Nasrallah’s Speech on Palestine

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If you want to know about Nasrallah’s speech, you need to read Anne Barnard’s analysis. While she does not know a word of Arabic, and while she has never studied the Middle East, and while she can’t watch the speech herself, she has Arabic-speakers among her staff in Beirut, and they are March 14 enthusiasts. And if you want to read a distorted view of the speech filtered through the prism of Israeli propaganda interests, Anne Barnard is the person to read.

This speech was scheduled on Quds, or Jerusalem, Day, which comes on the last Friday of Ramadan, according to Khomeini when he dedicated that special day. And contrary to what Anne Barnard wrote, Nasrallah’s public appearance is NOT the first in six years: He made a public appearance only last September. But the speech was significant on more than one count.

It is not new that Nasrallah would speak about Palestine: He speaks about Palestine repeatedly and the issue is a major plank of Hezbollah’s ideology since its inception. But for Nasrallah to speak about Palestine in such a forceful way, is significant especially in light of the Arab official (including Syrian regime) consensus behind the Saudi-engineered “Arab Peace Plan.” But this is not an easy time for Nasrallah. The party has faced serious challenges in Lebanon and Syria and beyond. As soon as the party was about to celebrate the end of the Bush era, a new set of challenges emerged and the party had to deal with the consequences of the Arab uprisings. When the uprisings hit the Tunisian and the Egyptian regimes, the party could not be happier and did not hide its jubilation. But then the uprisings hit Syria, and the earth seemed to shake under the feet of the party.

The ability of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regimes and the brief Ikhwan regime in Egypt to steer Hamas away from Iran and Hezbollah was a serious blow to the party, not so much because Hamas was helping the party in any way, but its very presence in the “mumana`ah” (refusal) camp, reduced the sectarian makeup of that camp. The party needed to preserve Hamas in the camp, and for that reason it avoided the temptation to ridicule Hamas and to criticize its sudden criticisms (always hidden and unannounced) of the Syrian regime, which had given it shelter when no Arab regime would extend a hand to Hamas. But this coincided with the intense, massive sectarian campaign against Shia that the Saudi-Qatari propaganda apparatus unleashed in the Arab world.

Hezbollah is vulnerable when it comes to sectarian attacks on Shia: It never engages the sectarian rhetoric and does not speak in Sunni-Shia terms. All that is true, but the party can’t hide the fact that its ruling doctrine (Wilayat al-Faqih) is sectarian and its membership is purely sectarian. And this is not accidental, of course. The ideology of the party is not intended, like Islam was intended, for universal appeal and commitment.

So, Nasrallah had to take all those factors into consideration for his Jerusalem Day address. He reiterated the commitment of the party to Palestine and made an interesting point about Western manufacturing of enemies for the Arabs in order that they divert their attention and focus away from Palestine and the dangers of Israel. He stressed that Israel remain the cancerous tumor (and he attributed the reference to Khomeini, but Arab journalists, writers, and officials have been making that analogy since 1948) in the Arab body. But Nasrallah wanted to say that Sunnis and Shia, secularists and Islamists can all agree on the subject of Palestine. But Nasrallah failed to take note of the great success of Saudi-Qatari propaganda in mobilizing Arabs behind sectarian slogans and rhetoric. Perhaps due to isolation, Nasrallah seems to think that sectarian mobilization and agitation by the GCC countries does not penetrate the minds of the masses. Partly for that reason, Nasrallah and Hezbollah in general have ignored the sectarian factor and failed to produce a counter-narrative. Nasrallah seems to think that if you ignore the problem, it will simply go away.

Nasrallah still refuses to directly attack Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He made one reference to “Gulf regimes” in regard to financing of media that propagate sectarian messages. But GCC countries have officially declared war on Hezbollah and on Shia in general, but the party is cautious and does not, for some inexplicable reason, challenge the House of Saud and the House of Thani directly. Perhaps, like most Lebanese, Hezbollah falls victim to constant Saudi threats to expel Lebanese immigrants from Saudi Arabia. Those Arabs who work in Saudi Arabia have become official hostages held for blackmail purposes by the GCC countries. But GCC countries have already begun to expel Shia and Sunni Arabs who are seen as supportive of resistance to Israel.

