Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you all.
What moved me to speak tonight is the main political development, namely, Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation from the government. Of course, tonight I will talk about this subject and how to deal with this event, and I will not touch on the developments, events, and expectations in the region, despite their importance. We will leave this to Friday, God willing, when we commemorate the 40th (day after the martyrdom) of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) and Hezbollah's Martyr Day, our annual celebration in which we commemorate our martyrs.
The talk tonight will focus precisely on this subject. So as not to enter into analyses directly or proceed only from analyses, I would like to start with information that all the ministers in the current government know, and which they heard from him, from the Prime Minister, as well as the ministers who are meeting in the ministerial committee to implement the electoral law. What I am saying now is circulated in the media. But I want to confirm that our ministers also heard him directly and noted this entire atmosphere that I will talk about at the beginning. Therefore, we consider this data and information, and not analysis from a distance. You know that a few days ago, a Saudi official spoke and issued long and broad statements against Lebanon and Hezbollah in Lebanon. He talked about toppling Hezbollah from the government. He denied the intention to overthrow the government. He threatened and threatened. It was said then that the Prime Minister was hastily summoned to Saudi Arabia. This news was confirmed because he canceled all his appointments and traveled to Saudi Arabia. All the country's leaders, ministers, and political forces were waiting for the outcome of this visit. I am talking about the first visit, not the second one in which the resignation was announced. Everyone was waiting for the result. Of course, everyone expected that during the first trip, Prime Minister Saad Hariri would be pressured to give in his resignation and oust the government. But when the Prime Minister returned from Saudi Arabia and there was a meeting of the cabinet and the various ministerial committees, and also all the guests he met with, certainly and naturally he must have told everyone and announced it in different forms and expressions, that Saudi Arabia supports stability in Lebanon, security in Lebanon, and the survival of the current government, and dialogue between the Lebanese people. More than that, (he said) I got promises that we will be given a large amount of aid. We ought to prepare together for the Paris 4 conference and we will get new aid for the Lebanese army. All of this was conveyed. He was comfortable and cheerful. He was also repeating other things that expressed the same meaning, and also that there will be a meeting on Monday or Tuesday for the Ministerial Committee for the application of the electoral law. Once again, the prime minister traveled to Saudi Arabia and from there he announced his resignation.
Of course, you watched the announcement of the resignation, meaning the first news (concerning this) was released by Al-Arabiya channel and not Future TV or Lebanon's state television channel. Second, the announcement is recorded and the statement is recorded exclusively on Al-Arabiya TV and other channels broadcasted it. The form of the announcement, the way the announcement was read, the content and the text; you saw all of this and I will return to it shortly. So far, this is the introduction and this is the (available) data. So far, no one knows exactly what happened when Prime Minister Hariri traveled to Saudi Arabia.
In exactly 24 hours what happened? No one knows yet, and this is what we have to stop at i.e. between Saudi Arabia supporting the continuation of the government, stability and security in Lebanon, preparing for Paris 4, providing assistance to the Lebanese army, and ... and in a single step, resignation, and in this manner. This data or these facts give us a clear conclusion and not a possibility, that the resignation was none other than a Saudi decision, forced onto Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the resignation was neither his intention nor his desire or decision. Full stop.
I believe that all Lebanese politicians, media professionals and observers agree with this conclusion. Even in form, the announcement was made from Saudi Arabia. Why was the man not allowed to return to Lebanon and announce this resignation from Lebanon? This also leaves a question mark. Even the written text. We Lebanese know each other's dialect, and know the words that were delivered by Prime Minister Hariri, written and not written. This text is not a Lebanese text. This text was written by a Saudi, and this dialect is a Saudi dialect, and the Prime Minister read it. This is also clear. Everyone in Lebanon was surprised. Now if anyone says that this was expected, then it was expected in politics, but not in this way and this timing and speed. Everyone was surprised, from the President of the Republic to the Speaker of Parliament, and they are the people most concerned in this regard. The political forces, even leaders, deputies, and ministers of the Future Movement, no doubt that this resignation created a state of anxiety in Lebanon, and in particular with its accompanying analyses, rumors and threats, which call on all Lebanese political teams to identify their positions and visions in dealing with this important political event. So, we, in Hezbollah, tonight say the following:
First, we did not wish for this resignation to take place, honestly. We were seeing that things are going reasonably well. I do not mean that all parties are comfortable, but in general things are going reasonably well. Everyone meets in parliament and in ministerial committees. On the sidelines of the ministerial committees, the various issues are discussed. Sometimes there is some difficulty in the discussions. Solutions are sought and the angles are being rounded. Therefore, very important achievements have been made since the formation of this government so far. We believe that the government possessed the ability to continue, accumulate achievements, and keep pace with new achievements until the next parliamentary elections. This means that this government could even conduct the next parliamentary elections. This means the climate was a reasonable climate in the country.
