May 27, 2009
I seek refuge in God from the accursed Satan. In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Praise be to God, Lord of the universe. May peace and prayers be upon our master and prophet, the last of the prophets, Abu-al-Qasim Muhammad Bin-Abdallah, his good and virtuous scion, and his pious companions, and upon all the prophets and messengers. Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you all.
“At first, before I go into the topics of tonight’s talk with you, it is my duty to extend my condolences to all Muslims, the Muslim World, and to all our grand religious authorities, especially His Eminence Grand Ayatollah the Imam Khamene’i and to the religious seminaries, on the occasion of the passing and the death of Grand Ayatollah Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Bahjat -may God be pleased with him -who joined God’s Kingdom. In particular I extend my sincere condolences to his family, students, and emulators. We also in Hezbollah express our deep sense of bereavement at the loss of this great godly and learned scholar who stood by our resistance morally, culturally, and spiritually, and who provided us with a great deal of moral support.
“He always included the resistance and its mujahidin in his prayers. He was among the first to bring us the news of victory in the early days of the July 2006 war when many people’s “eyes were transfixed and hearts reached up to the throats”. On this painful occasion I wanted to express our profound sorrow at the demise of this great scholar. I ask Almighty God to have mercy on his soul and to grant him the high ranks which he deserves, and to fill with the rest of our great and grand scholars the great gap which his departure from this world has left.
“Brothers and sisters. The first topic I wish to talk about -and actually it helps a great deal in going into the second topic -is the anniversary of the Al-Nakbah, the catastrophe of Palestine and indeed the catastrophe of the ummah, 61 years ago. Of course I do not need to recall the events because we have lived those events throughout the past years in the media, speeches, lectures, and the fact that our ummah and especially the peoples of our region are experiencing this matter.
“However, on the occasion of Al-Nakbah I think there are facts which should be quickly recalled and considered. First, when we recall that anniversary we must emphasize the facts about the creation of that aggressive entity whose establishment was based on the usurpation of the lands of others and committing massacres against the people, especially women and children. It is an entity based on mass displacement and it is still based on occupation. Hence, the entity which is established on usurpation, massacres, displacement, and occupation is not a legitimate entity, cannot be a legitimate entity, and legitimacy cannot be imparted to it under any circumstances.
“Second, our living generations and especially the present generation and coming generations should know that the establishment of this aggressive entity at the heart of our Arab and Muslim region 61 years ago was the main cause of all the wars, catastrophes, calamities, tension, and crises in this region. Therefore our past and present generations and also our coming generations have to bear the consequences, effects, and results of the planting and creation of this cancerous tumour in the body of this region.
“Consequently, everyone should realize -and no one should disavow the fact -that the wars that occurred in this region were imposed by that entity by its will, presence, arrogance, and aggressiveness, and what the inhabitants of this region -Arab peoples, governments, armies and resistance -did were reactions to an occupation that consolidated its bases in 1948, expanded in 1967, and extended in 1982 towards Lebanon.
“Third, we must say the truth about the region as it is: the source of the conflict in the region is the Palestine cause, and what happened subsequently were the results, consequences, product, and outcome of that conflict. There has always been a wager on liquidating the Palestine cause, a wager that Palestine becomes forgotten by its people and by our Arab and Muslim peoples and the peoples of the world. Plans and efforts were always made to compel the Palestinian people to accept the fait accompli, to capitulate, to despair, and to abandon their homeland and legitimate rights. From the beginning, even in the 1950s, resettlement plans were proposed, and later plans for an alternative homeland and plans for self-rule were proposed.
“The resettlement plans were for resettlement in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and also outside Palestine. There were also constant, hidden, calculated, and “soft” efforts to make the Palestinians -individuals and families -emigrate to various countries of the world, provide them with facilities, naturalize them, and assimilate them in the societies of the world to which they immigrate so that there will no longer be a Palestinian people or a Palestine cause.
“After 61 years of such international conspiring and collusion against Palestine and the Palestinian people and in the face of the reality and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people we must, on such a day, commend the Palestinian people, their armed resistance, their popular uprising, their firmness, steadfastness, and endurance throughout all those years. We must commend their martyrs and the families of their martyrs, their wounded, the 11,000 prisoners who are still behind bars, and those among them who were displaced and the Palestinian refugees who live in the diaspora and in some refugee camps in harsh and frustrating conditions, as is the case in Lebanon’s refugee camps.
“We must commend their rejection of resettlement despite all those difficult and harsh conditions. This people not only refused to capitulate, retreat, weaken, and despair, but indeed when they were waiting for the Palestinian people to show signs of despair and capitulation their resounding uprising took place after 2000, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, in the form of a sweeping popular uprising, and in their great armed resistance which faced the Israeli entity with what the Zionist leaders referred to as the second War of Independence.
