Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Personal announcement: this was only a short intermission

Dear friends,

I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that the reason why this blog was relatively inactive recently was due to a mix of three factors: 

1)  I have had an rather insanely busy schedule and a few personal issues I needed to focus on.  Things are better now.

2) Most of the stuff in the news recently is boring beyond belief.  For example, I cannot find it in me to write anything about the idiotic media event otherwise known as the "US Presidential Election".

3) I am doing some research on topics which are immensely interesting but rather complicated, such as the events in Dagestan and the interesting debate in the Russian elites on the future of political Islam in Russia.  I need time before I can post on these topics.

Anyway, please do not take this relative lull in posts here as a sign of lack of interest - I am simply making use of specific circumstances.

As always, please feel free to post here on anything of interest and keep sending me good articles.

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker

Lebanon's red lines, bared

By Sharmine Narwani for the Asia Times

What a difference a week can make in the Middle East.

On October 19, when a car bomb tore through the upscale Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh in Beirut killing a major security official, Lebanon shuddered in fear that the era of political assassinations was back.

Politicians and commentators didn't miss a beat. The murder of Internal Security Forces (ISF) Information Branch head Wissam al-Hassan was compared to the killing of his former boss, ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. And the Hariri-allied pro-West, anti-Syria, pro-Saudi "March 14" political coalition lined up to deliver a visceral blow to their opponents, just as they had in 2005 when they ejected Syrian troops from Lebanon.

Hassan's body was not yet cold before his political allies started pointing their fingers at Syria and whipping up fury in the anti-Syrian Sunni enclaves of Lebanon. Young men spilled onto the streets with weapons brandished; some with RPGs and even combat uniforms. Clashes ensued, people died, but still their March 14 leaders did not call for calm.

In a replay of 2005 when hundreds of thousands of Lebanese rose up in the State Department-dubbed "Cedar Revolution" to oust the Syrians, March 14 groups on Sunday called for the masses to rally against Syria and its Lebanese government allies.

Except that not a single Syrian was ever charged by the international UN-backed tribunal that investigated Hariri's death. And last week there was no evidence that Syria was implicated in Hassan's assassination either.

But that didn't stop the political theater at Hassan's funeral service last Sunday when just a few thousand showed up to participate in what some hoped would be a replay of 2005.

There was no comparison whatsoever.

Instead of the sea of Lebanese flags, unifying slogans like "Freedom, Sovereignty, Independence" and the dazzling marketing and color-revolution choreography of, respectively, Saatchi & Saatchi and Serbia's Otpor that marked the 2005 event … the scene at Martyr's Square in downtown Beirut on Sunday resembled a wake for the March 14 coalition.

There was barely a Lebanese flag to be seen. Instead, the throngs held up flags of the Future Movement headed by Hariri's son Saad, right-wing Lebanese Forces Christian militia flags, Saudi flags, the colonial flag of the Syrian opposition and Islamist flags in black. Radical Muslims rallied alongside radical Christians, their one commonality, revulsion for the Syrian government and its allies Iran and Hezbollah.

The visible awkwardness of these March 14 alliances was impossible to ignore on Lebanese TV that day. Who failed to note the incongruity of a right-wing Christian Samir Geagea supporter standing next to a Sunni youth sporting an al-Qaeda headband? How can there be a future for a Future Movement so fundamentally at odds within itself, one wondered.

The crowds had little in common, their disparate leaders were smug, the mood was nationally divisive - little wonder then that the event ended with sticks and stones and tear gas. Not to mention a pitiful attempt to storm the Grand Serail and eject the Lebanese government headed by Hezbollah ally and billionaire Sunni, Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Those few hours on Sunday produced the first post-bombing revelation: March 14 has nothing to offer Lebanon - they are morally bankrupt, out of ideas, yesterday's leaders clawing for relevance as the region changes rapidly around them. Their supporters too are just treading water - this grouping exists only in opposition to something; it stands for nothing.

While the bombing had March 14 licking their opportunistic lips, it was their own Western allies France, the UK and US (FUKUS) that crushed their political hopes. Without any apparent tactical coordination, FUKUS overrode March 14 publicly, and declared that PM Mikati and his government must stay.

What is surprising is March 14's utter cluelessness about the way those winds were blowing. Not just FUKUS, but all five UN Security Council permanent members and Ban-Ki Moon's personal representative in Lebanon weighed in on the side of Mikati's government.

Not only was the UNSC speaking with one voice, but the speed and decisiveness of their message also undermined a key March 14-FUKUS refrain. In effect, the global powers were recognizing that the Iran and Hezbollah-backed Lebanese government was integral to guaranteeing the country's stability at a vulnerable time. No longer could this duo claim that these regional players were acting to destabilize Lebanon.

And so another red line is bared. The three main Western backers of the Syrian and Lebanese opposition have shown their limits: It is perfectly okay to sow sectarian strife in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, but not if it means destabilization on several of Israel's borders. One conflict-struck country is manageable in the Levant, but more than that and things can spread like wildfire. Controlled chaos is fine, but certainly not concurrent with a power vacuum. A powerless Lebanese state will mean loss of control over the critical southern territories along the Israeli border and along the eastern border with Syria - both are hard limits for FUKUS.

The FUKUS states have of course realized that at this critical juncture in Syria, they need levers in neighboring Lebanon. They care not a whit about their allies being in power - a compliant government is far less valuable than one with "access." The governing March 8 coalition is led by a weak and malleable Mikati, but importantly, he is a route to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah - which counts when regional stakes are this high.

No matter that Hezbollah has just flown a drone over FUKUS-ally Israel in an embarrassing breach of security for the Jewish state. No matter that Israel has been demanding military strikes against Iran just before a US presidential election. No matter that March 14 have been staunch FUKUS allies in both a local and regional geopolitical context against mutual foes Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

The only thing that counts now is that FUKUS isn't confident about the outcome in Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has outlasted all their predictions and opposition forces supported by the west are radicalizing in a direction that makes their mentors uncomfortable. If Islamist militants spin out of control in Syria, FUKUS will need to tame that chaos fast, before it spills into allied Jordan and Israel and further disrupts the Turkish and Lebanese borders.

