(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Full televised speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on August 31, 2017, during the celebration marking the Second Liberation held in Baalbek.
I seek refuge in Allah from the cursed devil. In the Name of Allah, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be upon the Seal of Prophets, our Master and Prophet, Abi al-Qassem Mohammad, and upon his chaste and pure Household, his chosen companions, and upon all messengers and prophets.
Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.
First, I ask Allah Almighty to have mercy on the martyrs - the true makers of victory, and we offer them the reward of al-Fatiha.
First, I would like to apologize for not being able to be among you in the city of Baalbek for this great celebration on this great day, just as I had gone to Bint Jbeil on May 25, 2000. However, unfortunately, the circumstances are now different. In fact, the post-July War 2006 phase is not like pre-July War 2006, especially these days as the "Israelis" are angry and Netanyahu is angry for the scheme of America and "Israel" in the region is on the verge of collapse and defeat.
So the brothers did not accept and told me let's keep it a happy day. Thus I apologize to you, otherwise, I like most to be among you no matter what the price would be.
I welcome you all and thank you for your massive attendance. I congratulate you for this great victory, the victory of the Army-the People- (and) the Resistance, over all the terrorists who were occupying our precious Lebanese land, and to announce August 31, 2017, as the Second Liberation Day. I thank you for coming from all areas and provinces - especially our dear people in Bekaa - and for this great and big turnout.
This is always what is expected from you. This is how you were and this is how you will always be, the people of loyalty, zeal, and enthusiasm.
Allow me today to start with the religious part and then move on to the political part. Today is the 9th of Dhul Hijjah which is known among Muslims as the Day of Arafah. Today over 2 million (people) stand on the earth of Mount Arafah. They stand on one land, they wear the same dress, which is more like a white funeral cloth. You cannot differentiate the rich from the poor, the inferior from the superior, and the president from the subject. They are all glorifying Allah and lauding Him. They supplicate to Him in a scene which is more like the Day of Judgment, where people are raised again from the dead on one land, which is the land of the resurrection where they are tried, punished, and rewarded.
This solemn scene on the Day of Arafah expresses the power of this nation which does not know the (true) sources of its power, and which was prevented so far from investing the elements of its power to the service of its peoples and interests.
All that we ask Allah and pray to Allah for today is to awaken their consciences and enlighten their insights - the insights of the leaders, officials, scholars, elites, and peoples across our Arab and Islamic nation - and to emerge from this ordeal that struck our Arabic and Islamic world. It is the ordeal of Takfir, sectarianism, confessionalism, and civil war. It is a blind ordeal that makes adults turn old and turns the young white-bearded, and makes believers toil until they meet their Lord. We address the pilgrims to Mecca on the Day of Arafah from the city of Baalbek with a prayer for them that they all return to their homelands, families, and people safe and sound, successful and with accepted deeds.
Also in the religious section (of the speech), on the Day of Arafah we travel with our hearts to the Karbala of al-Husayn (peace be upon him). Like yesterday - the 8th of Dhul Hijjah, al-Husayn left Mecca along with his family, companions, and household to Karbala. Pilgrims head to Mount Arafah to offer their sacrifices on Adha Day - they offer sheep and camels as an act of worship to Allah, while al-Husayn (peace be upon him) on days similar to these left holy Mecca to offer himself, his baby, his children, his brothers, his nephews, his cousins, and his companions and to expose his womenfolk to captivity for this religion to remain intact and for this nation to wake up. We address the grandson of the Holy Prophet, Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Taleb (peace be upon them), who offered the greatest sacrifices for the sake of the religion of Allah and His slaves. He is the son of Fatima al-Zahra (peace be upon her) who performed prayers, paid alms, commanded mankind to do right, and admonished mankind against doing wrong, and sincerely served God. He remained throughout history and will remain until the Day of Judgment the inspiration of resistance fighters and revolutionaries in the world, whether Muslims or Christians or those deemed-weak throughout history. He is the leading model for those who offer sacrifices and show patience. We visit him from here by saying: peace be upon you O' Abu Abdullah al-Husayn! Peace be upon you, O' son of Allah's messenger! Peace be upon you and upon the souls that sacrifices themselves alongside you.
Peace of Allah be upon you from me forever so long as I exist and as long as there is day and night. May Allah make it not the last time I visit you. Peace be on Husayn, and upon Ali ibn Husayn, and upon the children of Husayn, and upon the companions of Husayn.
Brothers and sisters! Today is the 9th of Dhul Hijjah according to the Hijri (Islamic) calendar which coincides with August 31 on the Gregorian calendar. In 1978 on a day like today, the bygone Libyan regime perpetrated the crime of kidnapping His Eminence, the Imam and Leader Sayyed Mousa al-Sadr and his brothers (companions) Sheikh Hassan Yaqoub and Sayyed Abbas Badreddine, and took them away, and took him away from his dignified family, people, homeland, and nation.
He was a man in a nation and a nation in a man. He was a man with the magnitude of a nation, the expectations of a nation, and the dreams of a nation.
On this anniversary and on the occasion of the kidnapping of Imam al-Sadr, I cannot add anything to this cause - which is dear to us all - to what our senior brother, the head of the Amal Movement, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has said. Many thanks to his courageous, wise, national stances as usual. He always proves to be the man of challenges in tough times. He is the guarantee for everyone and the guarantee of national unity when the Lebanese disagree. I won't add anything except saying to His Eminence, the kidnapped Imam: from here, nearby the square where he made the oath when he raised his noble hand and called while tens of thousands reiterated, I tell him: O' our master, Imam, leader, and teacher! Your sons and daughters in the Amal Movement and Hezbollah continued on your path and are still moving along. They safeguarded your path and will guard it through resistance, liberation, development, serving humans, safeguarding Lebanon, its unity, independence, sovereignty, security, common and united existence between Muslims and Christians and civil peace, and defending the deemed-weak and oppressed, its excellent relations with Syria and in defending al-Quds and Palestine. On this path, your children and people offered thousands of martyrs and they never altered and will never alter. They are all hopeful that you return to them to be as you were - the Imam, the leader and the inspirer, the teacher, and the guide for them to the path of righteousness and victories. O' our master! O' your eminence Imam Sayyed Mousa al-Sadr! This Second Liberation which is being celebrated in Baalbek is also some of your seeds which has yielded fruit as was the July War 2006 and the liberation of May 25, 2000.