This is first. Second: We pause at the way in which the resignation was submitted and its implications. This was said in Lebanon and expressed by the people in harsh and not so harsh ways. But I will be content with just two sentences. We pause at the form of the resignation, the place, manner, and its implications that are related to Lebanon's sovereignty, Lebanon's dignity, and the dignity of the Prime Minister himself. It would have been more befitting and better to allow the man to return to Lebanon, head to His Excellency the President of the Republic and hand in his resignation and announce it from the Baabda Palace. This is not the first time a prime minister resigns.
However, this form (of resignation) reveals the way and method of Saudi intervention in Lebanese internal affairs, although Saudi Arabia is criticizing others and attacking others and declares war on others because it accuses them of interfering in internal Lebanese or Arab affairs or the like. This is clear evidence of the level of (intervention), its size and form - even in an unsuitable and inappropriate form.
Third: regarding the substance of the address that the Prime Minister read, we will not comment nor discuss the political content of this statement, even though it is very harsh content, with very large and very serious accusations. But I will not enter into a debate. All of Hezbollah will not enter the discussion of the political content of the resignation statement because we believe that this text is a Saudi text and a Saudi statement. Therefore, if we wanted to discuss the political content of the statement, we need to discuss Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Saad Hariri or the Future movement should not be the side of discussion. Because we believe, as I have said, that this statement was not Hariri's, and what is written in this statement is different than anything Saad Hariri said since assuming the premiership. The language he used, the dialect he used, the way he worked, the way of thinking, and the political path he undertook are totally inconsistent with this text and content.
Fourth: we have to wait a little. Everyone should wait a little. That is, no one should be in a hurry to analyze, understand or take positions - not even procedures and measures that do not maintain peace in the country. What is needed in the first degree is that we understand the reason (of the resignation).
From that time until this moment today, we are in communication with everyone. We hear and gather information and carry out consultations. So far, what I know is that everyone in Lebanon did not understand the real reason for this resignation. Everyone in Lebanon - surprised by the resignation - do not understand the real reason behind the resignation.
Understanding the real reason is the key to dealing with this development and with the next stage. This means, for example, (that we ask): is forcing the prime minister to resign the result of an internal Lebanese factor? Of course not. I think that the Lebanese people also agree on this. The man did not want to resign, and "the situation was okay". He spoke to everyone, communicated with everyone, met with everyone. He was active and effective. There were government meetings and ministerial committee meetings. And so he did not believe that there was an internal reason for him to resign.
Now some Lebanese, in the way of settling small and narrow scores, say that the prime minister was angry with a certain side, with this minister, or that director. That is not a reason to resign. This is a settling of scores. This means there is no internal Lebanese reason to resign.
We should look for the reason in Saudi Arabia. What could the reason be? Is the reason that there is an internal conflict between the princes, a conflict over the throne, between the Crown Prince and the members of the family? Is it a conflict between political lines (in Saudi Arabia)? Is it a conflict that contains economic dimensions, which involves confiscating the properties of so and so person from the family, who has hundreds of billions of dollars, or so and so who has tens of billions of dollars - as is happening now? Is it related to this internal conflict between princes, and so Prime Minister Saad Hariri was lost in this mess? That (Hariri) was considered to be with this prince or that prince, or in this (political) track or that one? This is a legitimate question.
The reason has nothing to do with internal conflicts. It has to do with Saudi Arabia being dissatisfied with the personal and political performance of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and wants to replace him with a prime minister who considers himself a hawk, who literally sticks to Saudi policies and takes the country to the extent Saudi Arabia wants. This is also a question, and this is probably a reason. Or the reason is that there is a plan in Saudi Arabia to attack Lebanon as there was a discussion about the issue of Hezbollah, Iran, the Iranian influence and the Iran-Saudi conflict. So is this a step in the context of a big battle? All this requires that we wait and see for the truth to come out. What is the real reason behind Saudi Arabia imposing a resignation on the Prime Minister? So it came in this way. The truth today is that when information or some analyses or appeals speak with concern about Prime Minister Hariri's whereabouts today: ‘Is he under house arrest? Is he arrested?' These are legitimate questions. Can he return to Lebanon? Will he be allowed to return to Lebanon?
