Nasrallah: "America is the mother of terrorism"
Published Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday said his group could never be a part of an anti-ISIS coalition led by "the source" of all terrorism in the world, the United States.
The international coalition, which began illegal airstrikes in Syria for the first time Tuesday, was created to safeguard the interests of the United States, not to fight terrorism as it claims, Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
"In our opinion, America is the mother of terrorism, the source of terrorism. If there is terrorism anywhere in the world, look at America," the secretary-general said.
"America provides complete support for the terrorism of the Zionist state. It supports Israel militarily, financially, legally, and even provides it veto in the United Nations Security Council."
Nasrallah continued: "He who dropped the atomic bomb on the people of Japan, and who killed [relentlessly] in Vietnam and elsewhere, and who stood by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu in the 50 day war on Gaza ... is not qualified ethically or morally to present itself as a leader of a coalition to fight terrorism."
The comments come as the United States and allied Arab dictatorships began launching unauthorized airstrikes against jihadi targets in Syria, drawing rebukes from Damascus's allies Iran and Russia.
Nasrallah brushed off criticism that his opposition to the coalition translated into support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), noting that he has repeatedly denounced the extremists and called for their elimination.
The reality that many of those included in the anti-ISIS coalition have been financing the jihadi militants they are currently fighting in Iraq and Syria forces people of the region to question the motives of their actions, he added, referring to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Lebanon is one of 10 Arab countries that has pledged support to the coalition, a membership that Nasrallah said he opposed.
"Never did [US President Barack Obama] say we are coming to defend minorities or Muslims or Christians ...," Nasrallah said.
"So we will not fight in a coalition that serves US interests and not the interests of the people of the region."
In Nasrallah's last speech on August 15, he noted that the United States only decided to get involved in the fight against ISIS when the jihadis approached Iraq's Kurdish region, which is strategically important to the West.
Lebanese captive soldiers
Nasrallah also urged for Lebanon to negotiate "from a position of strength" to free the 26 captive soldiers and police being held by ISIS and al-Nusra Front on the outskirts of the northeastern town of Ersal.
He described the situation of the captives, who were abducted during a five-day battle with the jihadis seven weeks ago, as "humiliating."
The groups had originally kidnapped over 30 Lebanese security forces members. Nusra has since released five of them, and shot dead one. ISIS has beheaded two.
Nasrallah said the negotiations to secure their release were being hampered by "political performances" of certain parties to "score political points."
"For the sake of the soldiers, the army, their families, the country, let us put aside the issue of settling political scores and scoring political points," referring to statements by March 14 figures that Hezbollah is to blame for the kidnappings because of its military intervention in Syria.
He called those who accused Hezbollah of opposing negotiations with the jihadis as "liars," insisting that the party supported efforts of the Lebanese government to free the captives "since day one."
"Whoever comes and speaks about Hezbollah rejecting the principle of negotiations are lying for political goals, not because they care about your children returning," Nasrallah said.
"We never rejected the principle of negotiation, not with terrorist organizations, takfiris, it does not matter. With Israel, it was the same thing. At the end of the day this is a humanitarian matter."
But Nasrallah said it was logical for Lebanon to demand that the captors stop executing their captives as a condition to negotiate.
"We have to negotiate from the position of strength, not from a position of crying or begging ...," he said. "Crying out will lead to a catastrophe. If there is hope for these soldiers to return to the families, this hope lies before a dignified stance."