The red lines hurriedly drawn in Lebanon last week have shown regional antagonists some new and unexpected cards. March 14's diffuse political identity resonates little with the Lebanese, and its interests are diverging from traditional external allies. FUKUS and the UNSC views the Iran, Hezbollah and Syria-backed Lebanese government as a force for stability in the Levant. Western leaders fear loss of control in the Syrian crisis they helped fan. Iran and Hezbollah hold valuable levers for the international community.

We may never discover who killed Wissam al-Hassan, but Lebanon last week was full of revelations nonetheless.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East, and a Senior Associate at St Antony's College, Oxford University.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Orthodox priest kidnapped in Damascus found dead

Agenzia Fides reports:
The body of the Greek-Orthodox priest Fr. Fadi Jamil Haddad, pastor of the church of St. Elias in Qatana, was found today in the Jaramana neighborhood (north of Damascus) not far from the place where he was kidnapped, on October 19, by unidentified armed group (see Fides 24/10/2012). This was confirmed to Fides by Fr. Haddad’s Greek-Orthodox confrere, who asked for anonymity. " His body was horribly tortured and his eyes gouged out," he told Fides. "It is a purely terrorist act. Fr. Haddad is a martyr of our church. "
With regards to the responsibilities of the terrible act there is an ongoing rebound of responsibilities between the opposition forces and government authorities, that accuse the armed gangs of armed rebellion in the army. According to Fides sources, the kidnappers had asked the priest’s family and his church a ransom of 50 million Syrian pounds (over 550 thousand euro). It was, however, impossible to find the money and meet this exorbitant demand. A source of Fides condemns "the terrible practice, present for months in this dirty war, of kidnapping and then killing innocent civilians."

Among the various Christian communities in Syria, the Greek-Orthodox is the largest (with about 500 thousand faithful) and is concentrated mainly in the western part of the country and in Damascus. 
This act just goes to show that the Wahabis hate Orthodox Christians just has much as they hate any other religion.  Not big news, really, not after Bosnia and Chechnia, but I hope that this information makes it into the Russian media as an extra incentive to do whatever it takes to prevent the Wahabis from ever taking power in Syria.

The Saker

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Survey: Most Israeli Jews Would Support Apartheid Regime in Israel

Haaretz reports via InformationClearingHouse:

Survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews. 

By Gideon Levy

October 23, 2012 "
Haaretz" -- Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank.

A majority also explicitly favors discrimination against the state's Arab citizens, a survey shows.

The survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews. The survey was commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund and is based on a sample of 503 interviewees.

The questions were written by a group of academia-based peace and civil rights activists. Dialog is headed by Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs.

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don't want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don't want their children in the same class with Arab children.

A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter - 24 percent - believe separate roads are "a good situation" and 50 percent believe they are "a necessary situation."

Almost half - 47 percent - want part of Israel's Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority and 36 percent support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements.

Although the territories have not been annexed, most of the Jewish public (58 percent ) already believes Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. Only 31 percent think such a system is not in force here. Over a third (38 percent ) of the Jewish public wants Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them, while 48 percent object.

The survey distinguishes among the various communities in Israeli society - secular, observant, religious, ultra-Orthodox and former Soviet immigrants. The ultra-Orthodox, in contrast to those who described themselves as religious or observant, hold the most extreme positions against the Palestinians. An overwhelming majority (83 percent ) of Haredim are in favor of segregated roads and 71 percent are in favor of transfer.

The ultra-Orthodox are also the most anti-Arab group - 70 percent of them support legally barring Israeli Arabs from voting, 82 percent support preferential treatment from the state toward Jews, and 95 percent are in favor of discrimination against Arabs in admission to workplaces.

The group classifying itself as religious is the second most anti-Arab. New immigrants from former Soviet states are closer in their views of the Palestinians to secular Israelis, and are far less radical than the religious and Haredi groups. However, the number of people who answered "don't know" in the "Russian" community was higher than in any other.

The Russians register the highest rate of satisfaction with life in Israel (77 percent ) and the secular Israelis the lowest - only 63 percent. On average, 69 percent of Israelis are satisfied with life in Israel.

Secular Israelis appear to be the least racist - 68 percent of them would not mind having Arab neighbors in their apartment building, 73 percent would not mind Arab students in their children's class and 50 percent believe Arabs should not be discriminated against in admission to workplaces.

The survey indicates that a third to half of Jewish Israelis want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens. An even larger majority wants to live in an apartheid state if Israel annexes the territories.

The survey conductors say perhaps the term "apartheid" was not clear enough to some interviewees. However, the interviewees did not object strongly to describing Israel's character as "apartheid" already today, without annexing the territories. Only 31 percent objected to calling Israel an "apartheid state" and said "there's no apartheid at all."

In contrast, 39 percent believe apartheid is practiced "in a few fields"; 19 percent believe "there's apartheid in many fields" and 11 percent do not know.

The "Russians," as the survey calls them, display the most objection to classifying their new country as an apartheid state. A third of them - 35 percent - believe Israel practices no apartheid at all, compared to 28 percent of the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities, 27 percent of the religious and 30 percent of the observant Jews who hold that view. Altogether, 58 percent of all the groups believe Israel practices apartheid "in a few fields" or "in many fields," while 11 percent don't know.

Finally, the interviewees were asked whether "a famous American author [who] is boycotting Israel, claiming it practices apartheid" should be boycotted or invited to Israel. About half (48 percent ) said she should be invited to Israel, 28 percent suggest no response and only 15 percent call to boycott her.

You might as well vote for...

At least one person in my town seems to have figured out that these elections are a total joke.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In one week the US will have three aircraft carriers facing Iran

(many thanks to HL for this info!  S.)

Zerohedge reports:

US Aircraft Carrier John Stennis Arrives By Iran

Ten days ago, when we last tracked the progress of the third US aircraft carrier, CVN-74 Stennis, with destination Arabian Gulf, aka Iran, we reported that it was "within a week of reaching" its destination. Sure enough, as the latest Stratfor naval update confirms, CVN-74 has now reached its destination for which it was commissioned several months prematurely. But before you get your war hats out, note that that other aircraft carrier which is conducting its final voyage, the CVN-65 Enterprise, has decided to take a bit of a break and left the Arabian Gulf area for a scheduled R&R port visit in Naples, Italy. In a week or so, shore leave will be over and CVN will be back to join everyone else, at which point the US will finally have three aircraft carriers just off the Iranian coastline ready to rumble.


