Lebanon News

Nasrallah: U.S. keen to hijack Arab revolts

BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah accused the United States Monday of seeking to hijack the wave of pro-democracy popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world.

He also praised Palestinians who confronted Israeli troops on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights despite knowing they would be fired upon.

Damascus said 23 people had been killed Sunday when Israeli troops opened fire on hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators who tried to push through the mined cease-fire line across Syria’s frontier with the Golan Heights. The protesters rallied on the Syrian side of the border with the Golan to mark the Naksa, which refers to the defeat of Arab armies in the June 5, 1967, Middle East war which resulted in Israel capturing Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Israeli troops killed more than a dozen people along the Lebanese and Syrian borders on May 15 when Palestinian protesters gathered near the border with Israel to commemorate the Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, marking the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.

In a televised speech addressing the opening session of an intellectual conference on Iran’s Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei in Beirut, Nasrallah said: “We hold the Palestinians and those youths who rallied at the border of Syria’s occupied Golan Heights in high esteem and respect for their insistence on confrontation in a clear message of determination in this [Arab] nation.”

“What happened yesterday on the anniversary of the Naksa on the Golan Heights has revealed that the U.S. administration wants to hijack the Arab revolutions,” Nasrallah said.

“This event has confirmed Washington’s absolute commitment to Israel’s security. This is Washington which talks about human rights and freedoms,” he added, referring to U.S. officials’ statements that Israel has the right to defend itself against protesters who attempt to cross its border.

Leaders of the Group of 8 wealthiest industrialized nations pledged at the end of their talks in Deauville, France, last month to supply more than $20 billion in aid to Egypt and Tunisia over the next three years to help economic transitions in these two countries after popular revolts led to the ouster of the presidents in both countries.

At a series of working sessions, representatives of the Group of 8 expressed concern that the democracy movement in the Arab world could be “hijacked” by Islamic radicals if the West did not help stabilize the economies of the two countries that touched off the Arab Spring.

In his speech, the Hezbollah leader praised Khamenei as “a great imam in leadership, piety and jurisprudence, who has a comprehensive solid and deep vision.”

Recalling his meeting with Khamenei following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Nasrallah said some Iranian officials came to the supreme leader, telling him that because of new facts, “we have to seek reconciliation with America.”

In rejecting any reconciliation with the U.S., Nasrallah quoted Khamenei as telling him: “Don’t worry, the United States of America has reached the zenith. This is the beginning of its downfall. When they come to and Iraq Afghanistan, they are drifting into the abyss. This is the beginning of the end to America and its project in our region. You should behave on this basis. These words are based on information.”

Nasrallah quoted Khamenei as saying he believed Israel was doomed to extinction. “He [Khamenei] believes that this is not far off. He sees it [happening] soon,” Nasrallah said. He added that Iran’s supreme leader believes that peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel would lead nowhere.

Hezbollah and Iran staunchly oppose the U.S-sponsored Middle East peace process.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 07, 2011, on page 2.




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