ€™ immediately following the assassination of Hariri. This went on for five years, until PM Saad Haririâ€™s visit to Syria. Nassef: Can we understand that there is no sort of any accusation to Hezbollah at any level? Sayyed Nasrallah: Until this moment, there are no accusations. No brother was summoned based on accusations. But this can happen in the future. My answer until this moment is based on facts. Nassef: How do you understand the origin of whatâ€™s been circulated in the media in this regard? Sayyed Nasrallah: What we are discussing now is the media and the political accusation, just as we discussed the media and the political accusations to Syria and the four generals in 2005. Weâ€™ve been target since many years, and there were political powers that have accused Syria. Right after the martyrdom of Hariri, Israeli leaders and the Israeli media accused Hezbollah of standing behind his assassination; they were the first to accuse Hezbollah. This is normal, because those who accused Syria had their problems with Syria and the same goes with Hezbollah. This is exactly what happened in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, when the Israel lobby accused Lebanonâ€™s Hezbollah of carrying out the attacks. But this was irrational, because there was a political scheme that was supposed to benefit from these attacks, namely to occupy Iraq. The Israelis went further to say â€“ after the Americans accused Al-Qaeda – that the 9/11 attacks were the fruit of coordination between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda. We have read reports about meetings that took place between Hajj Imad Moghniyeh and Sheikh Ossama Bin Laden on the Iran-Pakistan border. Today, the changes and attempts of isolation were supposed to end Hezbollah, which did not happen. Then came the 2006 war to crush the resistance and establish a new demographic reality in Lebanon; at least south of the Litani River. The resistance came out victorious, so other attempts were made to drag the resistance into a domestic conflict on May 7, 2008. It is my right to believe that that this resistance is a target because of its influence on the local and regional arenas. How can this resistance be confronted? With a new war with unguaranteed results? With internal sedition that no one know where it could lead us? With distortion? Distortion can be effective, but we have been subject to distortion since day one. They use everything that would distort our image and our bright jihadi example that weâ€™ve set, and this is not new. I can say that the last weapon to use against the resistance is this file that is being opened after the 2006 war. I believe that what was written back then is somehow linked to the tribunal and the political powers. Nassef: I would like to make use of your answers to ask about the foundations. You are talking about a programmed action? Sayyed Nasrallah: What they are saying is not new, even if its level has increased in the past few months. There are leaks, and there are Lebanese political and security leaderships speaking about the tribunalâ€™s disposition to accuse members of Hezbollah. Therefore, these are not speculations. They found their information on what their sources in the tribunal and the Attorney Generalâ€™s office tell them. Moreover, in May, they used to say that the indictment would be issued within 3 weeks, and the period was extended and extendedâ€¦Hezbollah does not have anything to fear and this is why we told our brothers to respond to the judicial request. But when the summoning took place at this particular time â€“ having had previous information that April will see investigations leading to bringing accusations against Hezbollah â€“ how can we explain this? Nassef: Why do you rule out speculations? Sayyed Nasrallah: There are three hypotheses: either those officials and those authors are guessing and then, by coincidence, their guess becomes the actual course of the tribunal. This would damage the investigation panel making it a tool in the hands of political leaderships. The second hypothesis is a leak from the investigation panel that reveals its next steps. I is weird that anyone can predict names, dates, and details. The third hypothesis is that they either know the future or they are prophets. I personally go for the second hypothesis. I have read Mr. (Daniel) Bellemareâ€™s statement, and I call on him to investigate, because he has employees and senior employees who have ties with their security apparatuses which they came from, as well as ties with parties that they belong to; they have relations with many politicians and journalists to whom they leak such information. The Attorney General is responsible for what is written and what is published in this regard. Nassef: Can you clearly see the foundations that the media are relying on? Sayyed Nasrallah: I am talking about a leak. It seems that there is scenario thatâ€™s been set and everything thatâ€™s been said was said in the media. This language establishes our conviction that what is taking place is nothing but leaks. Since the first investigation panel was formed, weâ€™ve been hearing everything about it in the media and from political leaderships. Lots of people heard they were suspect in the media and they were later summoned. The tribunalâ€™s history is full of leaks. It is not a homogenous body; it is formed by different states. There is dispute and discord within the tribunal, otherwise how can we explain the successive resignation in a short period of time? The tribunal is a blend of people, except for the March 8 people. In my opinion, a tribunal of this kind would normally lead to leaking information. Nassef: You say that political and media parties have returned to accusing Hezbollah. Is there anything beyond this, like eliminating the party? Sayyed Nasrallah: Eliminating the party is a product of imagination. The most they can do is distort the image of Hezbollah that has great respect and support. All attempts to distort this image were to no avail. Even the sectarian rhetoric was useless. Now this is a way to distort the image; I mean harming a great symbol like martyr Imad Moghniyyeh. They are working on fulfilling their objective before any official accusation by the court. They want to take advantage of time and they will not be satisfied with what they expect or know about charges to be pressed one day so that they can start their campaign. It is required that they begin the campaign immediately, maybe to strike a deal with Hezbollah sometime later. But eliminating Hezbollah is a product of imagination. Nassef: It seems that someone is trying to put a barrier or some sort of ghost in front of him. Sayyed Nasrallah: This will be of no value. Ever since the political pressure begun in 2005, they thought that they could eliminate Hezbollah; I assure them, they cannot. We are a big party with people involved in politics or in any other dossier, and they are not involved in the dossier of the resistance. As we have this conversation right now, there are people in Hezbollah who have nothing to do in this discussion. They work day and night to keep the resistance fully ready. Nassef: Since this accusation is political, whatâ€™s its value? Sayyed Nasrallah: This is a good question. In 2005, the political accusation resulted in serious political and social repercussions. Pressure was made to get the Syrian forces out of Lebanon. Iâ€™m not saying that the demonstrations led to the pullout, but an international pressure was made. In Syria, there is a calm and wise leadership that did want to be part of the confrontation. A major political shift happened in Lebanon; even the 2005 elections were held based on this political accusation. In some areas, they used to say that â€œwhoever votes for the other list will be voting for Rafiq Haririâ€™s murderers.â€ The parliament was formed based on this accusation and the region was on the verge of abyss because of this accusation. See what this political accusation had done? Who said that there was no meaning for a political accusation? It should be very clear that we will not stay silent to any political or media accusation to us. Those who want to bring accusations to us should know that we will not accept it, even if they simplify the whole matter. To say that â€˜we do not accuse Hezbollah, but some members of Hezbollahâ€™ is an offense to us as well. A political accusation is not that simple; it led to killing scores of innocent Syrian workers in Lebanon. The atmosphere that the political accusation created had led to killing them. It may not seem that the reality today is not as hard as it was before, because they want to take Lebanon to a much harder place. We do not accept political accusations and distortion will continue even if the investigation panel did not say a word.