Brothers and sisters!
Today, we celebrate a new national holiday, a new victory, and a new liberation. First, let us agree on a new term because in the past I used the "Second Victory".
So let's agree on the term the "Second Liberation" because the number of victories is large. There is a first, second, third, and fourth victory. We will fail to continue counting. The first victory was in 1985 when the "Israeli" occupation army retreated from Mount Lebanon and the capital Beirut and parts of western Bekaa, Rashayya, Saida, Tyr, and Nabatieh to the border line. It was a great victory for Lebanon. The same applies to 1993 when many were martyred in Qana. This is also true for 1996 when many were martyred in many of the towns from Qana to Upper Nabatieh to Suhmur to the other towns. Then we reached the victory of 2000, the victory of 2006, and this victory. Thus today we want to improve this expression and say, let's agree on the following, I do not know the number of this victory because I did not count some - perhaps I forgot one. Thus I do not want to give it a number. So let's agree on the Second Liberation. What does this liberation mean? How did we reach here? What are its repercussions and profits? There are many questions which can be mentioned in this speech and celebration.
However, I will answer these questions as briefly as possible. I will talk for the sake of historical accuracy. What we will say today will remain for accuracy's sake. I may forget it, and even if I talked about it, it may not be of the same importance and value. Indeed, I will not go into contests with anyone, so be assured from now. But for the sake of historical accuracy, there are things which must be said.
First: terrorism was controlling our western and northern borders. On the northern borders, things were over. The Lebanese Army was controlling our borders very well.
The army prevented the northern borders and the towns and villages in the north from being a foothold for any armed group. The crisis started on the eastern borders, between Lebanon and Syria. Armed, terrorist, Takfiri groups controlled both sides of the borders. They spread their control over thousands of kilometers. At last, I will say the exact figure. They posed a real threat to Syria and Lebanon. But since most of Syria was on fire, the threat was clearer for Lebanon. This terrorism announced its intentions towards Lebanon. They announced that they want to burst in, occupy, and form an emirate at least from Bekaa to Baalbek-Hermel, towards the north and reaching the Mediterranean Sea. This was the main land of this emirate.
All of this is documented, and we did not invent anything. We are talking today for the sake of historical accuracy. They practiced their terrorism and perpetrated all what they talked about: shelling villages and towns, booby-trapped cars, suicide bombers, and explosive belts. This did not stop until the latest liberation operation.
Since the beginning of this dangerous event, the Lebanese disagreed as usual. This is our habit as Lebanese, we disagree even on fighting the most apparent enemy on which the Arab League and the Arab regimes agree unanimously, even if only outwardly - as an enemy to Lebanon, the Arabs, and the Arab nation. What we disagreed on was "Israel" and fighting "Israel". Thus they also disagreed on fighting these groups. So the Lebanese are before three choices:
1. They could be neutral. They would act as if they are not concerned. They do not want to interfere. They do not have a clear image of anything.
2. They may be positive. I will not talk about coordination but rather about acting positively - offering them facilities, avoid approaching them, and offering them capacities, freshly baked food, and whatever they want.
3. The third option is confrontation. Several considerable political forces in Lebanon backed with a great popular viewpoint backed the option of confrontation. We - Hezbollah - headed to field of confrontation.
First, we started fighting along with the Syrian Arab Army. That's because when we talk about borders and threats, we won't be talking about a Lebanese land and a Syrian land. There is one land on both sides which was controlled. This poses a threat to both sides.
We fought along with the Syrian Arab Army, and we started in al-Quseir. The battle lasted for years. Let's keep the battle inside Syria aside. If we were to talk about the battle in the outskirts, the line of confrontation was from al-Quseir to the Masnaa, until reaching Jdidat Yabous. This area was controlled one way or another by the armed groups. We fought there, then we fought inside the Lebanese territories in the Eastern Mountain Range and on mountains and in the outskirts. The Syrian Arab Army and we offered a large number of martyrs and (those who became) wounded.
We used to move from one victory to another and regain territories and besiege armed groups until we reached the last stage in July this year, 2017. Indeed, during the past years, the Lebanese Army got engaged in a well-known battle in the surrounding of Arsal. Everyone knows its circumstances. I do not want to discuss this issue. Also the army got engaged in confrontations in Ras Baalbek and the Qaa Outskirts and offered martyrs in that battle. During all the previous stages and due to political division and contradicting political choices, the Lebanese state could not take a final decision for military confrontation. Also this had its circumstances and everyone has his view on it. However, to be fair, the state got engaged in a clear security confrontation inside Lebanon with the armed groups and with terrorist cells and networks. In this security confrontation, the Lebanese Army, the Internal Security Forces, the General Security, and the state security forces achieved very important and great results.
In the summer of 2017, the time came for putting an end to the occupation of the remaining borderlines and outskirts, especially since the threat renewed, whether through the preparing of booby-trapped cars and suicide bombers with explosive belts or through preparing for attacks. We had information to this effect but some people were saying that we were practicing intimidation. The information implied that Daesh was preparing for attacking and occupying two Lebanese towns in Bekaa-Hermel, killing as many as they can from among their residents and taking the rest of its residents as hostages to negotiate on them in a swap operation with prisoners from the Roumieh Prison and other Lebanese prisons, to terrorize the Lebanese, and to impose certain conditions on the Lebanese state.
