Nasrallah tells cadres Hezbollah "has changed"

Published Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hezbollah' Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah told his cadres in a private gathering that the Islamist group “has changed” and that the group's ultimate priority is to “protect Lebanon”, a source reported to Al-Akhbar.

“Hezbollah has changed and its priorities have changed based on circumstances,” Nasrallah said.

“There was a time when we used to see Lebanon as a colonial construct that was part of the Ummah,” he added. “That was in our early days, and the country was going through a civil war. All parties were calling for a nation that fit their liking."

“Today conditions have changed. We believe that this country is our country, and that the flag of the cedar is our flag that we need to protect, too. At this stage, our priority is to protect the state in Lebanon and to build it.”

The remarks appear to fly in the face of accusations by Hezbollah's opponents that the group is a proxy of Iran, functioning as a “state within a state.”

“What I am telling you isn't mere rhetoric. We are convinced of this and must work to apply it,” Nasrallah said at the close of his remarks.

Hezbollah launched into the Lebanese political scene during Israel's brutal invasion of Beirut in 1982 as a hodgepodge of Islamist groups supported by Iran.

In 1985, the groups coalesced under a single party with a manifesto that declared its loyalty to be to the Islamic Ummah, and Iran's supreme leader rulings to be a source of the group's bylaws.

The 1985 manifesto also mentions “the obliteration of Israel” as one of its primary goals.

This is not the first time Hezbollah rescinds Ummah-related sections of the manifesto. In 2010, an updated group charter identified Lebanon as the party's “homeland and the homeland of our fathers and ancestors.”

“We want Lebanon to be sovereign, free, independent, strong and capable … it should be mentioned that one of the most important conditions for the establishment of a home of this type is having a fair state, a state which is capable and strong, as well as a political system that truly represents the will of the people and their aspirations for justice, freedom and security, stability and well-being and dignity,” the charter went on to say.

(Al-Akhbar)

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