The "Arabian Gulf".   Even the "accepted language" in the Anglosphere reeks of imperial policies.  Amazing...

The Saker

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A short survey of the main international actors before the coming crisis

Looking at all the nonsense filling the news recently (Presidential debates in the USA, the dying EU with a Nobel prize, etc.) I get a feeling that we are living through a proverbial "calm before the storm" and that is a good opportunity to make a quick survey of the situation of the main actors of the coming crisis.

The EU: contrary to what we see in media reports, the EU is currently undergoing a massive systemic crisis which it is unlikely to survive.  Basically, the EU is broke.  And I am not only talking about Greece here, but also about Italy, Spain, Portugal and even France.  Unemployment is rapidly rising, corporations are closing everywhere, most banks have severe liquidity problems and, worst of all, not a single European politician is offering any suggestion, however tepid, as to how to overcome the crisis.  In the meantime, the USA is using fiat money to purchase real estate and other assets all over the continent.  The austerity imposed upon Europeans by a political class totally sold out to the USA and international bankers is literally pushing the countries of southern Europe into a social explosion which could very rapidly turn violent.  With a few rare exceptions, the media (mostly owned by banks) is buying time for the bankers by simply ignoring this reality and feeding its clueless audience a steady stream of nonsensical and irrelevant news.  Bottom line: both the Euro and the EU as a political project are dying, the continent is broke and a social explosion inevitable.

Russia: is stark contrast to the EU, Russia is doing great.  The Russian economy is booming, the Western-sponsored opposition totally discredited, the armed forces are in very good shape and getting even stronger and the economic and social prospects look excellent.  Interestingly, Russian government officials have been very candid about the situation in the EU and they are openly saying that they have taken all the necessary measures to protect the Russian population from the consequences of the inevitable collapse of the EU.  No matter how good things look in Russia now, a collapse of the EU will have negative consequences for the Russian economy and the Kremlin has taken a wide array of measures to prepare for this situation.  Likewise, the Russian military appears to be ready to act should a US/Israeli attack on Iran create a crisis on Russia's southern borders.  Bottom line: Russia is just about as ready as can be for any foreseeable crisis and getting stronger each day.

Iran: there is no denying that Iran is in a very difficult situation and that the economic war imposed on Iran by Israel via the USA and the EU is having a strong impact upon the Iranian economy.  In purely military terms, Iran is probably as ready as it can be for a US/Israeli attack which the Iranians have been expecting and preparing for since decades.  To quote my friend Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich "If I were to make a call, I would say that given the world economy, the unrest around the globe, if there is an ideal time for war (to benefit Iran), this would be the ideal time".   While it is true that a US attack on Iran could potentially result in an immense number of casualties, it is nevertheless true that Iran is probably better prepared to respond to a military attack than to the current economic warfare imposed upon it.  I believe that Russia and China could help Iran break the economic and financial blockade imposed upon it, but this will take time and small, incremental, steps.

Hezbollah: though there is very little information available about the effect the NATO war on Syria is having on Hezbollah, my guess is that Hezbollah is in a very difficult situation threatened on all sides by a nauseating mix of US agents and Wahabi crackpots.  It is bad enough to have to face Israel, the US, NATO, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda types and their respective puppets inside Lebanon, but to have to face this at the very moment when Iran is struggling to deal with a full-spectrum destabilization effort by the USA and Israel must be particularly difficult. Others might disagree with this, but my personal feeling is that all the high-fiving Hezbollah has been doing recently about its drone its threats conduct offensive operations in Galilee is mostly a case putting a brave face on a very difficult situation.

Latin America: first and foremost, in Venezuela Chavez did pull off something of a miracle by winning the recent elections with a wide margin and during an election which was universally hailed as extremely honest, transparent and fair.  For all his faults and mistakes, Chavez has had the courage to let the Venezuelan people make a fundamental and far reaching choice: US-style global capitalism or "Bolivarian socialism" and the majority of the people clearly have made the choice for the latter.  This is bound to have an effect on the entire continent, if only because it shows that it is possible to resist against the US pressure and survive.  Likewise, Ecuador's decision to grant asylum to Assange is probably the result of a calculated risk of daring to openly defy the USA and get away with it.  Finally, in Bolivia, President Morales has managed, so far, to survive the multiple crisis created by pro-US interests against his administration.  So even if it is true that Brazil, Argentina or Chile are showing signs of caving in to US pressures to submit, the resistance to the US domination still appears to be strong enough to present a complex challenge to the White House.

China: by far the major country about which I know the least and the little I know about it comes mainly from Russian sources.  According to these sources, China is working side by side with Russia in preparation for an economic collapse of the EU followed by an inevitable collapse of the dollar and the rest of the current international financial system.  There are persistent rumors that both China and Russia are quietly buying large amounts of gold and off-loading dollars.   What is sure is that these two countries are ideal partners to jointly overcome the consequences of the inevitable meltdown of the current international financial system.   According to Russian analysts, both Russia and China expect the USA to try to use its military to force the rest of the planet to accept the dollar as the quasi-sole currency of international exchange a this is why both Russia and China are spending a great deal of money and efforts to modernize their armed forces.  Unlike Russia, China is very heavily invested in the US market and this is the reason why the Chinese are scrambling to open new markets for their goods in Africa, Latin America and, of course, Russia.  I personally expect these two countries to continue to work hand in hand on all levels.

Last, but not least,

The USA: for all the constant saber-rattling of the White House and the hysterics of the Israel Lobby, it is quite amazing that the inevitable US attack on Iran, announced since 2006-2007, has still not happened.  It appears that the usually almighty Israel Lobby has failed to prevail against two powerful interest groups: the Pentagon and Wall Street (I personally think of them as the "old Anglo money" as opposed to "new Jewish money").  As long as there is simply too much to loose in a military strike against Iran, these forces are likely to limit their aggressive inclinations to a mix of threats and economic sanctions.  However, if the international role of the dollar becomes truly threatened, then all bets are off and all options very much on the table.