This was what was being said - however, yesterday the brothers and today the (Hezbollah) military media broadcasted footage which they found while they we searching. It seems that Daesh forgot or did not have enough time to take with them these things. What the CD shows is clear, and I hope you watch that on TV. A Daesh leader was preparing and clearly talking about preparing for the shelling and striking of two towns and then controlling them. He chose them and called them the two "crusader" towns - Ras Baalbek and al-Qaa. Now we will not broadcast the rest of the tape because it includes nonsense.
So it is clear that terrorism was forcefully reactivated in the outskirts with the beginning of this spring, and summer was the time for this dangerous event.
We decided to start with liberating the Arsal Outskirts and Flitah. We coordinated with the Syrian Army, and everyone was informed of that. We even informed the officials in the state. Were the state ready to undergo this mission - meaning liberating the Arsal Outskirts - in July, we would have had no problem with that at all. We would have rather offered all that is required for that battle.
Here all that I am saying is for historic accuracy. I know that the Lebanese Army Command was ready to move into this battle. However, there are remarks in the political decision-making (circles) which caused a kind of hesitation, thus the decision was not taken, and consequently, we went to the Arsal Outskirts, and on the other side, the Syrian Army and we fought in the Flitah Outskirts. The hesitation was not for weakness in the capacities of the Lebanese Army. It was for political reasons, it was also said that it was human reasons or the like. We went to that operation and the mission was achieved within a few days. We liberated the land which was occupied by the Nusra Front in the Arsal Outskirts. Likewise in the Flitah Outskirts, along with the Syrian Army, we restored our dear prisoners and the remains of the dear martyrs. You all experienced this decisive victory. As usual, instead of celebrating victory, the Lebanese got engaged in a contest - whether it is a victory or not or whether a play or a truth. We offered 26 or 27 martyrs. How can that be a play?
Anyway, we overlooked that and started preparing for the last stage. Here too we informed everyone that we want to end this threat this summer because frankly, we do not want to reach winter and snow with the Army and the resistance men still garrisoned in the outskirts and at the borderline. Some people would be cozily cuddling near the fireplace or on the coastal line, and they do not care what is taking place there, while the Lebanese Army and resistance men would be garrisoned on the mountains. The same is true for the other side. The Syrian Army is garrisoned on mountains. At the same time there is a threat. So let's get through with that.
All of this was subject to direct discussions. We were told to wait for a while, the Lebanese state wants to take a decision that the Lebanese Army undertakes this mission and liberates the rest of the Lebanese outskirts - what remained of the Arsal Outskirts and the outskirts of Fakiha, Ras Baalbek, and al-Qaa, reaching up to the borders. We said that this is very pleasing. You are welcome, and we are at your service. If anything is required from us from the Lebanese Army we are ready, and if nothing is required from us, we will be on the other side fighting along with the Syrian Arab Army.
I used this expression, and some officials quoted me as saying this. Let's save the best till last, and let the liberation of the rest of the Lebanese land be carried out by the Lebanese Army. This liberation began years ago. Now we are at the last stage, so let the sweet ending be carried out by the hands of the Lebanese Army, and praise be to Allah, thus it was, and the ‘Fajr al-Joroud' and ‘If you return, we shall return' operations started on that blessed Saturday at dawn, and they ended practically by achieving all their goals on Monday August 22, 2017. All of the Lebanese territories were liberated, and the Lebanese borders became secured. The Daesh emirate and the scheme of the Daesh emirate collapsed. So the terrorist groups were punished and expelled. Likewise on the Syrian side, all of the Syrian territories were regained and the achievement was made. Here I will give some figures quickly. I reiterate and say that it is impossible to separate the battle of the outskirts and the borders from the overall battle taking place in Syria and Iraq.
However, when we talk about the Second Liberation, I will be narrowing the zoom down and limiting it to the battle on the border with both its sides. The total area which was controlled by the armed groups since the beginning of the battle inside the Syrian territories and the Lebanese territories is 3684 km2 - three times and a half more than the ‘border strip' (occupation zone formerly set up by Israel in southern Lebanon): 2920 km2 inside the Syrian territories and 764 km2 inside the Lebanese territories - some people may be surprised by the figure. This area is comprised of mountains, outskirts, and hills overviewing the villages of Bekaa. Prior to Saturday August 19 - i.e. before the recent operations of ‘Fajr al-Joroud' and ‘If you return, we shall return', 624 km2 of Lebanese territory were liberated, and in ‘Fajr al-Joroud' and ‘If you return, we shall return' the liberation was completed with the liberation of 140 Km2 from the occupied Lebanese territories. After this brief report, I want to tackle several points as per this historic event:
The first point: the Lebanese state's decision to undertake the operation of ‘Fajr al-Joroud' is a substantially important development with great significance. It is a form of practicing a sovereign political decision. Here I am not being courteous. I just want to depict everything with accuracy and precision God willing. We do not want to discredit anyone, and frankly I am not being courteous. The resolution of practicing a sovereign political decision is one of the achievements of the new tenure represented by his excellency President General Michel Aoun of whom I used to say - and we in Hezbollah used to believe and still believe - that he is a courageous, strong, and independent leader. He does not follow or is subordinate to any state, embassy, pressures, temptations, or intimidations. I am saying this for the sake of historical accuracy. This is not a secret anymore. Some will be annoyed by what I am saying. However, this political class in Lebanon knows what I will say, and also some media outlets talked about that.
