Lebanon News

Israel has no intention to wage a war against Lebanon, Nasrallah says

A man carrying a child during Quds Day ceremony in Beirut's southern suburbs, Friday, June 23, 2017. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Friday said the conflicts in the region aim to serve the best interest of Israel, warning the Jewish state of any future war against Lebanon.

Nasrallah warned during a ceremony marking Al-Quds Day Israel of any new aggression against Lebanon.

"If Israel wages a war against Syria or Lebanon ... tens of thousands of fighters from Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq will join the battles."

Nasrallah said that Israel has no intention to wage a new war against Lebanon.

"They know that such a war will not lead to their victory," he added.

The chief of the Israeli air force said on Wednesday that Israel would use all its strength from the start in any new war with Hezbollah.

At the annual Herzliya security conference near Tel Aviv, Major-General Amir Eshel said qualitative and quantitative improvements in the air force since the 2006 Lebanon war meant it could carry out in just two or three days the same number of bombings it mounted in those 34 days of fighting.

"If war breaks out in the north, we have to open with all our strength from the start," he said, pointing to the likelihood of international pressure for a quick ceasefire before Israel can achieve all its strategic goals.

Israeli politicians and generals have spoken often of an intention to hit hard in Lebanon if war breaks out, in an apparent bid to deter Hezbollah. Eshel said in 2014 that another conflict could see Israeli attacks 15 times more devastating for Lebanon than in 2006.

"The resistance axis is becoming more active and stronger," Nasrallah said addressing his supporters.

Regional conflicts seek to serve Israel

Nasrallah said that "the popular uprisings in more than one country [in the region] began in an honest and straightforward manner. They weren't a conspiracy."

Nasrallah was speaking at a ceremony held at Sayyed al-Shuhada complex in the Beirut southern suburbs.

However, he said that the absence of "wise leaderships and cooperation" enabled the United States and its tools in the region to exploit the movements.

"The movements have been dragged to serve a number of goals, including controlling our ... oil and gas and resources, and the most important is ending the Palestinian Cause."

Nasrallah said that the conflicts in the region, in Libya, Yemen and Syria was an "attempt to pave way politically and popularly to reach a settlement that benefits the Israeli enemy at the expense of Palestinians."

"This goal is old but during this stage it has it different tools and approaches."

Quds (Jerusalem) Day is an annual event held on the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to show support for the Palestinian people amid the Israeli occupation.

Nasrallah lauded the Islamic Republic of Iran as the "main backer of the Palestinian cause."

He said that Tehran is suffering from "economic sanctions, political conspiracies in an attempt to isolate it and labeling it as the enemy instead of Israel."

"The Saudi regime is weaker than waging a war against Iran," he said.

He accused the new Saudi crown prince of seeking to move the conflict in the region to Iran.

Saudi King Salman made his son Mohammad bin Salman next in line to the throne Wednesday, handing the 31-year-old sweeping powers, in a succession shake-up.

Prince Mohammad, widely referred to as “MbS,” has ruled out any dialogue with arch-rival Iran and pledged to protect his conservative kingdom from what he called Tehran’s efforts to dominate the Muslim world.

In the first meeting between Trump and MbS at the White House in March, the two leaders noted the importance of “confronting Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.”

The Hezbollah chief said that all attempts to isolate Iran didn't achieve their purpose.

"Iran emerged stronger."

He said that Iran will "not tolerate terrorism and will strike back."

Nasrallah in his speech accused the United States of creating Daesh (ISIS), Saudi Arabia of funding it and Turkey of facilitating its movement."

"[U.S. President Donald] Trump said that [Barack] Obama's administration found Daesh, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf of funding it and Turkey of easing its access."

"They hoped that Daesh would topple the Iraqi government and control the area."

"At the end the main target is the Palestinian people."

He said that the major players in the area have been seeking "to lead the countries of the region to despair."

Two groups in the region

Nasrallah said that there are two separate groups in the region.

"The first axis led by the United States, Israel and some Arab and Islamist countries, while the second axis that is defending Palestine and the independence of the countries of the region."

He accused the U.S. and its allies of waging "massive attacks against the resistance to topple it ... but our first achievement was that we remained steadfast."

Nasrallah said that Israelis has been seeking to naturalize its ties with Arab countries.

"Israelis now reject any negotiations with Palestinians because they have hoped that Arab countries would [agree on their terms] before reaching a settlement with Palestine."

Syria will emerge stronger

Nasrallah said that Syria surpassed the "danger," warning of other alternatives like Daesh.

"Syria will overcome attempts to divide it and isolation."

The Hezbollah chief also praised the Iraqi and Yemeni people for standing their ground despite all the attempts to control their lands.

He revealed that Hezbollah has information that Israel is taking part in air strike in Yemen.

Yemen's Aden serves as a temporary base for the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi as the capital Sanaa has been held by Shiite Houthi rebels since September 2014.

Despite several security campaigns, government forces in Aden appear to have failed to flush out militants who have taken advantage of the war with the Houthis to expand their presence.

Hadi, who is based in Riyadh, has occasionally visited the port city since loyalists backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition pushed the Houthi rebels out of the city and four southern provinces in the summer of 2015.

Hadi fled Aden in March 2015 as the Shiite rebels closed in on his refuge, prompting a military intervention by the Arab coalition.

More than 8,000 people have been killed in the past two years and tens of thousands wounded in the war in Yemen, according to the World Health Organization.

The people shouldn't despair , we have many achievements and open horizons

Nasrallah called on the people of the region "not to despair. We have many achievements and the horizon is open."

"We have one fate."

Nasrallah sought to soothe the fears of people, saying: "The situation in the region will not remain as it is."

"All the schemes failed and will fail ... the mask has fallen off all faces."

Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of "paving way for Israel" in the region.

"It's unfortunate that Saudi Arabia is the head of terrorism and today it's holding its neighbors accountable for supporting terrorism," Nasrallah said, hinting to the recent economic sanctions against Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates that imposed sanctions against Qatar, accuse it of funding terrorism, fomenting regional unrest and drawing too close to their enemy Iran.

Qatar rejects those accusations and says it is being punished for refusing to hew to regional powers' policy of supporting authoritarian, military and hereditary rulers.





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