As a country, the USA is broke, bled to death by the so-called 1%ers running it.  Worse, the USA are becoming gradually de-industrialized and socially dysfunctional.  The only thing which currently prevents a complete collapse of the entire US economy is the ability to print more and more dollars and to exchange them against real goods and services.  This is nothing new, it all really began in the 1980s when the system began to show clear signs of fundamental systemic failures.  What saved the day was the collapse of the Soviet Union which opened a huge segment of the planet to a massive inflow of dollars.  In their typical arrogance, the Western elites decreed that they had "won the Cold War" instead of realizing that their capitalist system had only been temporarily given a reprieve from its inevitable collapse by the collapse of the Soviet system.  This was a one time thing, however, and now are no more potential markets to flood with US dollars and the entire scheme is about to come tumbling down.

The corporate media does a truly stellar job of hiding it all from the general population which continues to be fed a constant diet of irrelevant non-news with rosy forecasts about the future.  While Russia and China are clearly bracing themselves for the inevitable crisis, the Western government are putting all their efforts into hiding the facts from their population and delaying the inevitable.

How things will actually play themselves out is anybody's guess.  My personal sense is that the economic crisis in Europe will trigger a rapid collapse of the EU financial system which, in turn, will precipitate a collapse of the US banking system at which point a military attack on Iran will begin to start making sense even to the folks on Wall Street.  A war in the Middle-East will also be an ideal pretext to basically do away with the few civil rights still left and a period of internal Fascism is probably inevitable, at least in the USA (unlike the USA, Europe simply does not have a system in place capable of effectively beating down an angry population).  Whatever the actual scenario, a collapse the international financial system is probably inevitable and that, in turn, most likely means that we are going to witness one or more full-scale wars in the near future.

 What is your take on this?  Do you agree with my "doom and gloom" forecast?

The Saker

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Request for assistance: Karadzic trial

Dear friends,

I am trying to locate the statement made yesterday by Radovan Karadzic at the opening of his defense at his trial in The Hague.  I am also looking for the statement/testimony of Col. Andrey Demurenko made on the same day.  Any help in locating these documents (in whatever language, including Serbian or Russian) would be greatly appreciated. 

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on October 11, 2012

I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In The Name of Allah, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the World. Peace be upon our Master and Prophet – the Seal of prophets – Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household, his chosen companions and on all prophets and messengers. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

The main topic is the surveillance drone which flew over occupied Palestine reaching the southern part – south occupied Palestine. God willing I will seek not to surpass my time limit. Through this topic, I will handle some topics which during the past week or two were of concern on the Lebanese level and also outside Lebanon. If I still have time, I will mention all the points. If not, I can pull off some topics for another time.

I will start with the surveillance drone.

We are before a very important and qualitative operation not only in the history of the Resistance in Lebanon but also in the history of the resistance in the region. Anyway, many of the Lebanese and the Arabs are distracted from the essential struggle. Thus the story is between us and the Israelis. The Israelis unanimously agreed on the importance of this cause and the seriousness of its indications. This has been made clear through our follow up of Israeli stances made whether by politicians, military officials or media figures since the moment the event took place until this very moment. The story is that the Resistance in Lebanon sent an advanced surveillance drone from the Lebanese lands – There is no need to specify from where in Lebanon - towards the sea. The drone was driven for hundreds of kilometers over the sea. Then it penetrated the enemy’s new measures, entered south Palestine, and flew over several significant locations and bases. It flew tens of kilometers across the south of Palestine before it was spotted by the enemy near the region of Dimona. An Israeli air force squadron confronted it and downed it.

Indeed, now I will not tackle the technical and skillful details. I will leave that to the experts. I rather want to tackle some aspects of this cause and its indications. Today, I will say what I find appropriate. Not all what is known would be said tonight.

First, I consider that this announcement is tantamount to an adoption and claiming responsibility by the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon of this qualitative operation.

The Israelis are still perplexed about the points I mentioned as they are not clear to them. They are somehow confused over who is responsible of this operation. However, Netanyahu today officially held Hezbollah responsible of this operation. Perhaps he wanted to say that before we do as that was clear yesterday when they announced about tonight's speech on the drone. Are we to praise the drone in a poem? Indeed, we wanted to adopt it.

Now I will tackle the respective indications and points.

First, this is the first time in the history of resistance movements in Lebanon and the region that an air force of this kind is possessed. Owning such a capability is unprecedented.

Indeed this drone is larger and more important from many perspectives from Mirsad Drone which was used by the Resistance in 2006. To make the Israelis analysis and search easier we say that this drone is not Russian. This drone is of Iranian manufacturing. It was assembled by Lebanese specialized cadre of experts in Hezbollah. The Lebanese are thus to be proud that they have young men with such brains.

Second, this is also the first time in the history of resistance movements in which a drone of this kind is used and the first time it flies that deep across the Palestinian territories – even more, over the south of occupied Palestine which is a very critical region.

Third, the drone took off and moved in its path accurately for hundreds of kilometers – as I said - and penetrated all the Israelis measures and reached a region very close to Dimona Reactor.

As for the Israeli saying that they spotted it while it was over the sea but allowed it to fly over the land for 50, 60 or 70 kilometers – this point is argumentative and I will leave it to specialists. I will only say tens of kilometers over the land - this is sheer lying on their people and themselves. The Israelis themselves said that after they spotted it, they left it to fly towards an uninhabited region before they droned it. The question is: Is the sea inhabited so that they leave it to fly over the land and wait until it reaches an uninhabited area so as to down it? That means that we can work hard and penetrate all the measures taken by the enemy no matter how hard or complicated they are in the war of minds and brains. We must trust our minds and brains and our Lebanese, Arab, Muslim, and oriental human being.

This is the achievement. It is that the plane flew over all this distance and penetrated the measures and moved all this way across south Palestine. As for it being downed after all, this is normal and expected. That is not an achievement. The achievement is that it flew over the region that it is supposed to be equipped with Israeli, US, NATO, and UNIFIL radars….

Anyway, some Israelis literally talked about failure or a crack somewhere saying: "Israeli pride in that the Israeli airspace – including the skies over the Mediterranean to a very distant point can't be penetrated has been cracked now. We do not want to say more than cracked. We are satisfied by that.

Fourth, we will talk about the degree of confusion among the Israelis in understanding and comprehending what took place and how did that take place. For days they remained perplexed before Netanyahu today made his clear announcement.