When the victory was achieved in the Arsal Outskirts in July, the American officials relayed to the Lebanese a message of annoyance and anger: ‘you must not have allowed Hezbollah to undertake this operation'. When the Lebanese state decided that the courageous Lebanese Army liberate the Lebanese territories which were still occupied, (that is), the Arsal Outskirts, Ras Baalbek, Qaa, and Fakiha, the Americans again demanded from the Lebanese officials not to undertake this military operation, and they practiced pressure on them and threatened to cut aids to the Lebanese Army should the Lebanese Army undertake this operation.
Whoever thinks that I am not telling the truth, let him say so. These are not secrets anymore. The Lebanese people have the right to know these facts so that they know the enemy from the friend, and the loyal and good from those who want to exploit, invest, and manipulate our blood and fates. So O' people of Bekaa, Baalbek-Hermel, and especially you the people of Baalbek, Fakiha, Al Ain, al-Qaa, and Hermel who are situated nearest to Daesh! America did not want to expel Daesh from our outskirts, mountains, and hills. When the Americans found out that there is a kind of insistence on executing the operation, they demanded at least postponing it until next year so that Daesh remain over your heads and so that your sons remain in the snow for one more year, and you know that Daesh was preparing to occupy Ras Baalbek and al-Qaa. You never know what would have happened in Bekaa and the entire country. These are the Americans.
Pressure was practiced and that led to a kind of confusion somewhere, and this is normal. America practiced pressure to demand from Lebanon not to get engaged in this battle, and it threatened to cut aids to the Lebanese Army. Here we reach the point which I mentioned a while ago. The special point is that we have a president such as General Michel Aoun. This is the characteristic that guards the solemnity of the state as it took the decision, and all the Lebanese were informed of it. You know that should the state have retreated from taking the decision of the operation in the Outskirts, there wouldn't have been a state nor an army. The state would have lost its solemnity, and it would have failed to restore confidence in the state and the government and institutions. Everything would have been over. Where would sovereignty, independence, freedom, and independent decision-making - which we talk about - have been if the Americans had annulled a decision taken by the state?
There is a national interest and a security interest for our people, especially the residents of the villages in Bekaa on the border.
President Aoun convened with the Supreme Defense Council in the presence of the Premier and the concerned ministers and the military and security leaders, and took the final Lebanese decision. Here in order to be fair, I am saying that he took a sovereign decision and that the Premier agreed on taking this decision. As for the House Speaker, his stance is known before and after.
So we are before a new experience in Lebanon in which a true sovereign political decision was taken. This is a very promising beginning.
From here, we begin with restoring the sovereignty of the state and the sovereignty of decision-making. It is restored with the courageous brave decision which coincides with the major and integrated national interest.
This coincides with the interests of Hezbollah. What is the interests of Hezbollah? You perplexed us. The interest of Hezbollah is that the terrorists remain in the mountains. On the following day, you say that the interest of Hezbollah is that they are expelled from the mountains. Settle on a decision.
This may explain the anger of the Americans from the results of both of the battles ‘Fajr al-Joroud' and ‘If you return, we shall return'.
So based on this point, as his excellency President Michal Aoun said in the celebration of the Directorate-General of the Public Security, we are waiting for another sovereign decision because there is another occupied (piece of) land which is still under "Israeli" occupation, which his excellency the President talked about - the Shebaa Farms and Kafar Shouba Hills.
Today on the Second Liberation Day and to complete the First Liberation, we call on the Lebanese state to draw up a plan to liberate Shebaa Farms and Kafar Shouba Hills based on a sovereign decision. I do not ask them to declare war or get engaged in a war with "Israel". I seriously call on them to find a place to sit and set a comprehensive political, media, psychological, educational, diplomatic, security, and military plan.
So let the Lebanese state say that we still have a part of our land which is occupied in Shebaa Farms and Kafar Shouba Hills. These are the plans to liberate the land and to restore it to the Lebanese sovereignty. We in Hezbollah link many expectations to make this achievement to the tenure of his excellency President General Michel Aoun.
The second point is that the Lebanese Army and its leadership have done a great job that should be acknowledged and for which they should be appreciated. The political trust in the abilities of the Lebanese Army to accomplish difficult and dangerous missions in a professional, accurate, and safe way should be enhanced.
The political decision-makers should reinforce this confidence, so that when they want to make a decision, they wouldn't have fears over civilians, losses, or costs.
The Lebanese Army and its leadership along with the civil leaders proved to be worthy of this trust. Supporting the Lebanese Army to be more powerful has been our demand for a long time. It strengthens Lebanon's power and its ability to face all dangers. Reinforcing the Army wouldn't lead to retirement the golden equation, it would actually make it more glowing, bright, shiny, and sparkling. No matter how powerful the Army becomes and no matter how powerful the Resistance becomes, we - the Lebanese people - will always need in Lebanon more power when we talk about protecting Lebanon from "Israeli" threats and desires. As his excellency Mr. Nabih Berri said yesterday, these people came back to lay hands on the water, petrol, gas, and frontiers. Those who think we need a weak Army are mistaken.
The Lebanese Army should stay out of the political conflicts and always be a place of national consensus for the safety of Lebanon. Those who use the Lebanese Army as a barricade to aim at the Resistance or those who use the Resistance to aim at the Lebanese Army, and I don't think there's anyone who does this, would be offending the Army. Let's spare the Army. Go and search for barricades other than the Army.
The third point: to be fair, we are supposed to highly appreciate the sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army from the beginning until the end as per the results of this battle.
It offered a large number of martyrs and wounded on this land that we're celebrating the liberation of today, especially in the last two battles to be honest.