“We must also commend the sacrifices of the Arab and Muslim peoples in the course of 61 years, and the sacrifices of the Arab armies especially the armies of the cordon states, particularly the Egyptian and Syrian armies who fought gruelling and fateful wars and long wars of attrition with the Zionist enemy and forged heroic epics that will not be forgotten throughout history.
“Third, on this occasion we should mention the responsibility of the Arab and Muslim nation and all free people in the world -and in particular the responsibility of Arab governments and peoples -towards Palestine and the people of Palestine, particularly with regard to the present suffering of the Palestinians, be it in the Gaza Strip as a result of the recent war, the blockade, pressure, and tragic conditions, despite the will of resistance and steadfastness and the courage of rejection; or in the West Bank in the way of arrests, settlement activity, and cutting up the territory; or in Jerusalem as a result of Judaization, the demolition of homes, the displacement of Palestinian families; or in the 1948 territory in the way of threats of uprooting and displacement; or in the refugee camps inside Palestine and in the diaspora as a result of difficult living conditions; or in prisons where more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners are spending the flower of their youth behind bars.
“Here, it is true that the primary responsibility falls on the Palestinian people, but the entire nation bears the responsibility of standing by and supporting the Palestinian people by all available and possible means, for they are a people who have proved worthy of being supported and backed and to have the ummah stand by them. The best proof of that is their refusal for decades to capitulate, and their endurance of the suffering brought by resistance, confrontation, and the continued conflict with the Israeli enemy.
“We will touch upon the second topic through all the happenings that occurred since the Al-Nakbah to this day. The topic is the entity’s manoeuvre codenamed “Turning Point 3” which the Zionist enemy will hold from 31 May to 4 June 2009. That is the main topic which I promised I will talk about. If there is time left I will talk about the spy networks, and if there is no time I will leave the talk about the spy networks for Friday when I will address the Al-Nabatiyah rally, God willing. The subject of the manoeuvre is very sensitive and important and deserves some detailed explanation after which we define our stand. I have divided the subject into: First, what is the “Turning Point 3”? What’s it about? What exactly are the Israelis doing now?
“Second, assessing this exercise, analysing it: what are the possibilities?
“Third, what is required and how should we act?
“We begin with the first point. We should recall that since the July 2006 war there was a consensus in the Israeli enemy’s entity -be it in the government, the army, the security services, among experts, in the press, or in the street -that there was an abysmal and complete failure in the war on Lebanon, regardless of whether you call it a defeat or not, or call it a victory.
“There is a degree of consensus in Israel that the Israeli army and Israel abysmally failed in achieving their goals in Lebanon. We all followed the Winograd report, the terms he used, and the defects, loopholes, and faults that were discovered in the government’s performance and in the performance of the mini-Cabinet, and in the performances of the prime minister, the defence minister, the army commanders, the army, and the security services.
“After the end of the July 2006 war they set up the Winograd Commission which tried to uncover those loopholes. Of course, not everything was announced, but the Israeli army and war ministry formed 40 investigating committees to investigate technical, specialized, technological, and detailed matters. Winograd went for the basics to a great extent.
“In the light of Winograd’s assessment and in the light of the conclusions of the 40 committees, it transpired that there were a number of loopholes that should be tackled. You know me, when the enemy has a merit one recognizes that. Yes you are facing a serious entity, an entity that in connection with its interests and its project -which is an aggressive, illegitimate, and false project -acts responsibly. That is why they promptly began to draw up plans to overhaul the army, eliminate the deficiencies, tackle the faults, and import new weapons and new technology, and begin a lengthy series of training and a series of big and important manoeuvres.
“Of course there is no time for me to mention those matters in detail. However, the training they carried out was very extensive. Since the end of the July 2006 war to this day they carried out many exercises: for instance, the Entwined Arms exercise which has an offensive nature, in the northern region -some people in Lebanon say this matter does not concern us the Lebanese and Lebanon. An exercise in the northern region, who does it concern? Does it concern the Gaza Strip?
“They also held the “Turning Point 1” exercise which focused on command apparatuses, the home front, and o n how command apparatuses operate. That exercise was on the level of the entire enemy territory. It was not restricted to a region. There was the Flowers of Spring exercise which was also offensive and was held in the northern region, and was jointly held with the Entwined Arms exercise.
“There was the North Winds exercise, which was also an offensive manoeuvre held jointly with the Entwined Arms exercise in the northern region. There was the Stones of Fire exercise, a staff command exercise on the level of the chiefs of staff and the various services: the air force, the ground forces, and the naval forces. They also held a staff exercise for the various commands on the level of the regions, with a partial representation of the forces in the north, the south, and the centre.