Fifth, running the drone and directing it in the right track manifests the degree of professionalism of the specialized cadre in the Resistance. This was acknowledged by the Israelis themselves in the framework of commenting on this incident. Here I would like to laud these resistance fighters and thank them. They are the brethrens who dedicated their minds and souls and youth for the sake of defending their homeland, people, and nation and for the sake of developing all defense capabilities.

Sixth, we will leave the Israelis themselves to sit and make a deep scrutiny and take their time in drawing conclusions so as to find out what is the drone's intelligence capability to gather information, to what extent it is practical especially that it could – from the first flight – fly over the water – the sea-, and we all know what's above the sea now and to fly over the land and we all know what is above the land of southern occupied Palestine.

Seventh, ipso facto, we are revealing part of our capacity and hiding many other parts. Here too the Israelis have to sit and analyze and expect. When I reveal this part of my capacity, that will not lessen the promised surprises God willing in case we were obliged one day to confront a war in which we have to defend our homeland, country, sovereignty and dignity.

Eighth, this operation also indicates that the Resistance is able to hide its capacities as well as revealing them or some of them at the appropriate time to send the appropriate message in the appropriate time. This is one of the closed secretive specialties of the Resistance. As for the resistance or the military organization which is known by everybody and is tackled here and there, it can't hide its capacities or reveal them at the time in which it can serve the deterrence policy or the defense readiness.

Ninth, in this framework, I must remind of the magnitude of Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace. Let's keep the maritime and territorial violations aside. We will talk only about aerial violations. Since the implementation of Resolution 1701 in 2006 until yesterday, the Israelis have made 20864 violations of Lebanese airspace and Lebanese sovereignty under the powerlessness of the Lebanese state. Indeed, I call on the Lebanese state and the Lebanese state institutions to scrutinize this cause and the means of confronting it. Perhaps there would reach a formula to defend this sovereignty under the silence of the international community on the violation of the resolutions issued by it and indeed under a suspicious silence of some of the Lebanese who daily bid up on sovereignty to their citizens.

On the other hand, I would like to remind and stress that it is our natural right to carry other surveillance trips to occupied Palestine whenever we want. This trip was not the first and will not be the last God willing. With this new kind of surveillance drones, we may reach any point we plan to reach. We may even reach some regions which are forgotten by the Arab conscience and mind. For example, I mention Tiran and Sanafer Islands which lie in the Red Sea and which are still under Israeli occupation and over which the Israeli flag is raised and are still forsaken.

Tenth, we have called this qualitative resistance operation after the name of Martyr Hussein Ayyoub – "Brethren Rabea" who was the pioneer in this specialty and field in the resistance. He was also martyred in this track. We also would like to label this drone – so that we would not carry on saying "this drone" and as we have labeled its younger sister "Mirsad" – the name "Ayyoub". This is first after the name of the Prophet of Allah "Ayyoub" (Peace be upon him) who was the prophet of patience, deliberateness, tolerance, triumph and victory after all. Second, in this name we would like to immortalize our dear brethren and martyr Hussein Ayyoub.

Finally as far as the topic of this plane is concerned, I would like to say that this has been achieved and that this capacity needed much preparation, long time, and great effort. That asserts that our essential team in Hezbollah is not detached from the enemy of Lebanon and the nation by any distraction. No matter what the developments, events, and conflicts are, we are concerned in developing this capacity and capability because we are talking about a confrontation with Israel which is working day and night and is furnished by the USA and all the west with the latest technologies and theories and all the available capacities for triumphing over the Arab status quo. Thus we are also concerned not to be negligent even for a moment in this framework so as to preserve these capacities, capabilities and resistance. We know that while shouldering this responsibility, we are getting subject to great repercussions, difficulties and sacrifices. This is what we are daily facing to guard our Resistance, the existence of the Resistance, the arms of the Resistance, the capacities of the Resistance and the secrecy of the Resistance where it must be as such.

In this framework, I would like to tackle some topics which come under the title of the Resistance:

I want to call the first topic the geography of arms. Under this topic comes the cause of arsenals and arms warehouses, the places they are found in and the events they might be subject to. In this framework comes the event known as Nabi Sheath arms warehouse in which three of our best brethrens and fighters (May Allah reward them in Heaven) were martyred. We may call this issue the geography of arms when we tackle it as a subject of argument which is evoked following every incident or detail which is exposed and in some political speeches. In fact, in Lebanon we can't talk about a fore front and a back front so as to say that the bordering area is a fore front. For example, are Tyr and Nabatiyeh back fronts? Is the South a fore front and Bekaa a back front? I will talk about the South and Bekaa so as not to give many examples. If we took July War as an example, the Israelis bombed the South as they bombed Bekaa. Most of the villages in Bekaa – especially western Bekaa and Baalbeck-Hermel were subject to tough bombing by the Israeli enemy. There were commandos airdrops in the South as well as in Bekaa. For example, we mention the commandos in Baalbeck Hills and the commandos in Hekmeh Hospital in Baalbeck as well as the commandos in Boddai. Now do we call this a back front? Before July War and even before 2000, Israeli commandos dropped in Jibsheet to kidnap our brethren Sheikh Abdulkarim Obeid. They also airdropped in the Bekai village of Qsarnabra and kidnapped our dear brethren Hajj Abu Ali Dirani. As the Israelis carried assassination operations in the South, they carried assassination operations in Dahiyeh and in Bekaa too… So this sectioning is invalid. The fore front or the front area is the entire area over which the enemy operates. This is what is called the fore front. This is the field of confrontation and the entire national defense area.

The second point is that if we took fore granted that there is a fore front or a back front, no resistance or regular army in history or in modern time takes all its troops and arms and arsenals and capabilities and place them in the bordering area or the front region. This is an irrational action. That does not need generals, army schools or academies to theorize on. Any man in the first stages of military work knows that this is an irrational step. Consequently, it is rational and very logical that the defending troops – whether a regular army or a popular resistance – exist and spread all over the area as well as there arms and arm warehouse.

Third, when it comes to the issue of arms warehouses in particular, people say why this arsenal is in Bekaa or in the neighborhood of Nabi Sheath. They themselves over a year ago in a similar incident in Khirbit Silim said why this warehouse is in the neighborhood of Khirbit Silim – while indeed it is outside the village. If anything of this sort takes place even at the border, they will pose this very question. That's because their problem is not with the arms warehouse whether they are in Bekaa, the South, Nabi Sheath or Khirbit Silim or Kafarkila. Their problem is with the very idea of the resistance and the very existence of the resistance in Lebanon and not only with Hezbollah. Now if Hezbollah quitted the resistance, there will be another story. The problem might be different. Their problem is in the very existence of a Lebanese resistance that fights the Israeli enemy and stands in face of the Israeli project in Lebanon and the region. This resistance is called Hezbollah, Amal Movement, national, socialist, leftist, right, Islamic, or secular party. This is but details. Their problem is with this resistance.