They fought for us and for Lebanon upon our request. Honestly, liberating Flitah, Jarajir, and the Qara Outskirts wasn't currently the Syrian leadership's priority. They had battles to fight throughout the Syrian nation, and had fighting priorities in other places. We asked the Syrian leadership for their help and told them we had to settle the status in these outskirts and frontiers because of the threats, danger, attrition (that it causes), and they agreed despite their other priorities. It didn't matter to the Syrian leadership whether the al-Nusra Front went to Idlib or was killed in the Arsal Outskirts. About the current debate, it didn't matter to the Syrian leadership whether all Daesh militants were killed in western Qalamoun or were moved to another place. This transition would've put the Syrian leadership in a critical situation because it's the first time something like this happens with Daesh in Syria.
Alright, we've asked for their help and told them we had a national human case on which there is a consensus in Lebanon and that we hope they would help us in offering this service. We couldn't reveal the fate of the captured Lebanese soldiers except through such a settlement. We've tried. What do you want more than that? I went straight to President Bashar al-Assad, I went to Damascus and told him exactly the following: "Your excellency, the General Security had sources and we brought them, they searched and didn't find the soldiers. The Army Intelligence had sources, they searched yet didn't find them either. Hezbollah had sources, we looked and didn't find them. There were militants who gave themselves up, we brought them and searched and didn't find them. If the battle ends and the fate of the Lebanese soldiers is not revealed, a big humanitarian and political problem would occur in the country so we ask for this favor". He said that this would put him in a difficult situation but that there would be no problem. So I asked him how we should negotiate and he said that if the Lebanese government wanted to negotiate it has to make an official request. That is what I talked about and which had a big impact in the country. He said that if Hezbollah wanted to negotiate then there would no problem. So we went and negotiated, and the Syrian leadership endured this difficult situation.
Today I would like to tell you that the Syrian leadership endure this difficulty for the sake of Lebanon and not for that of Syria.
Anyway, today on our Second Liberation Day we would like to thank the Syrian leadership, represented by the leader Bashar al-Assad, and all our Syrian brothers, especially the Syrian Arab Army with its different forces for their real and important contribution to accomplishing this liberation.
In this context, since we're talking about the Syrian file, I want to tackle coordination with Syria. Some people think that when we talk about coordination and call for it then we would be commanding the Lebanese government. That's not true, we're just giving our opinion. There are people who call for not coordinating in a severe, humiliating, and offensive way. We say that this is our opinion, that this is Lebanon's interest on the economic, security and political levels. We're not practicing any pressure on anyone and don't want to bring the government down so that we could force it to coordinate with the Syrian government. We would never do this. We want this government to continue, and that is the available choice that would serve in the Lebanese people's interests in the meantime.
But today, I'd like to add something. We say let us see things peacefully and in a rational and objective manner, and with our Lebanese dignity - let's rebuild this relation in a better way. Why? Let's do it so that we don't find later that we were going after others. The French people opened up to Syria, so did the English, the German, and the European people. President Bashar al-Assad is the one who puts conditions and not them. The American people's priority is getting rid of Daesh, and they don't have any other concerns. The Syrian opposition was aware of the new environment and some of the Gulf states secretly started opening up to the current Syrian leadership. Listen to me so that we, the Lebanese people, don't look like followers. So let's sit quietly - I'm not practicing any pressure on you. I'm speaking with much calm. Let us sit quietly and think of what our interest is as Lebanese people, apart from the conflicts in the region. You say that there are relations with Saudi Arabia but we took a stand against Saudi Arabia. Well go and make relations with Saudi Arabia. We are telling you to go and make relations with Syria but you took a stand from Syria. You say that the national interest requires this kind of relation with the Gulf - we say that the national interest requires this kind of relation with Syria. We talk quietly and deliberately. We also say that we ought to benefit from the time and take a sovereign decision away from the American, Gulf and European embassies, because each of them takes care of itself and leaves us behind.
The fourth point: on the Second Liberation Day just like on the First Liberation Day and on the July Victory, I must warmly thank the Islamic Republic of Iran, its leadership, government, people, (parliament) assembly, armed forces, revolutionary guards, and every person of this dear and generous Iranian people for its constant support of the Resistance, (support for) Syria, and for Iraq which is now achieving remarkable victories. By the way, we congratulate them on the complete liberation of the Tal Afar district and consequently, the liberation of the entire Nineveh Governorate. Nineveh - which stands for the Mosul Governorate - was previously called Mosul and became Nineveh. It suffered from the most horrible atrocities committed by Daesh in the name of Islam, such as mass murder, massacres, the capture of women, the destruction of mosques, churches, and holy shrines of prophets, killing and slaughter. I would like to thank the Islamic Republic of Iran for supporting Syria and for its constant readiness to support the Lebanese Army without any conditions, threats, or intervention in sovereign Lebanese decision-making. Everyone knows that Iran endured the consequences of this stance, in which it faced the American-"Israeli"-Takfiri scheme represented and embodied by Daesh, the Nusra Front, and these Takfiri groups.
The fifth point is that "Israel" was annoyed by the Second Liberation and the accomplishments in these outskirts. Now we don't want to talk about coordination or lack of coordination. At the end, whether there was coordination or not, there was (certainly a type of) complementary (relationship), even if in the results. "Israel" was annoyed by this integration on both fighting fronts and by what it had seen from the performance of the Lebanese Army and the Resistance in the outskirts.