Nasrallah also made an important point in that speech, perhaps the most important point. Breaking with a long history of Sunni and Shia Islamist endorsement of war on communism, Nasrallah referred to the war on Arab communism during the Cold War as a manufactured and imposed conflict that the West imposed on Arabs in order to divert their attention from Palestine. He even questioned the wisdom of the war in Afghanistan by Islamists but then added that he was not necessarily questioning the “legitimacy” of the war in Afghanistan (against the communist government) but was questioning the priority of that war. He wondered why a Palestinian would, for example, travel to fight in Afghanistan while his land is occupied. This point is a belated acknowledgement by Nasrallah that the Sunni and Shia religious establishment has for decades served Western imperial designs and projects in the region. But this can also be placed in the context of Nasrallah’s recent mild salutation to Arab leftism and communism and their historical contributions to resistance to Israel. But this effort by Nasrallah can’t be complete without a full disclosure about the responsibility of the party (and of Amal movement) in the brutal assassination of key communists in Lebanon in the 1980s. The party has to come clean on this matter: We deserve to know who killed whom, and for what reason, and whose orders were they following. People should be punished even in party leadership for those heinous ideological crimes.

These are difficult times for the party: Western media never fail to point this out. But these are not pleasant times for Hezbollah’s foes either, whether in Lebanon, Syria, or beyond. The region is in the midst of a great transformation, and the final outcome is far from certain. But the insistence on the priority of Palestine’s liberation is a safe bet by all.

Comments

all i know from a friend who is a teacher of Arabic is that nasrallah never makes a mistake when he speaks in Arabic; she says his eloquence is perfect.

Hezbollah cannot be sincere for the Palestinian cause when they make takfeer of Umar ibn Al-Khattab and Salah ad-Deen who liberated Palestine for the Arabs and Muslims and they most certainly do have sectarian agenda in relation to the Palestinian cause such as validation of their backing of Bashar and their Ithna-Ashari sect, neither of which is supported by the majority of Palestinians.

"But this effort by Nasrallah can’t be complete without a full disclosure about the responsibility of the party (and of Amal movement) in the brutal assassination of key communists in Lebanon in the 1980s. The party has to come clean on this matter: We deserve to know who killed whom, and for what reason, and whose orders were they following. People should be punished even in party leadership for those heinous ideological crimes."

Who are you kidding, the chance of that happening is akin to you stop lying in your writings and you and your fellow hypocrite, Al-Amin know very well the consequences of crossing Hezbollah's red lines on the ground.

What a load of nonsense! Salafi groups have done takfir on personalties the Shia hold dear, such as Abu Talib (as), and yet you dont see the Shia going around blowing up women and children?! If the Palestinans dont want the support of the Shia, they should refuse the money of Iran, end of story. Why dont they? Because all their own people are slaves of the West.

And Hezb was supporting the Palestinans before anything happened to Syria, so your comment doesnt make sense they using it for sectarian gains. What we dont understand is why dont you, the brave lions of the battlefield, stop executing unarmed men and children, blowing up women in shopping centres, and actually step on the battlefield to defend Palestinans against Isreal? Because you are cowards!

Even now, when you have an oppurtunity to go Syria and show your fierce fighting credentials against Hezb, you hide in the gutters to blow up civilians. I have never come across a more cowardly group of traitors to the religion then you and your ilk.

The whole problem here is that Salafis are the play things of the West, wherever they have reared their heads, murder and destruction has followed. They are a group whom the Prophet (saaw) warned against, the Najdis.

The only nonsense is your hypocritcal reply and your ilk can't hypocritcally say, "Support Hezbollah and Bashar no matter what because of the Palestine card" when they didn't apply the same principle towards Umar and Salah ad-Din and the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon in the 80's. Why the brazen hypocrisy?