These are legitimate questions. This is not a (form of) Lebanese ill-temperedness, because when you hear on the news that Prince Mitaab bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the son of the former king, Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the son of King Abdullah, and Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz, when you see the former (National) Guard Minister, which is a long-standing army (military force) in Saudi Arabia, the senior sons of the royal family, the senior sons of kings, senior grandsons of kings who had basic responsibilities in the kingdom or own companies and have loads of money, when they are imprisoned, you have the right to worry and say, brother "look for" our Prime Minister, where is he? What's his story? This concern I say is a legitimate concern, and the real reason should be investigated, because in light of this...this is a Saudi initiative, this is a Saudi step. In what context does this Saudi step come in? In the context of changing the prime minister? In the context of ousting the government and obstructing a government in Lebanon? In the context of striking stability and security in Lebanon? In the context of a war like those that the Saudis launched in Yemen and elsewhere and supported in Syria and Iraq? In what context? In the context of personal conflicts. Therefore, it has nothing to do with Lebanon, nor the government of Lebanon, nor Prime Minister Hariri's political and governmental performance, but rather is purely about domestic issues in Saudi Arabia? If the Lebanese people can understand all this in the next few days, I think it can help us all determine how to deal with the next stage.
Based on all the aforementioned information, we in Hezbollah call for the following:
First: calm and patience and to wait for the clarification of the picture, the scene, and the real reasons, and therefore not to listen to all the speculation, analyses, intimidation, and rumors , two of which I will comment on a little later. This is first.
Second: we in Hezbollah affirm our concern for security in Lebanon, for stability in Lebanon, for civil peace in Lebanon. I call on all Lebanese not to worry and not to fear. There is nothing to worry about, at least from our part. If anyone thinks that what Saudi Arabia will say or what Saudi Arabia will do, or what it has done or what it has said, will lead us to be nervous or to take erratic positions or erratic and tense behavior, this is not true.
We will act with full national responsibility, calmly, and call on everyone to be calm and to preserve the most precious thing we have today in Lebanon, namely, security, stability, and civil peace. We have this in a country that is situated in an explosive region marred by conflict, and suffering from a lot of security and political crises. Therefore, I add my voice to all the voices. I tell the Lebanese and all those in Lebanon to be calm and rational. We see this issue and deal with it wisely, with wisdom, and with responsibility. We are a country with a state and state institutions. We have a constitution and constitutional mechanisms. We have leaders and wise men in the country. Therefore, we certainly can overcome this ordeal.
Clarifying and pushing away any illusions: some may stop to examine the meeting that took place between me and the brothers in the Lebanese Brigades yesterday, to resist the "Israeli" occupation. This meeting is an appointment scheduled months ago to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Lebanese Resistance Brigades (known in Arabic as Saraya al-Muqawama al-Lubnaniya, also known as the Saraya) to counter the "Israeli" occupation. You know that the Saraya was founded in 1997 and it has been around for twenty years. This is a prearranged appointment. Within a positive atmosphere there are no problems, the government meets and people meet. There is no strain in the country, so I met them to celebrate this occasion, and we did not know that the prime minister will resign. He resigned two hours before my meeting with these brothers in the Saraya. The meeting with the Saraya was with the faction and group leaders to emphasize the main task of this blessed formation, which is to be part of the Lebanese force and the readiness of the resistance to defend Lebanon in the face of any current or future "Israeli" threats.
It has nothing to do with this political development or any internal affair at all. Anyway, those who attended the meeting included faction and group leaders and some of the brothers, numbering 1000. If there was a matter of concern, danger, or intimidation it could have been transmitted and would not remain a secret.
Usually, meetings consist of 100 or 150 people, and unfortunately, we read about it the next day on social networking sites. This is a subject that has nothing to do with it at all.
Second, also on the political and media level: we call for calm, patience, and not to escalate the situation politically. This escalation suits figures or parties in Lebanon because they have to settle scores here or there.
There are people who may now see their chance for starting an escalation against Hezbollah, and perhaps some see it as an opportunity to escalate against the President of the Republic. For example, there are people from within the other parties who want to settle scores with the Future Movement and with Saad Hariri.
I call for no political escalation because it will not help. It will not bring forth or delay anything. Those who wish to escalate against us will not gain and delay anything. You issued statements. You addressed and insulted and raised the voice. This will not gain you anything and will not delay anything.