“They held an offensive manoeuvre -14 exercises by regular brigades. They held a long-range offensive aerial exercise which was reported by the French press some days ago. This morning, Israel’s IDF radio announced that exercises will be held by the Israeli Air Force on the level of the entire Zionist entity, and warning sirens will be sounded in Israeli air bases.
“These are the exercises. As for the training exercises they are in the hundreds and there is no need to go into them now. There are also joint manoeuvres, especially the manoeuvres held jointly with the US forces, including exercises related to confronting rockets, or exercises of a different character.
“The 31 May-4 June 2009 exercise, known as “Turning Point 3,” will be held within the context of completing that long series of exercises and training. We will talk a little about that exercise, “Turning Point 3.”
“The exercise will be held on the level of the entire entity, not in one or a specific region. Preparations for it began at the end of 2008. It completes “Turning Point 1” that was held in 2007, and “Turning Point 2” that was held in 2008, and now “Tuning Point 3” in 2009. They describe those manoeuvres as “giant.” They say their aim is to enhance and increase Israeli national preparedness to be ready for a military confrontation in which the entire home front is part of the battlefield. They are holding an exercise and they are assuming, as I will read shortly, that the entire home front -all the cities, villages, colonies, and centres and all the Israeli installations in occupied Palestine – is part of the battle and the confrontation.
“The Israeli deputy war minister and head of the National Emergency Administration, General Vilna’i, says the aim of the manoeuvre is to involve the people in a culture of emergencies. Now while I am talking to you I have reservations and perhaps many people in Lebanon have reservations that such talk will make the Lebanese and the peoples of the region tense and say what do we want with such matters. We will try to touch on the matter objectively and appropriately.
“On the other hand, let us see what the Israelis are saying and what will they do. From 31 May to 4 June the entire entity -hospitals, schools, shelters, the armed forces, the government, and the media -will all be engaged in an exercise and will be in a state of alert, and the Israelis will be required to take measures. The Israelis are not stopping at the psychological and moral considerations of the Israeli people in the entity, as to how will they behave in this matter, because this exercise has aspects which we will be mentioning in our assessment.
“Thus General Vilna’i is saying that the aim of the exercise is to involve the people in a culture of emergencies, as though war is about to break out tomorrow morning. Add to that the words of Ashkenazi, chief of staff, who said that in 2009 “complicated security challenges will mature,” God knows what are those complicated security challenges, “that will oblige us” -that is Israel -“to be ready.” All of that demonstrates the importance of the “Turning Point 3” exercise for the enemy. In short, Vilna’i says an entire state will train for five days. An entire state: political leaders, the army, the security services, ministries, the people, and civil society institutions -although they do not have a civilian society.
“The topics included in the “Turning Point 3” exercise are: the authority of t he states of emergency under the command of the Israeli deputy war minister and which is responsible for administering all elements of the exercise, an authority for emergencies in the entire entity. Second, the Israeli government will be in a state of alert, and the mini-Cabinet will -as part of the exercise -hold meetings (they will be acting in this way) as though they are in a state of war and making decisions during a war.
“The Israeli army with most of its formations, weapons, and bases, led by the air force. The ministries, directorates general, municipalities -250 municipal councils -all educational establishments, home front units which have drawn up a new warning plan that divided the enemy entity into 27 regions in comparison with 10 regions that were created in the past during states of emergency, police forces, civil defence, the Red Star of David, and the fire brigade.
“The scenario they are talking about, the scenario they are assuming for the manoeuvre is a scenario that assumes the existence of an enemy and a confrontation. What will be the confrontation like? It will involve confronting a wide-scale missile attack from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip, simultaneously with escalation in the West Bank (that is the assumption they are making); engaging unconventional missile attacks; the explosion of dangerous substances in the bay of Haifa; a big and unconventional terrorist incident in the city of Eilat; and a series of mobile incidents with rockets falling in a number of cities and settlements throughout the entity.
“They set aims for the exercise: military objectives connected with the preparedness of ministries and State apparatuses; and connected with early warning stations; and connected with the government’s performance, how it can perform differently from its performance in the July 2006 war; and connected with the level of cooperation and coordination among various bodies, mainly among the political, the military, and the security services; training the population in confronting the missile threat; getting to shelters and rooms in a short time period that ranges from 15 seconds to three minutes -imagine that; and testing the ability of hospitals to accommodate and treat large numbers of casualties.
“The entire enemy entity will be busy with the exercise for five days. Yet, they clearly overlook the negative repercussions associated with spreading a climate of retreat in the sense of personal safety among the population. They are saying: never mind, let the people in the entity worry and live for a short while in an atmosphere of war, fighting, the firing of missiles, an atmosphere of targeting the occupied territories. Why, because it will become clear later on in the assessment that all that should be borne for the sake of greater aims which the Israelis seek to achieve in this entire matter.