"Israel" today is crying over its orphans and admits the failure of its scheme, tools, and its friends in Syria, and is looking for a way to protect its interests, to establish its position, and to push away dangers as it claims. Well what is "Israel" to do? It resorts to the American administration, practices more pressure on Iran that is supporting Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the oppressed people in Yemen, and heads to Russia so that the Russian leadership interferes in order to achieve the "Israeli" enemy's interests and conditions in Lebanon and Syria. Thirdly, it threatens with aggression and war, by saying that if we don't do this it would do that. Of course, "Israel's" priority is to take advantage of others for its own benefits. Its priority is not going to war at this stage. If it could benefit from American pressure then it would do so, and it happens that the US ambassador to the UN Security Council is more loyal to "Israel" than the "Israelis" are, as in this new woman. God is testing us with these women in the United Nations Security Council. So there is more and more pressure practiced in the UN Security Council, the most recent of which being the American and British attempt to serve "Israel" by amending international resolution 1701 to modify the missions of the UNIFIL forces to become at the service of "Israel's" security, which contradicts in essence and principle with the mission of the UN forces and the mission of the United Nations. But Praise be to Allah Almighty they failed.
Here too we are before a new political experience. The Lebanese government and especially the Lebanese Foreign Ministry thankfully exerted efforts and contacted states and permanent members of the UN Security Council and the other members and expressed Lebanon's stance which refuses this amendment. I further add to this, that the Iranian Foreign Ministry also exerted great efforts in this regard, and thus the US-British-"Israeli" attempt failed to modify the mission of UNIFIL in the framework of Resolution 1701. However, this will continue, and we will tackle that in a while.
Anyway, we must note that the Security Council does not tackle the daily "Israeli" violations of Lebanese airspace and waters and the aggressions against our water, resources, oil, and gas. All of this is not discussed in the UN. They do not discuss the shepherds, the workers, and the farmers who are kidnapped every now and then across recent years. If a cow came from "Israel" to Lebanon they would discuss its story in the Security Council. However, if "Israel" kidnaps a Lebanese person, they remain silent for two or three days. That's because according to the Americans, an "Israeli" cow is of more importance than a Lebanese man. This is the truth.
Anyway, today on the Second Liberation Day, we resort to this achievement to reinforce the First Liberation, and we resort to the victories of July and August 2017 to reinforce the results of the victories of July and August 2006. The sound investment of these liberations comes in two domains. First on the national and Lebanese level, it led to the piling up of experience, expertise, capacities, and power of the Army, the resistance, the Lebanese state, and the Lebanese people to deter the "Israeli" enemy and to prevent its aggression on Lebanon, the sovereignty of Lebanon, and its security, waters, oil, and resources.
Second, the media, political, security, and moral investment is manifested in presenting Lebanon to the world as the state which terminated the presence of Daesh on its land. Indeed Lebanon was first to make this achievement because the challenge too isn't comparable, as the presence of Daesh in Lebanon is incomparable to the presence of Daesh in Syria and Iraq so that we would say that Lebanon produced a miracle which was not made in Syria or Iraq. I mean that the nature of the fronts in kind and in number differ. However, the results say that Lebanon ended the military, terrorist, Takfiri presence on its territories. It was ended on August 28, 2017. No mountain, hill, village, building, farm, tree, or anything is controlled by a terrorist or a Takfiri occupier. This achievement must be presented to the world. True, we will not make a legend out of it, but still, we will not play it down. This promotes the status of Lebanon and the confidence in the security of Lebanon, the stability of Lebanon, and the confidence in the Lebanese state and the Lebanese government. This is manifested in investments, tourism, development, relations, and mutual respect. Why should we lose it through contests?
The sixth point: on the national level, we support the calls which were made yesterday by the three heads of the state to stop the contests and calm the atmosphere in the country. We do not have a problem in that. In fact, we did not start the contest. In fact, we were attacked. Anyway, we support the calls which were issued yesterday by the three heads of state to stop the contests and calm the atmosphere in the country. We call for addressing the situation. This is first.
Second, we call for addressing the repercussions of the events and battles that took place and led to this victory. There are consequences and repercussions. Soon we will talk about some details.
Third: the borders are undisputedly the responsibility of the Lebanese Army. Let no one argue over this point. Let no one broaden his shoulders. All of these outskirts and borders are the responsibility of the Lebanese Army, and we never claimed that it was our responsibility. We are ready - we were ready, and we are still ready.
Indeed, we evacuated several posts because even the Army may not need to be present there, though it is something natural and legitimate that the Lebanese Army be deployed wherever it wants.
Consequently, today, O' our people in Bekaa! The eastern border with Syria is entrusted to your national army. As we said about the first part of the Eastern Mountain Range, on the other side the presence of the Syrian Arab Army forms a guarantee. If we were required to be present on that front one way or another we will not hesitate.
Fourth: as for the northern borders or the northern Lebanese border with Syria, if there are certain problems or ambiguities which must be addressed, this is the responsibility of the state. I watched on some media outlets that there are places, orchids, and vast areas which the residents of towns are not allowed to go to. This may be addressed. If it requires a Lebanese internal measure, let the government assume the responsibility. If it requires cooperation with the brothers in Syria, this may be organized too.
We must make haste to normalize the internal situation, especially in the Bekaa. I call on our people in Bekaa, especially our people in Baalbek-Hermel, the respected scholars, the deputies, the ministers, the political leaderships, the parties, the social dignitaries, and notables: as we said once in the past, we must again try to heal wounds. After all, these events caused wounds. At one stage, the people of Arsal were intimidated, they were told that Hezbollah wants to occupy Arsal, destroy Arsal, and displace the residents of Arsal. Excuse me but they also said that the Shia in Baalbek-Hermel want to cause a demographic change in the interests of the Shia. This is nonsense.
Today, it is required that our dear people in Bekaa set a plan for normalizing ties - if it is right to use this term - to heal wounds, calm down souls, and address the pending issues, especially with our dear people in Arsal and the rest of the towns in the region.