Yes, this will hurt the general situation in the country, the state of psychological stability, the state of calm that existed in the country. It will have an impact on the economic situation. The result is that some might worry, some traders and capital owners, some entrepreneurs. But this will certainly not pose pressure on us or push us to reconsider our vision, positions or path. You will be (considered) suspects if our country was "spoiled" in vain. In whose interest? You would be taking steps that could be ineffective. They will not be effective at all, if that is your real goal.
(It is a must) to move away from escalating the situation politically and in the media.
Third: not to return to the previous atmosphere, from sectarian and doctrinal incitement, sit-ins here and demonstrations here, closing roads here and taking to the streets in return. Staying away from the street, we are all away from the street, because the presence of any (political) team on the street will also not lead to a result. It will never lead to any result but (rather) tension in the country.
Fourth: keeping the channels of communication open with everyone and between everyone, and consultation between the various political forces to deal with this stage.
Of course, in order to reassure the Lebanese - and this was said in the media, it is not my personal information - that the President of the Republic is now the custodian of the country and the constitution. He is well capable for that job. His Excellency President Michel Aoun was communicating with everyone from the start, especially with the heads of political and parliamentary blocs and political leaders. He was consulting with the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, who is also fulfilling his enormous national role in this regard. His Excellency the President of the Republic and the Speaker of the Parliament, all stakeholders in the country too have been communicating, consulting, and discussing calmly, waiting for the return of Prime Minister Hariri on Thursday if he is authorized to return, or if the circumstances permitted that. In the end, we have a constitution and we have constitutional mechanisms. We have institutions. We have a President. We have a Speaker of Parliament. There are parliamentary blocs. Everyone is consulting and seeing how this stage can be handled in the best interests of the nation.
Thus, let's leave the subject to the constitutional mechanisms. (All of us) should be calm and careful. We should all be close to each other because I do not think today there is anyone in Lebanon, a political movement, a political party, a sect, a doctrine or an area that has an interest in bringing Lebanon back to what it was a few years ago.
Over the past few years, we have managed to keep our country (safe), away from the conflicts in the region. We are still insisting on this. But in the end, before the election of the President and the formation of the current government headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, there was great political tension in the country. The presidential elections and the formation of the new government, the so-called political settlement, brought the country into a state of calm, stability, balance, and achievement, both at the budget level and at the level of the electoral law, or at the level of appointments. It put the country on track.
Is it in anyone's interest to go back to what we were in the past? Certainly, there is no interest. Any side, person, leader or observer who wants to upset the atmosphere in Lebanon or restore Lebanon to what it was in the past should be accused of not working for the national interest but for the interests of the outside, for the interests of his masters who want to destroy this secure, stable, safe, and confident country which is coherent to a reasonable degree.
Sixth and finally, I mean, after the fifth and fourth, the sixth and last: the rumors that were made in these two days are very big rumors. I said I will comment on two. No, I will comment on three.
The first rumor: unfortunately, the Prime Minister Saad Hariri helped in this point by mentioning his argument for not returning to Lebanon when he said that I began to feel personally targeted at the security level and the likes. After that, Al-Arabiya was the only channel that reported that the Information Branch in Lebanon has discovered an assassination attempt on Premier Saad Hariri. Only Al-Arabiya. Then the internal security forces in Lebanon denied the claim and said that we have no knowledge of this data. The Lebanese army and General Security also issued statements or declared that there is no such data, whether in relation to premier Saad Hariri or any political assassination. No one has any indications or data in this direction. Why does Al-Arabiya want to talk about this subject? After that they can probably even say, if we ask them why did you prevent the outgoing prime minister from returning to Lebanon, that there is information that the man will be assassinated. This will be the argument to move him away from Lebanon. This is a possibility. In addition, some people in Lebanon also agreed with them and are now talking about assassinations. They are saying that there is no doubt that political assassinations will happen in Lebanon. They also determined that the political team that will be assassinated is one of the figures of March 14. So in Lebanon, there are judiciary and security apparatuses. I hope that they will summon him (who said such things). He is a well-known former minister. They should tell him: you are saying this, what is your data? This affects the atmosphere in the country, the public safety of the country, the security of the country, investments in the country, the economy of the country. They should summon him to see what his data is? What is his information? If he speaks like that "nonsense", he must be held accountable. He is toying with the blood of the people when he speaks about political assassinations in the country.
This is one. I do not need to confirm or deny (this news), because this is the responsibility of the state. The state said through its security and military agencies that there is no such atmosphere and no such data at all.
