BEIRUT: Critics of Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s Friday speech ‘deliberately’ diverted attention away from his call for dialogue in order to justify the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, the party’s public relations officer said Tuesday.
“The responses deliberately obscured the fundamental and basic idea underlying the speech, which was a call to the Yemenis to [engage] in dialogue and strive towards a political solution,” Hezbollah’s public relations chief, Mohammed Afif said in a statement released Tuesday.
Hezbollah’s “permanent position” is that of supporting dialogue in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Bahrain as a means of reaching political settlements for internal conflicts, he said.
Afif added that Nasrallah’s speech did not incite strife between the Yemeni peoples but confirmed the right of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels to “defend, resist and respond to the invaders.”
In further condemnation, the public relations officer sad that the responses to Nasrallah's speech were founded on unsound arguments that only served to create media hype and justify the “aggression” against Yemen.
The statement comes two days after the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri struck back at Nasrallah, saying the speech reflected the state of confusion of his patron, Iran.
Asiri also said that the speech “contained a lot of slander and false allegations against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in addition to fallacies aimed at distorting facts and misleading public opinion.”
In a televised speech Friday, Nasrallah lambasted Saudi Arabia for spearheading a military coalition in Yemen against the Houthis. He accused Riyadh of launching the war in a bid to regain control over the impoverished country. He also criticized Saudi Arabia for failing to carry out similar military action to assist the Palestinians in their struggle against Israel.
Nasrallah’s speech drew a quick rebuke from former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who dismissed it as “a storm of hatred against Saudi Arabia and Gulf states in response to the ‘Decisive Storm’ campaign against the Iranian infiltration in Yemen.”