It is normal that any resistance stores its arms in various and different places for several reasons of which I will mention only two:

First, if we gathered all our arms, cannons, arsenals, rockets and missiles in a limited number of warehouses, these warehouses may be spotted. After all, they will be a limited number of targets which might be figured out whether through agents and human sources or through air surveillances. This will also make the enemy dare to aspire to bombard them and destroy them. Thus this is an irrational action. No one stores all his arms and arsenals in a limited and small number of warehouses in a confrontation with an enemy like Israel which violates air and land. Second, it is really tragic that the Israelis could understand this story. I have read the comments of the Israelis on the event that took place in the storehouse near Nabi Sheath. What do the Israelis say? They say that it is normal that Hezbollah scatters its warehouses in the vastest circle possible and that Hezbollah makes small warehouses here and there because Hezbollah knows that in any war and just as in the previous wars, Israel sieges regions and disconnects them. It is really tragic that your enemy explains for his public opinion the story of the warehouse while some people who say they are Lebanese and are careful for the country and the blood of the Lebanese and the sovereignty of the country while they are still unwilling to understand this story. That's because enmity and aversion make eyes, minds and hearts at a time blind.

We may observe that in all the previous wars, Israel – through its air force – disconnects and disjoints not only regions and provinces from each others but also centers and villages from each other. Thus any rational man who takes a decision to defend his existence, entity and homeland must scatter his arms warehouses across the vastest circle possible while securing secrecy over them. This guards him against aerial shelling and against massive destruction while enabling the resistance to truly defend in case of any event or confrontation.

This is the logic followed by the resistance. Indeed, its warehouse must be secret and concealed and it must follow special procedures to secure that. We follow very important measures; however, it goes without saying that when there is a great number of warehouses and a great number of available potentials – and as is the case with professional regular armies though we do not claim we are a professional regular army – technical or human defects may take place and lead to the martyrdom of dear brethrens as what took place in Nabi Sheath with these dear, chaste and mujahedeen martyrs. I hope this issue is clear to the public opinion, and I hope the public opinion would understand this cause and some of its reasons. Indeed there are other reasons. I hope that our political opponents at least imitate somehow our enemy who was explaining that that is something logical and objective as long as there is a resistance. Thus I know that the problem in the minds of this group is in fact not with this distribution but rather with the very existence or arms and the very existence of this resistance.

The following point has to do with Syria and the issue of military intervention and fighting with the regime and the martyrdom of dear brethren Hajj Abu Abbass which has been tackled for a couple of weeks in media outlets, satellite channels and the internet. I wanted you to take your time and say whatever you want. Now we have the right to say our viewpoint and stance and to specify our responsibilities in a clear way. Since the beginning of the events in Syria, we voiced our clear political stance. We did not hide it and we were not ashamed of it. Since the very beginning we explained our viewpoint and comprehension of what is taking place in Syria as well as its reasons, dimensions, and dangers on Syria and Lebanon and on the Palestinian cause and on the region as a whole. Based on clear intellectual, religious and political foundations, we specified our political stance which my brethrens and I interpreted and expressed in speeches, occasions, press and televised interviews. As far as the political stance is concerned, we are not hesitant or embarrassed or afraid of anyone. This is our stance, these are our convictions and this is our vision which we talk about daily. Some people tell us you are paying the price for your political stance in Syria. There is no problem in that. Life is as such. You have to take a stance and bear the consequences of this stance. All's well that ends well. Let's see the results in all cases….

However, since the very beginning – the very first couple of days for the events – some parties in the Syrian Opposition in media outlets and some Arab satellite channels started saying – though fighting hadn't then have started in Syria – that Hezbollah dispatched 3000 fighters to Syria and is fighting along the regime. We said that this is invalid and a mere fabrication. Here I am telling you this is still untrue and mere fabrications. Every now and then they say there are 1500 fighters or 2000 fighters or 4000 fighters or 5000 fighters. Indeed next to these fighters, there are martyrs – 100 martyrs, 200 martyrs and 300 martyrs. Where are they? In more than one occasion in the past I used to say it is impossible to hide anything in Lebanon. We too do not hide anything. When a martyr falls, we go to his family, father, mother, wife and children and tell them the truth as it is. We tell them where, when and how this dear brethren was martyred. All through our thirty-year-history we have been serious. In fact, there is a religious and moral problem in telling the family of the martyr something while the truth is something else.

In Lebanon, we can't hide anything. The family of any martyr and the residents of the village know about any funeral in any village. Keep in mind that we do not hold secret funerals. We rather hold public and televised funerals. Well where are these 500, 300, or 200 martyrs? For example, a couple of days ago the outlets belonging to March 14 Bloc and some Arab satellite channels insisted that there are 75 martyrs for Hezbollah in Ribleh border village near Al Hermel. This is mere baseless fabrication. On the contrary, to weave the story they claimed that Hezbollah is carrying negotiations to reach a ceasefire, Hezbollah could pull the corpses of 30 martyrs while the rest are still retained. Another story said that armed groups could detain 13 members from Hezbollah in the past couple of days in Reef Al Qasir. Anyway, it was clear from the very beginning of events that thrusting the name of Hezbollah and its fighters is recommended as well as spreading that Hezbollah is fighting along the regime. Here I reiterate: our political stance is clear. However, up till this very moment, we did not fight along the regime.

First, the regime did not recommend that from us.

Second, who says that there is interest in that? Who says up till this very moment this is our responsibility? He I might be precautious. I am clear, brave and courageous as well. Someone might ask: You are saying up till this very moment. Do you mean that is possible in the future? Well, my answer is that Allah Al Mighty alone knows the unknown. That's my answer because as far as this point is concerned, I like to be clear.