“That is the exercise which the Israelis want to carry out. They began preparations for it today by announcing that the IAF will carry out a complete exercise within three days on the level of the entity and its surrounding.
“We will try to assess this manoeuvre which cannot be separated from the series of exercises, the training, and the war plans which the enemy is carrying out, and which cannot be separated from all the events and developments in the region, and consider the possibilities.
“Usually it is said in an assessment, we want to assess the present strategic environment, for the enemy entity looks, behaves, and acts through that environment and of course takes it into consideration. There are a number of developments and challenges that have occurred in our region -and this matter is not connected with one, two, or three years, for we should take into consideration a wider time span.
“In the assessment, if we start from the beginning, in these great days, the days of May, there is no doubt that the defeat of the Israeli army on 25 Ma y 2000 and its humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon, without conditions, without security arrangements, without agreements with Lebanon, without obligations, and without gifts and prizes -and in that humiliating manner which the Lebanese and the entire world still remember -has had very serious and important effects on the Israeli army and the Israeli entity, by the admission of senior Israeli officials at the time.
“After that defeat in 2000 -and we will not go into its repercussions now, for this subject has been explained a great deal, and in the coming ceremonies on 25 May we can refer to it – the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the uprising of the Palestinian people took place. The Intifada developed into a Palestinian armed resistance on this scale, so comprehensively, and so strongly inside occupied Palestine, for the first time. Thus the enemy command considered that in confronting the Al-Aqsa Intifada and armed resistance it is waging a second War of Independence -for they view the establishment of the entity in 1948 as the first War of Independence. Eventually the Israeli enemy was compelled to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip as a result of the escalation of resistance operations and the attrition of the enemy in the Strip.
“Third, OK. Fourth: the July 2006 war and the resounding defeat of the Israeli army in that war, the Winograd Commission, its conclusions, and the judgments it passed, in addition to the results, effects, and consequences of that war for the army, the government, and society in the enemy society. There was also development in the resistance movement. I will be talking in a short while about the resistance movements. Those are direct. Add to that, we should take into consideration as part of the strategic environment, the lack of success in the normalization of relations with the peoples of states, even the states that concluded peace treaties with Israel. Those treaties remained official agreements, but they all failed to turn them into a normal situation and normal relations with the peoples of the region, especially the Egyptian and Jordanian peoples.
“Add to that, the increase in the level of awareness and rejection in the Arab street of the Zionist project and the wide-scale popular and mass support for the resistance, resistance movements, and resistance symbols. That support has transcended all the considerations which the Americans and Israelis and those who support them try to ponder in order to besiege and isolate resistance movements.
“Third, also add to that the growth in Iran’s capabilities in the past years at every level, and especially the technological level and its possession of nuclear technology for civilian and peaceful purposes, and Israel’s accusation that Iran seeks to acquire a nuclear weapon. The Israelis consider that to be an existential threat to the State of Israel, although the Islamic Republic of Iran denies categorically that it seeks to acquire a nuclear weapon.
“Fourth, also add to that the development of Syrian military capabilities, the strategic cooperation between Syria and Iran, Syria’s firm and strong support for resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine, and the failure of the attempts to isolate Syria, weaken it, and impose conditions on it during the past few years which undoubtedly were among the most difficult years experienced by Syria.
“Fifth, the failure -or the re treat, if we do not want to exaggerate too much, there are people who say “you are exaggerating” -the failure or retreat of the US plans and US capabilities, especially in the coming stage, to wage new wide-scale wars such as the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
“Fifth, or sixth, the world’s preoccupation with many crises and difficulties that are erupting in other places, but above all the world financial crisis. All that should be taken into consideration in connection with the strategic environment.
“Add to that -and we will return to this point shortly -on the level of resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon, the development of the resistance capabilities in quantity, quality, understanding, planning, performance, tactics, and as a school. At first the Israelis were facing bands. Now they are facing a combination, a new school that expressed itself in the July 2006 war and in the recent Gaza war.
“Also, and that is new, in his conflict with resistance movements, the enemy considers that the entire area of occupied Palestine is part of any coming war. The issue is no longer one of a border settlement here or there. The Israelis have begun to act in a serious manner, because the arena of any war they want to wage, especially with the resistance in Lebanon, will be the entire occupied territory and not a specific location in northern occupied Palestine, let alone if they want to launch a regional war.