The Lebanese Judiciary must make haste to try those imprisoned in Lebanese jails, because there is a large section of Lebanese people - especially our brethren from the Sunni Islamic sect - in prisons, and this issue is being exploited from time to time. The Lebanese Judiciary must be more active. Some of the imprisoned are not being tried. The innocent must be set free, and he who completed his sentence must be set free. The guilty must be tried, and those sentenced for life must be executed, no matter what their religion is: Sunni, Shia, Muslim, Christian...Do not act on sectarian bases. Be fair and just to the victim of injustice and try those being negligent. Don't act on sectarian bases. This issue must also be addressed.
On the national level, we must be very cautious in all regions from now on. They are defeated, broken, and disjointed. Their program was defeated. They withdrew with humiliation. They have to take revenge. Their policy is that of savagery. Their culture is that of brutality. Thus despite all the skillful security performances of the Lebanese security and military apparatuses, all the bodies must remain on high alert. All the Lebanese people must aid the Lebanese Army and the security institutions because this is a comprehensive national responsibility. This too must be taken into consideration. Let no one think that a security threat means an explosion here or a bomb there, or a suicide bomber there. This is over - I told you that it has considerably diminished. Indeed it diminished because (the threat's) base in the outskirts was dismantled. However, it remains the case that someone may come from a place inside or from abroad. That remains possible.
As for Bekaa, on the Second Liberation Day, and as per politics, we must end the story that Lebanon has a center and peripheries. The North, Bekaa, and the South are the peripheries, and Mount Lebanon and the capital are the center of the nation. Now also the Mountain has become a periphery one way or another. We must end this policy. We must end dealing with one Lebanese city as more important than another Lebanese city. We must end with considering one Lebanese town as more important than another town, and one Lebanese region as more important than another Lebanese region. We must end considering one mountain as more important than another and one outskirt as more important than another. We heard of this innovation several days ago, and we must end this. Every span of land in our homeland, whether in the South, Bekaa, the North, Mount Lebanon, the capital, or any Lebanese governorate has the same sovereign and moral value and dignity, no matter who the occupier or usurper. This is what it means to act according to this basis. Thus the state must not act on the bases of a center and peripheries. This is our demand. One of the main conditions of a sovereign, fair state is to execute the clause that the Lebanese are all equal in rights and obligations. They are equal. We are calling for equality, nothing more.
In this domain, we call for balanced development. We are not saying develop these areas and leave those areas. No, we are with equal development. The Bekaa needs expenditure from the state. The Bekaa requires that the Lebanese state views it as a dear part of Lebanon and that the Lebanese state sees it as (within) the center of Lebanon, in the conscience of Lebanon, and under Lebanese sovereignty.
Moreover, the partner of Bekaa in negligence and deprivation is the North and Akkar governorate in particular. Thus we call on you to be fair, and we call on you to hold your responsibility, and we call on you for balanced development.
Moreover, the security and military presence of the Lebanese state must continue in Bekaa. It may be amended in number. There is no problem in that as there is no threat in the outskirts for example, but still, the security and social security are the responsibility of the state. It is not allowed that some robbers, highwaymen, corruptors, gangs, or drug dealers distort the bright, historic image of this region which was manifested in Bekaa during this stage and peaked today in presenting it as a national day for all of Lebanon. They are not allowed to threaten its social security or threaten any of its social classes which live in this area, whether they are Muslims or Christians. This is the responsibility of the state, and the state must not neglect its responsibility. During the recent stage, I bear witness and everyone bears witness that the state exerted industrious efforts in this regard. The Army and the security apparatuses staged security arrests, detentions, prosecutions.... still this must continue, and it must not be neglected.
Moreover, our people in Bekaa are responsible with dealing positively with the presence of the Army and the security apparatuses there. As I told you before, a mistake may happen here or there as no one is infallible. However, in principle, the dealing must be positive because we have no other alternative, whether in Bekaa or in any other region. If we want internal security, social security, and economic security, and if we want people to be secure in their homes, there is no alternative to the state.
The resistance here is not an alternative. Let no one make us assume or bear that which we can't tolerate. We can't go and arrest so and so because he killed or because he stole or because he attacked. This is the responsibility of the state. It is not our responsibility. Let no one demand us to assume this responsibility. Let no one demand us to assume this responsibility. In case you and we are responsible of anything, it is calling on the state and practicing pressure on the state to assume its security responsibility.
So we are calling for positive coordination in addition to the security presence of the state. Developmental presence is also demanded from the state. To be fair, we must say that the effort which was exerted in the past few years on behalf of the ministries, the deputies, the municipalities, and the mayors led to major improvements in the Bekaa and Baalbek-Hermel. However, this is still below the expectations, needs, and hopes. The state must put its security presence and its developmental levels on the same level. If there was no integration, the region will meet failure.
How we reached the seventh point. We passed one hour but I still have two points which I will tackle in a couple of minutes. We fought for five years, so we have the right to talk for over an hour. Brothers and sisters! We must know that the other scheme in the region is falling and collapsing, and that the American and "Israeli" dreams which were founded on Daesh and its likes are falling, and that the resistance axis with the help of Russia is the side that defeated this project. Here we must be frank and honest. As in every victory, we also pay prices. If you lose, you will lose everything. When you win, you also have a price to pay.
It goes without saying that victorious Lebanon may be subject to pressure, and the resistance for sure is being subjected to and will be subjected to pressure. Today much effort is being exerted to depict Hezbollah as being a dangerous, destructive phenomenon and you Lebanese have to find a way to address this problem.
Tomorrow they will invent a problem for you. We are through with Daesh and Nusra. If someone wants to be selfish/vile he would say to save ourselves we must keep Daesh and Nusra. Why are you in a hurry? That's how he would act if he is to think in a selfish/vile way. If he is to think of the national interest, the security of his people, and their happiness and peace of mind, he would think in another way.