The last remark I want to say is that what they are saying is not true. What is the story of martyr Abu Abbass and a number of martyrs who were martyred in some of the villages in the neighborhood of the region of Al Hermel? What is the story? There is a story which I will narrate colloquially so that we understand each other and specify responsibilities. I am tackling this issue not to clarify but also to say that we do not deny but rather we are proud of what we do when it is specified that there is a responsibility that we must assume. I am talking rather so that the state assumes its responsibility which it is not assuming. Moreover, the political forces must also assume their responsibility because they are not assuming much of this responsibility. What I will talk about is not new. It is rather present in Lebanese journals. Go back to the archives of the various newspapers which advocate March 8 and March 14 Blocs. This was tackled in the media. However, the people in Lebanon are distracted from it as well as many of the political forces who are not in fact concerned about the Lebanese.

There are a number of villages within the Syrian borders near to the region of Al Hermel. These villages are Syrian, and the land is Syrian. However there resides in these villages and towns Lebanese residents. The number of these villages which are resided by Lebanese – All the residents of a village of these villages may be Lebanese or a considerable number of its residents are Lebanese - is 23 besides 12 ranches. There is a list in the names. They are resided by Lebanese from all sects: Shiites, Sunnites, Christians and Alawites. The number of Lebanese residents in these villages which lie within the Syrian territories on the Lebanese borders is about 30,000. Many Lebanese might not have ever heard of that.

These Lebanese are from Lebanese families. They reside in these areas and own properties, houses, farms and have business in that region. Their livelihood is there, and there business is with Reef Al Qasir and the city of Homos. This is well known. They coexist with the residents of the region. It is known that they are Lebanese and hold the Lebanese citizenship. They exist in that region for decades or perhaps centuries. Some brethrens said they have been there for more than 150 years – meaning before the demarcation of the borders. They have the family name of the Bekaei residents. Registers show that. The family names are similar as they are in fact the children of the very region. Sikes Picot divided the whole world including Lebanon and Syria and demarked this area as such. So some of the family became here and the other part of the very family became there, though they are the same family. They preserved their Lebanese citizenship and their relations with Lebanon. They vote in Lebanon. Their hearts are with Lebanon. Their minds are with Lebanon. However, they live on Syrian territories.

Some of the young men from these Lebanese families in these Syrian border villages also belong to Lebanese parties for tens of years. They do not only belong to Hezbollah but to more than one Lebanese party. They belong to these parties. Well, a great number of them are members in Hezbollah. So the cause is not that they are young men whom Hezbollah hurled to these villages. No, a great number of the young men and children of the Lebanese residents of these villages are with Hezbollah and are among the military groups in Hezbollah in the region of Bekaa. A number of them are entirely engaged in the Resistance and fought in the South and West Bekaa for over thirty years of the history of the Resistance –i.e. since 1982. Still they are residents of these villages within the Syrian territories.

First, when the events started in Syria, these Lebanese who are within the Syrian territories made many contacts. Nobody told them what to do. Even we did not tell them what to do – whether to stay or not, fight or not, stay apart or not. This is a decision they had to take as residents of these villages and towns. In fact, it was the choice of these Lebanese who reside in that region. You can carry whatever interrogations you wish. The choice at the beginning was similar to the Lebanese choice – staying apart from the battle between the regime and the armed groups.

Well, when the events first started, the regular Syrian Army and because of its spread out, remained back away from these villages and set cross points. Thus these people remained in their houses.

What happened later?

The armed groups committed aggressions against them, attacked them, pulled many of them out of their houses, set these houses into fire, kidnapped them, robbed them and even raped their women. All of this is documented. Still the Lebanese do not believe that. Let them go and carry interrogations if they are interested.

They went and interrogated about descendants of Lebanese origin in Brazil, Argentine, and Uruguay. That is good. We back that too.

There are Lebanese who have the Lebanese citizenship and Lebanese families who enter and depart Lebanon who had fought to defend Lebanon and some of them were martyred to defend Lebanon. They exist. Go and inquire after them.

Well, some of the families when they were subject to aggression and killing and kidnapping – I am not concerned in giving names and details. TV and media outlets are able to provide the details and names of those who were killed or kidnapped, whose houses were set on fire, who were displaced and who were threatened – took the decision to leave and they left. Some left to Bekaa, Beirut, and the South. However the overwhelming majority of the residents of these villages took the decision to remain in their lands, properties, and villages. They started to purchase arms and fetch weapons. You know the borders are open. So it's not only the border of Al Hermel which is open. The borders in Al Hermel, Irssal, Mid Bekaa, West Bekaa and the North are open, and the Syrians are fetching arms. Those who are with the regime are fetching arms from Lebanon, and those who are with the armed opposition and armed groups are fetching arms from Lebanon. Later we might talk about who is arming and which parties are arming.

Well, these people, these Lebanese, the residents of these villages took the decision to stay and to defend themselves. That has nothing to do with fighting with the regime against the armed groups. This has to do with an honorable human aim which is defending themselves, their souls, their children, their honor and their properties which are tens of years old in face of armed groups which are Syrian or from other countries too.

Well, the people are defending themselves and have nothing to do with the battle between the regime and the Opposition. These Lebanese in these villages are defending themselves. They are taking arms and buying arms. We used to send provisions as we do send to other people. They used to sell the provisions to buy arms pursuant to the saying: I will defend my soul now; I would fill my stomach later.

This is truly what took place. They have the right to have the appropriate support from us and from others. They must receive the appropriate aid. However, it is they who are fighting and no one is fighting on their behalf. So let no one suppose that there is a new front for Hezbollah or the Resistance. Come and assist us. We want to fight in this front. No.

Now if the people of these villages took the decision to leave them and move to Lebanon, what have we to do with them? Shall we prevent them or tell them to leave? Shall I send Hezbollah members to fight and guard your wealth, properties, territories, and fields from burglary, fire and demolition? This is not my responsibility. They are free. Yes, they are able to fight. I do not prevent them. I do not prevent those who belong to Hezbollah or those who belong to other Lebanese parties from among these families.

This is the scene. I will go back to it with other details. However what has been said in politics that we have opened a new front is not true. We did not open a new front. It is known where Hezbollah's front is.

Some people weaved imaginations. Some said Hezbollah is demanding these Lebanese villages and towns. They are demanding to restore them from Syria. Who from among Hezbollah officials made such a demand?