“There is a shift in Israel’s description of resistance movements from one that considers them a threat to the security of citizens or to the extant security or to the daily security, to a description that considers them a threat to the strategic security of the Zionist enemy, although the resistance movements do not rise to being a threat to his existential security. The enemy does not view resistance movements as an existential threat to the entity. The Zionist enemy considers, for example, Iran to be an existential threat to the entity, but he considers the resistance movements to be a threat to the entity’s strategic security.
“In this environment, within these developments, and to be exact following the July war, and given a new Israeli Zionist government, which took the settlement of the dispute back to square one, as the Palestinians say – it means that the world will now start begging of Netanyahu a recognition of the two-state principle; which means that the discussion now back at the stage of principles – the enemy is continuing with its entity’s manoeuvres on this large scale. How do we read these manoeuvres and what are the possibilities?
“Of course we use the words possibilities. Experts speak on them. Anyone who hears about them might say that this is possible, that is possible, or that is possible. This does not mean that all these possibilities that I will mention might not be taken as a whole. I will not claim to speak about all possibilities; there might be others, but it is useful to point out these possibilities.
“The first possibility is to say that the aim or the target of these manoeuvres is related to psychology and morale. This means that following what happened to the Israeli entity over these past years, the shaken confidence in the undefeatable army, the shaken confidence in the political leadership and the government, the fall of the successive Israeli governments, the numerous early parliamentary elections, and the crisis that the average Israelis are experiencing, the aim of these manoeuvres is primarily the desire to revive self-confidence and restore the morale, whether it is the confidence of the army in itself, its generals, officers, and men – you are aware that following the July war, the officers held the rank and file responsible and the rank and file held the generals and officers responsible – or restore the confidence of the Israeli people in their army and in their government and restore the confidence of the Army and the government in each other.
“Thus one can say that the possibility, or the dimension, is a psychological and moral dimension, that the Israeli entity needs it, and that it will hold these manoeuvres for this purpose.
“The second possibility is that Israel is seriously and genuinely concerned about its existence as a result of all the afore-mentioned developments, or at least is deeply concerned about its strategic and national security which is why it is doing everything it believes needs to be done to maintain its power, ability, superiority, efficiency, and readiness to confront any danger. This means that all training and manoeuvres, including Turning Point 3, will be placed within the defence aspect, the defence dimension.
“The third possibility we will call the terrorization dimension. The aim is to send a strong message to everybody in the region and the world, including the Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria, Arab peoples, even to all the Arab regimes, Iran, and other countries in the world. I will tell you the substance of this message but the purpose of this message is to tell them: Do not think that Israel is weak, fragmented, backing down, or hesitant. That is what I mean by terrorization. The message says: Israel is strong, capable, superior, and powerful, and it will confront all, is capable of crushing all, and is prepared to wage a war on the level of this entity and on the regional level without any hesitation.
“This is mainly a message to the Palestinians to accept the Netanyahu government as a fait accompli, because Netanyahu and Lieberman do not accept the two-state principle. They have just taken over power and they do not approve the two-state principle. They will consider the issue to mean a limited self-rule administration. They tell the Palestinians: Let us take care of your economic, security, and living conditions. The Israeli project is that Israel is a Jewish state, and thus the 1948 Palestinians would be targeted.
“They tell the Palestinians that there will be no Jerusalem, and thus the expulsion of the Palestinians from Jerusalem will continue, and the settlement activities will continue. Today we heard on the news that they have published an invitation for public bids to build new settlements in the West Bank. They tell the Palestinians: You do not have any choice except what we offer you, as George Bush advised you in the past. He told you: Take from Sharon whatever he gives you. Now take from Netanyahu and Lieberman whatever they give you.
“This is also a message to Syria, which is looking forward to regaining its occupied territory. It is a message to all Arab peoples and governments that we will continue with our plans for a Jewish state in the 1948 territory, and with land grabbing, and building of settlements, the Judaization of Jerusalem, and the displacement of the Palestinians. You, Arab governments, armies, and peoples can do whatever you think of doing. You cannot do anything, and if anyone thinks of preventing us from our continuing our Zionist project in Palestine, this Israel, which is armed to the teeth, not only by traditional and ordinary weapons but with the nuclear weapons as well, is ready for war.
“There is a message of muscle-flexing to Iran. But before that there is a message of muscle-flexing to Lebanon in which they say: We have killed you, and we will continue killing you. It is not I who say this but there are official security circles that are apprehensive of a big security development in Lebanon implemented by Israel. So, look O Lebanese: You must submit to whatever I do in Lebanon: My planes violate your airspace, and espionage networks are infiltrating your families, villages, cities, communities, and institutions, so do not think of defending yourselves or carrying out any reaction. You must submit to any measure or attack that I carry out because you will be facing an entity ready for war.