The second thing that has been said and caused some concern in the country is that the resignation of the prime minister is a prelude to an "Israeli" aggression on Lebanon. I would like to tell the Lebanese, and I have talked about this at length on many occasions. "Israel" does not work for Saudi Arabia. It works for the Americans for sure. It works for its interests for sure. No one can definitely say there will be no "Israeli" aggression on Lebanon. For it to happen or not happen is subject to "Israeli" calculations. The "Israelis" are unanimous in these calculations. They are unanimous since the July war that "Israel" will not go to war with Lebanon unless it ensures that this war will be quick, concise, and decisive, its victory clear, its cost low, and its usefulness high. There is an "Israeli" consensus on this. There is an "Israeli" cautiousness against going to war that does not achieve this meaning, because its effects and its material and moral costs on "Israel" will be very high and its strategic effects on the existence of the "Israeli" entity will be very high. That is why they are always intimidating and threatening. But take a look, since 2006 until this day, "Israel's" language is:
If Hezbollah did so and so, we will do so and wage a war, and the war will be so and so. It is always speaking using conditional rhetoric. I do not want to deny or confirm, but I tell you that within these calculations and indicators, there is absolutely no consideration of whether there is a government in Lebanon or no government in Lebanon. Who is the Prime Minister of Lebanon? To which political line does the Prime Minister in Lebanon belong to? This political factor has nothing to do with "Israeli" calculations when "Israel" decides to attack Lebanon. So no one should exploit this event and introduce it as a subject that is larger than the resignation of a prime minister, the survival of a government, or the departure of a government.
Today, more than ever before, the "Israeli" calculations of any aggression against Lebanon also takes into account the regional and international developments that have become completely different from the situation that prevailed in the July 2006 aggression. This, too, should not worry the Lebanese people. There are other reasons for concern, look for them away from the "Israeli" accounts.
The third rumor. I left it in third place because it is a little striking. News has been broadcast, now I do not know if it is true or not, that the Saudi Crown Prince summoned or requested to meet with the chiefs of staff of the armies of the declared alliance (against Yemen) which includes 30, 40, 50, 60 countries, God knows. This coincided with the resignation of the Prime Minister and that Saudi Arabia is preparing for a ‘Decisive Storm' against Lebanon. Of course, not to give the subject much value, but it appears that no one has officially spoken about it.
There are several analyses, and some rumors. There are some wishes from some people present in Lebanon. They have hopes of this sort, but this has no data or basis. It has no meaning. The Saudis want to bring the allies and launch an attack against Lebanon, a ‘decisive storm' on Lebanon. I am one of the Lebanese who can't really understand how this could possibly happen. It is one thing to launch a ‘decisive storm' on Yemen. Yemen is a neighboring state of Saudi Arabia. It comes with its armies and the armies of its allies and attacks Yemen. But in Lebanon, how is it possible? From what land would they attack Lebanon, from Syria where their project failed? Unless they want to come from occupied Palestine and launch an attack from occupied Palestine. Or they want to come from the sea? In a military sense, the simple man understands that this has no meaning and has no place. How would it (possibly) happen?
In any case, I do not think that this has a place. More than that, I mean, now for example, if these armies and chiefs of staff benefit the Crown Prince, let them benefit him in Yemen. They got stuck in mud in the battle of Yemen. They are in a very big dilemma in this battle as a result of the bravery and steadfastness of the Yemeni people and their sacrifices and heroism despite the crushing of bones, the killing of children, and the daily massacres committed in Yemen. Today there is a massacre and every day there is a massacre. Let it end its ‘Decisive Storm' in Yemen then talk of a ‘Decisive Storm' in Lebanon. Before we talk about what Saudi Arabia's plan is for Lebanon and what it is thinking and what it will do, I believe that everyone should wait a little to see where Saudi Arabia is going? Because the scope of the arrests and names that were said to have been arrested and their money confiscated are not small names. We do not know where Saudi Arabia is heading. I do not want to make an assessment because I do not have accurate data or information on this subject. Before talking about the steps and plan Saudi Arabia has for Lebanon, let us wait for what is happening first in Saudi Arabia and what is definitely going on in the region and then build on things. Waiting for that time and in the next few days, I call on all Lebanese and all residents of Lebanon to be reassured, to be calm, to maintain the present stability in the country, to communicate, to avoid political escalation, not to be concerned and to be assured that no one has interests in causing any such breach, and to wait for the responsible national steps that will be taken by His Excellency President Michel Aoun in consultation with the Parliament Speaker and the political blocs and various political forces in Lebanon. God willing, all of us, and with cooperation and a great sense of responsibility, can overcome this crisis and this stage.