It is shameful to make fabrications, lies and accusations. At times they say we are with merging Lebanon and Syria to have the natural greater Syria. Others say we want to dissect territories from Syria to adjoin them to Lebanon. This is untrue. Some said Hezbollah wants to set new borders in that area. That is not true too. Some said Hezbollah is seeking a linking conflict so that if a political change took place is Syria in a definite direction, Hezbollah would have created a linking conflict over these villages. These are groundless imaginations, illusions, lies and fabrications. Here I am reiterating. These are Syrian territories, Syrian towns, and Syrian borders with Lebanon. We are not claiming anything else. These villages are resided by Lebanese and we are thankful to Syria because it accepted these Lebanese who remained over its territories and live normally….

However, the fate of these 30,000 Lebanese is at stake. First, they stayed apart from the struggle but they were attacked. What is their obligation? What is their jihadi duty? Now many are acquainted with the terms used by others. However, it is good to make a serious search.

Well, now put us aside. If these Lebanese sought answers and asked the Lebanese government – which we are a part of: We are thousands of Lebanese in these villages. What shall we do, O our state, government, Lebanese parties, political leaders, and political and religious authorities?

No one has an answer! Does anyone have an answer? If there is an answer in Lebanon, we are the first to be committed to it and we encourage the Lebanese who reside in that region to be committed to it, and I will make Hezbollah youths who are from that area the first to be committed to it. Find a serious answer to these Lebanese. How are they to act? Are they to leave there houses, wealth, fields, history and life? Are they to leave or to stay? Are they to defend themselves? Well, if they are to stay, what is the responsibility of the state? What is the responsibility of the religious and political authorities and the parties? What is the responsibility of their families if they took this decision? The Lebanese, the Lebanese government and the Lebanese state are to answer this question. Let no one say that I am asking them late why they didn't take this decision. These people took this decision. It's they who are fighting and defending their existence, entity, honor and wealth. Well, this is the story which has been exploited endlessly over the past couple of weeks.

As for dear brethren martyr Abu Abbass, all what has been said in the media is not true. They gave him titles and posts. Some said he is the leader of the infantryman in Syria. Some said he is leader of Hezbollah operations in Syria. There is nothing of this sort. Brethren Hajj Abu Abbass is known by all the people of Bekaa. A Holy Tradition says: Truth safeguards. The best thing is that man be truthful. Go and ask all the people of Bekaa whether those with Hezbollah or not. Abu Abbass is a military official in Bekaa. He is the Hezbollah's Infantryman Head in that region. He is responsible for all the groups of men and fighters there. The youths who are from these villages and who belong to this area are under his responsibility. It's his responsibility to help and care for them. That region and these Lebanese towns are daily being subject to artillery shelling. Mines are being laid to detonate them and kill the residents of this area. Martyrs are falling, and among these martyrs is martyr Abu Abbass.

This is the whole story.

I am around to finish and I want to wrap up. I will postpone the second point till later on. I will reiterate saying: Our political stance in Syria is clear. All the pressure which has been practiced against us did not change us. They did not change our convictions or ideas. This is our stance and this is our vision.

We see that the situation in Syria is dangerous on Syria, Palestine, the Palestinian cause, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and the entire region. What we call for day and night is dialogue, political solution and settlement, and sparing blood. This is our stance.

Now, if a billion or two billion peoples in the world praised or cursed us that will not change our stance. So far that is not true. The regime does not need us or anyone to fight by its side. In fact, it's not to the interest of the regime that a non-Syrian force steps the fighting square for several reasons. I do not want to go into details now. The regime has no interest in that and it did not demand that from us nor did we take this decision. Thus nothing of this sort exists up to this very moment.

Here I would like to say with much bravery and honesty. If the day comes when our responsibility requires that, we will not conceal it. We do not hide behind our finger. We do not hide anything at all. However this is not evoked. It does not exist actually. Yes, it exists on Arab satellites. Indeed anyone may get a number of papers, print them out and seal them and say these are documents. These are documents from the Syrian opposition. I may get documents of this kind from any place in the world. There are oppositions. There is opposition in Saudi Arabia. There is opposition in Bahrain. There is opposition in Turkey. I may get documents and say I was given this by the opposition from this or that country. These would have become documents!! The last point which I want to say is that as far as this issue is concerned, I advice some of the sides in the Syrian Opposition not to bully us. With Hezbollah, such intimidations and threats do not make any difference.

We are people with this experience. For thirty years – since 1982, Hezbollah is known in all its stages, trials, difficulties and confrontations. What works with Hezbollah and what does not work with it is known. Fabrication and misleading does not work as well as threats and intimidations. Thus I hope that this language won't be used anymore. Even carrying on in using the Lebanese detainees is useless. Whenever a Lebanese is detained in Syria or passes in Syria, they say he is an official in Hezbollah or a cadre in Hezbollah and is backing the regime. What are these baseless stories?

In Syria, there are tens of thousands of Lebanese. Perhaps there are hundreds of thousands of Lebanese. They have been living there for fifty years or a hundred years. They are from all sects. Whenever a Lebanese person is kidnapped they say he belongs to Hezbollah or is an official in Hezbollah.

Imagine that we reached a point in Lebanon where the kidnappers are thanked and highly esteemed, while the victim is the criminal! What is the sin of these innocent? Why do you still keep them? Set them free. If you are waiting for me to apologize, I do not believe that anyone accepts that I apologize. Let's keep my personal viewpoint aside. That won't do. In fact this is a conviction to you. If you are the owners of a cause, it is shameful to keep innocent people as detainees to force a particular person to take a definite political stance. This is morally, religiously, and politically shameful. This is evidence of weakness and not of strength. That's not how you extract my respect to you or an apology from me to you. On the contrary, you are forcing me to take decisions which I do not want. Thus keep us apart from the battle. Keep us away from the struggle.

Finally I will say: Let no one bully us. Let no one try us.

That's what I liked to say today as far as this issue is concerned. All what we hope for and all what we ask Allah Al Mighty day and night – as they say – is to lift this worry from this nation so that the crisis be over in a way that meets the expectations and hopes of the Syrian people and the peoples of the whole region and all those who care and all those who are faithful to this nation and to the interests of this nation.

That's enough for today. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

"Hezbollah Official Defects to Israel" - true or false?

Does anybody know if there is any truth to this story?


 The Saker

Saturday, October 6, 2012