Now to serve "Israel", the Americans are addressing the Lebanese government: O' Lebanese State! O' Lebanese government! O' Lebanese people! You have a problem. It is Hezbollah. See how you are to address this problem.
Hezbollah is growing in power and it is piling up experience. We do not know what it will do and what it wants to do. This poses a problem and we have to address it. In the interests of whom do we have to solve it? We have to address it in the interests of "Israel" and not in the interests of Lebanon. Hezbollah does not pose a threat on Lebanon or on the Lebanese people or the Lebanese state. Yes, it poses a threat on the "Israeli" occupation, the "Israeli" desires, the US hegemony, and the Takfiri scheme.
Thus we will be subjected to pressure. They will present us as a danger at a time that America is the danger. The administration of Trump is the danger. Who is putting the world now on the verge of a nuclear world war with North Korea? Today, the world is stuck between two sides - regardless of how you describe these two sides: Trump and Kim Jong-il. The fate of the world today is in the hands of these two. What will they do? How will they behave? Where will they take the world? Only Allah knows. This is the real danger.
Today, the Trump administration took its ties with Russia to the worst level, ties with China to the worst level and to the verge of war, due to problems over the sea of southern China. War is about to be declared on Venezuela. War was waged again on Afghanistan. It is threatening to cancel the nuclear accord with Iran. It sponsors Arab disputes. Does anyone believe that America cannot solve this Gulf crisis between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar? By God, it can address it in an hour, in half an hour, and with a wink from Trump or from whoever Trump appoints.
No, the Americans want these struggles, wars, and this danger to prevail. This administration and this mentality wishes to restore hegemony, rob (the region's) oil, money, and gas, and protect the worried and frightened "Israel". This is what poses a threat and not "Israel".
Today, the continuation of the aggression on Yemen and accelerating the aggression against Yemen and especially during past weeks, and the terrible massacres which were perpetrated by the Saudi air force against armless Yemeni civilians is condemned. This war is American par excellence. Should America wish that this war end, in half an hour it will stop.
It is America that poses a threat on the region. Even Pakistan the historic ally of the US administration was harmed and its army, people, and state were offended. Thus days ago, millions of Pakistanis hit the streets to protest against the US policies, intervention, and humiliation of Pakistan and the Army of Pakistan.
Who is giving "Israel" full rein in the region other than America? What is more dangerous is that we may be before a new US form or reproduction of terrorism - as we are through with Daesh -under new topics, names, and slogans.
We must face these pressures whatever they are and wherever they are. How are we as Lebanese to face them? We must face them with meeting (each other) and uniting, and we must overcome this stage without intimidating each other and more frankly, without provoking others abroad against us.
I will calmly address those who are provoking others abroad against us. If this is valid, any sanctions which will be imposed on Hezbollah and the masses of Hezbollah and the resistance will after all, be reflected on the Lebanese economy, Lebanese life, Lebanese banks, and on everything in Lebanon because we are not an isolated part. We are present in all governorates and in all regions and all over the country, and we are a primary section within the country. So if you bring someone to open fire on me, he may miss the target and hit you. The bullet may bounce and hit you. It may hit me and you. Take these logical possibilities into consideration.
Still, we must face the pressures on Lebanon with a positive cooperative spirit without intimidation. As such we can overcome this stage God willing.
Finally, I address you - O' our people in Bekaa! This second Liberation is the fruit of your faith, patience, perseverance, bloody and continuous jihad, courage, and martyrs. This is the fruit of the blood of your dear young men from among the best young men in Bekaa who were martyred. They are your sons. This is the fruit of your sound choice and your rightful recommendations and assuming responsibility and clear insight and not fleeing from the army and not hiding your heads in the sand. How are we to forget these years in which your children were garrisoned on top of the high mountains? They were living amid the snow, storms, cold weather, and frost. How are we to forget the caravans of martyrs in every town, village, and neighborhood in your cities? How are we to forget the noble and great stances of the families of your martyrs - their fathers, mothers, wives, sons, and daughters? O our people in Bekaa! Today I want to reiterate what senior leaders said: The Second Liberation Day proves as the First Liberation proved that the costs of the resistance are much less than the costs of succumbing. You paid this price but this is the harvest. O our people in Bekaa! This is a holiday for all of Lebanon but it is a holiday for you in the first place. This blessed happy prideful holiday befits you as you befit it.
Many thanks to the dear resistance fighters and the resistance as a whole with all its leaders, cadres, fighters, martyrs, wounded, prisoners, and solemn sacrifices. Many thanks to its Abbass, Ragheb, Imad, Zul Fiqar, Hassan, Hassan, Alaa, and Salman.
The list is very long. Many thanks to the fathers and mothers, to men and women, to the wives, to the elderly and to the young. Let all the world know that our children and grandchildren count the years of their youth. They want them to pass quickly so that they become 16 or 17 years old to get enrolled in the fighter sessions. They want to be 18 years old to join the resistance fighting in the fronts. We salute them with glory and loftiness.
The last word is the message of this Second Liberation to the world. This Lebanon is fenced with its men and women, and with its army, resistance men, and heroes.
Everyone who thinks of attacking Lebanon or occupying a part of the Lebanese land, and everyone who extends his hand to reach Lebanon must know that this hand will be severed and cut off and this eye will be plucked out Inshallah pursuant to the tradition that says that Allah has men whom when they wish, He wishes. In Lebanon today there is a growing strong national will. We want an independent, sovereign, prideful, secure, and noble country which does not succumb to anyone or yield to anyone, and it is fit to reach this level.
Time is over when our country is being attacked, this homeland is deemed-weak, and this people is scorned. This time is over thanks to the Golden Equation: The Army-People-Resistance.
Hundred returns! May every victory find you well! The time of defeats is over, and we welcome the time of victories. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.