“The message to Iran is that Israel will not be lenient on the nuclear issue. You say that this is for civilian purposes but it might develop into weapons for military purposes, and this constitutes a threat to us. If we carry out any action and you the Iranians threaten us with a reaction, then Israel, its government, its army, and its people are prepared to respond to your reaction.
“This third possibility we call the terrorization dimension. Thus, the first possibility has a psychological and morale dimension; the second is the defence dimension; and the third possibility is the terrorization dimension or the psychological war. All the three of them might be combined, constituting joint targets of these manoeuvres, especially Turning Point 3.
“”The fourth and last possibility” that I want to talk about – because no time is left and I have to discuss the last topic – is a possibility that we cannot ignore. We might not like this possibility, the people might not like it, but what can we do? The possibility is that Israel is preparing for a new and sudden war. Israel supposes … It is observed that in all Israeli statements preparatory to the manoeuvres, in their statements to their people, they speak about sudden reactions. They are aware that in all cases at this stage, nobody would open a front with them. It does not seem to be so; not a war involving missiles, not a large-scale and comprehensive military war.
“Why are they talking in this way? This would give an impression that the Israelis might take a certain action – military, security, God knows what – in a certain direction. Israel supposes that this military aggression or security aggression will lead to surprise and unexpected reactions – reactions that were not taken into consideration beforehand – and thus its society and entity must be prepared within seconds or minutes to carry out entity manoeuvres on this level. This is because the Israelis themselves will initiate the attack.
“This means that by their military or security action, the Israelis will carry out a security or surprise action and, therefore, they fear sudden reactions, and therefore, they will be carrying out these manoeuvres for this purpose. This is a valid possibility. Since this is a valid possibility, all hypotheses become valid with various possibilities and in all direction. We have no information and we cannot be decisive on this issue but this possibility must remain in our minds in all cases.
“This is how we read the manoeuvres, especially the latest ones, and these are the possibilities. It may that they are intended to rehabilitate and restore confidence, it might be a defence and combat readiness, a psychological war, and a preparation for a military or security aggression that the Israelis believe will produce surprise reactions on this level.
“Now in view of these possibilities, these hypotheses, this reading, what are we supposed to do and how to behave? At the beginning, I would like to ease tension and say, based on analysis – because we do not have information – we do not believe that the Zionist enemy will wage a sudden war, militarily speaking. This is on the military level because the security level is possible at any moment, from 31 May to 4 June, during, before, or after the manoeuvres. But benefits gained from the manoeuvres and the military combat readiness during these four or five days – benefits which make the Israelis launch a sudden large-scale military attack, given the possibilities, readings, and analyses of the situation – we tend to believe that a sudden attack might not be a strong possibility and it might be weak but we are just analysing.
“This is just an analysis since we do not have information to base our judgment on. However, analyses is one thing but precautions and responsibility make us behave in another way based on the worst possibilities. In politics we can analyse as we like, we can express optimism or pessimism. We can even make definitive statements that there will be nothing and nothing will happen. But in politics, and at the moment of challenge, confrontation, or surprise, this analysis will not be any use. It does not protect a homeland. Therefore, we must be cautious and wary and, frankly speaking, vigilant.
“For sometime, since the July war, we have been following the Israeli manoeuvres and training based on our ability in the field of information. For sometime, we have focused on this entity’s manoeuvres, Turning Point 3, and at the first session of the national dialogue table whose basic issue was the defence strategy and nothing else. Hajj Muhammad Ra’d, head of the Loyalty to Resistance Bloc, took care of the issue and took with him a written text. Some of what I read to you was from the text that was presented at the dialogue table. He told them: Brothers, this event will take place on 31 May. This is the size and these are the dimensions of the event, and we in Lebanon, as a state and people, are neighbours to this aggressive entity that usurped Palestine, and we are expected to assume responsibility.
“With all sincerity, we did not take this paper to the dialogue table to take issue with anybody or to put certain points on the record against anyone but with the aim of demanding a national policy in dealing with these manoeuvres and other manoeuvres that are similar to it that might be held later. It is because this is not the end of the line in the Israeli moves.
“We wanted a national, especially official, policy to deal with this issue because it is of concern to all of Lebanon and not Hezbollah alone. It is not of concern to the armed resistance alone. Indeed it is of concern to all of Lebanon, the entire region, especially if the possibilities and readings are varied and different. But regrettably – and we would like to speak with a sense of responsibility – we did not find the necessary interest in this issue.
“Some officials at the dialogue table demonstrated interest, asked questions; some of them commented and expressed political stands and media positions, but on the level of the state as a state, the dialogue table did not discuss this issue or consider that this issue should be discussed seriously. Indeed, the next manoeuvres would be on, and we would not find the time to know what to do. Likewise, the Lebanese government did not present or discuss this issue. It did not from a ministerial committee.
“It did not think that the higher Defence Council should meet and discuss. Just meet, and say we have studied this issue, read, analysed, and made contacts, and we found that there is nothing concerning Lebanon on the security or military levels and there will be no surprises, and so the Lebanese people should take it easy and nobody will be asked to do anything. That is good. At least do that.
“The political authority that says it is responsible for the country and its security, stability, and fate, and the defence of the homeland, must exercise this responsibility. Are we standing in their way? On the contrary, we tell them: Come and exercise this responsibility. Tell the Lebanese people, and us, and the Army and everybody what we should do and how we should behave. Do we have to behave normally, as usual? Do we take certain preventive measures? Do we declare mobilization? What do we do? Do we have to go on recreational tour? Do we throw ourselves into the elections? No answer. Nobody responded. This is because probably some do not consider themselves concerned with this.
“Regrettably we always hear slogans and speeches that the war-and-peace decision is the responsibility of the state. Has this state, at any time, made a war or a peace decision in the interest of Lebanon and for Lebanon’s stability, security, and the restoration of Lebanon’s territory, dignity, and waters? Have the Lebanese people, including the resistance, objected to such a decision. It is not a question of one side giving the powers to others and saying: All right, the war-and-peace decision is yours and that is that. You must prove this thing.
“When we call for a capable and strong state it does not mean that it should have only arms. It should have a political leadership. What was the problem that the Israelis faced during the July war? Was it their army or was it its political leadership, which was confused, not knowing what to do? Do we want a capable and strong authority and state? Yes we want that. In its current government policy statement, the one before this, and the one before and since the Al-Ta’if Agreement and before that, official Lebanon consider Israel an enemy.
“This enemy wants to stage a manoeuvre for its entity which will be the biggest and greatest in the history of this entity; that is, for the past 61 years. The Lebanese state considers Israel an enemy and this enemy is staging the biggest manoeuvres in its history. However, the Lebanese state has no time to discuss how to deal with his issue from diplomatic, media, military, security, and civilian perspectives.
“The espionage networks are another story and it seems I will have no time to speak about this today. It has nothing to do with the manoeuvres or the war. It is another story which we will disuses later. But we, and all of us, had hoped that the Lebanese government and authority would behave in a different way on this issue.
“In any case, there is still a few days left. I am not trying to score points. We are in a situation that is of concern to Lebanon and the region. It affects the fate of all of us, our dignity, the future of our country. This is not a domestic political issue in which we might start scoring points against one another. There is still time left. Let the dialogue table hold an extraordinary session. Let the government hold a session on this particular issue. Let it create a ministerial committee – the foreign minister, the defence minister, the interior minister, and so on. The Higher Defence Council can reassure us and reassure the Lebanese people and say there is nothing serious, or that there is nothing but we should take the following precautions: One, two, there four.
“Why should there be anything wrong with this issue? You have always demands from us to deal with certain side or sides that consider themselves concerned about the resistance, or certain areas that consider themselves the most targeted. Let there be a national policy on this issue.
“Regrettably, not only have we not seen a responsible attitude towards this thing, but we have found some who have decided the matter on their own, saying that this issue was of no concern to Lebanon. Israel was talking about the northern front, the northern region, and Lebanon, and what might happen to Lebanon and what will happen to Lebanon. After the dialogue table, some, whom you know and we do not want to mention names – let them finish their responses to the Friday speech and we do not want to listen to new response so soon – said that this issue is of no concern to Lebanon and there is not need to preoccupy ourselves with it.
“Of course, I know the background to this. In fact, in our official statements we say that Israel is an enemy but culturally, emotionally, psychological, and spiritually can we say that some of the Lebanese political forces act on the basis that Israel is an enemy? By describing someone as enemy, you think ill of his behaviour, that you expect it to attack the country. Are they not expected to behave in this way? At a minimum level, this is an enemy who is armed from head to foot, is prepared and wants to stage manoeuvres for his entity. Yet, some in Lebanon say that as Lebanese we are not concerned about this.
“Some even went so far as to say that this story was invented by Hezbollah and thrown at the negotiating table. God knows what they meant. Probably, Hezbollah was preparing something prior to the elections and is preparing an atmosphere of struggle with Israel. No, my friends. We have an interest in the elections and we are awaiting the elections. The 7th of June is important to all Lebanese, and elections must be held on 7 June. The most concerned with a secure and calm atmosphere for elections is the opposition, especially the resistance because the resistance knows what it suffered over the past four years and what I might suffer in the next four years if the election results do not prove to be different. Regrettably instead of taking this issue with the required seriousness, they resorted to this language and accusations.
“Now if the state shoulders its responsibility we will be ready and if the state does not shoulder its responsibility, then we will continue to be part of these people and part of these targets. It will be the same situation that prevailed from 1982 and until today. The state did not do anything on many issues, such as the issue of liberation. For many years, the state was absent on the political and media level and then it established its presence on a certain level. However, people have not abandoned their responsibility, for liberating their land, for liberating their detained people, for liberating their waters, and for defending their country, dignity, pride, and sovereignty.
“Based on this, I would like to say the following, concerning the resistance – I do not want any leaks on what Hezbollah should do and what it is doing: We have to take a set of preventive and precautionary measures during the manoeuvres to prevent any security or military action that might target Lebanon. In other areas – Gaza, Syria, Iran, the West Bank – this is of concern to our brothers. Concerning Lebanon, we intend to take these natural measures, and at the same time, we will be available, ready, alert, and vigilant in the fullest sense of readiness, alertness, caution, and attention.
“I am declaring this position as of now, not in order to cause worry to people but to reassure the people, because when this message reaches the Israelis, and if they have anything on their mind to implement within the next five days, from 31 May to 4 June, and want to rely on the element of surprise and shock, we will be telling them: This element of surprise is dropped. They might do nothing but our job is to base our plans on the worst possibilities.
“The Israeli enemy is aware, through its experience with the resistance in Lebanon, and its experience with the resistance in Palestine, that this resistance will not weaken, will not capitulate, will not hesitate to carry out its duties in defending its people and kinfolk, and in protecting this country and its pride, dignity, status, and glory. The Israelis are aware of this. There is no need for me to make a threatening speech.
“I just would like to tell the enemy: No element of surprise. I tell the enemy: Not as of 31 May, even before 31 May, there will is no element of surprise. We are alert. We will not bury our heads in the sand because we are a generation – that is us and that is our fate and we can do nothing about it and we must accept this and embrace it – which is living in a country along the enemy side.
“Along our borders is a holy and blessed land, which is Palestine, in whose territory the worst entity, the harshest entity, and the most terrorist entity in the world and in history was implanted. Thus this is our fate and we have to face it. Do we run away, leave our land and emigrate, bury our head in the sand, capitulate to the Israelis, or work as agents for it or join his project? We have not done that since 1982. Many others, like the Lebanese, Palestinians, Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, and Arabs and many others have never done that since 1948. Therefore, we have not done that and we will never do that at any time.
“I hope people will continue their normal life. They should not be alarmed or terrified. However, it is our duty to describe the picture to them. Responsibility compels us to explain things as they are but at the same time, our responsibility imposes caution on us. We will go to our schools, businesses, lead normal life and go to elections. People will go to elections, but there are others who, I promise you, will be alert 24 hours a day and on all levels.
“After all, the decisions about the Army and security services are made by the political authority and I heard that the Army commander visited the south a few days ago and voiced excellent stands. The security services are demonstrating alertness, whether they are the internal security forces, the Lebanese Army, or the rest of the security forces. I hope they all will shoulder their responsibilities, including even the public security and state security personnel because this is an issue of national security. Definitely the espionage networks are definitely involved.
“We must all be awake and following things. We should not all work in elections, but I do not say that we should stop the elections. This timing is the will of the almighty. I cannot say whether this timing is intentional or not, or if it has political or psychological dimensions, and whether the election issue in Lebanon will be affected or not. There is no evidence of that but everybody can analyse as they like.
“In a world of wolves, in a world where the strong swallows the weak, where the rule of the jungle prevails; a world which is unable to condemn the enemy government for killing women and children in Qana I, Qana II, in Gaza, and at the UN buildings, and which is using the veto to prevent this condemnation; a world where people cannot rely on anyone to defend their existence, pride, dignity, survival, and sovereignty with the exception of God and their own resources, we have no other path to follow except what I said.
“God willing, the coming days will pass calmly and I believe that the presence of the resistance, the great and broad popular support for the resistance, the presence of the Lebanese Army with its patriotic ideology, and the presence of the security forces, and this broad national feelings make us strong and constitute a factor of deterrence against the Israeli enemy which knows that the outcome of any war that it wants to wage must be guaranteed in its favour, otherwise its results for this enemy and for its very existence will be disastrous.
“Therefore, this state of resistance, confrontation, rejection, steadfastness, perseverance, determination, alertness, and vigilance is our weapon to deter the enemy from thinking of launching any aggression against our country. God bless you; long live Lebanon. God willing, and as I always told you: Our trust in God, and our confidence in our people, our resistance, our mujahidin and army; our confidence in our ability to confront any aggression must be great, certain, and unshakable. Certainly the time of defeats is gone, and this is the time of victories. May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you.”