What does Abu Umar intend to say? His incoherence militates against making any sense of what he raving about? I advise this man to think before he expresses his thoughts. Perhaps he could then manage to rescue himself from this confusion.

Hypocrites and dregs of the Iran-Syria axis cannot respond to their brazen hypocrisies and sectarianism, so they resort to semantics. Before you rant about incoherence, tell us why your many of your propaganda machines like Al-Manar, NBN and Ad-Dunya didn't once host a contrarian viewpoint on Syria?!

If I had LL1,000 for every "but" written by Asad in this article, I could buy LOTS of falafel at Barbar. Sadly his argument is undermined by poor written delivery.

Sharp analysis. If atheists reject all activities initiated by religious groups then they are no better than the religious fanatics.
Hezbollah is a Shia Political entity with a strong religious base. Would Protestants join a Catholic party? But that doesn't mean they can't be respectful of others, and work with them effectively. Hezbollah have shown themselves able to do that.

Dear Asa'd
you make it clear that these are difficult times for Hizbu allaa, when it is thetotaly the contrary. these are difficult times for the gulf regimes. they are scared to death from the current changes and they are putting all thier effort and their people's money to steer it in thier direction but it is not working. history will mover forward and the arab people will win and this counter revolutionary will lose big time.

Hizbulla will come clean and will be on the peoples side.

thanks

clean???? they have sided with the sectarian assad regime and you think that the come clean out of this. In Iran and the shia section of Iraq of course but not in the rest of countries.

"Hezbollah is vulnerable when it comes to sectarian attacks on Shia: It never engages the sectarian rhetoric and does not speak in Sunni-Shia terms."

That is a blatant lie As'ad. There's been dozens of times where Hezbollah clerics have made speeches on Al-Manar full of vitriol about the Sahaba, and other religious/historical figures venerated by Sunnis. THAT IS SECTARIAN. You think you are being slick by covering that up?

You're always quick to note the sectarianism of Sunnis in the Levant, from the names they choose to label their armed groups, to their glorification of religious figures... But you're deceitful about Hezbollah and other groups who engage in this behavior just as much.

Maybe you think that kissing up to armed Shia powers will curry their favor with leftists in the region... Who knows...

Your agument is absurd. The criterion to be used to evaluate almuqawama is not to resort to describing it in sectarian terms. The criterion to be used lies in whther it succeeded in liberating Lebanon fro Zionist occupation. Why do you not urge your takfiri-Salafi-Wahhabi terrorists to terrorize the Zionists instead of terrorizing innocent people and eating their flesh?

". The criterion to be used lies in whther it succeeded in liberating Lebanon fro Zionist occupation."

Umar and Salah ad-Din liberated Palestine and that amounts to nothing from the sectarian hypocrites of the Iran-Syria axis. The Palestinian resistance in Lebanon fought the Zionists and the Assadi regime and its cronies waged numerous battles against it, so why didn't they apply their current "principle" of "accept us no matter what because of our mumana'a"? The shoe was on the other foot and your ilk didn't live up to their bogus standards.

If you think that HA has any sectarian rhetoric that is even remotely comparable to what we see against Shias then there is either something really wrong with you or you are very ignorant of the facts.
You are a know-nothing and can't hold a candle to Dr. Abukhalil and his knowledge analyses.

200000 sunni´s dead and that´s not enough for you? Three quarters of the syrians officers are alawites and this is not sectarian. Shia fighters from Iraq and Iran fighting along the Butcher and this is not enough proof of sectarianism for you.

Ah but you don't deny that they do have sectarian rhetoric, do you? Let's say for the sake of argument that they don't do it as much as some Sunnis do... ok, but they still engage in it too. And that's the point. As'ad himself is trying to deny Hezbollah's sectarian rhetoric completely, which reveals his own double standards.

Mr Angry at his best, making blunt, unpopular points.

Maybe Nassralah has been cooped too long to see that yes, the Arab world Is transforming and like It or not, Is quietly reaching out to Israel. Israeli tourist $$are welcome In some Arab countries ( true, Israelis must keep low profile and not walk around In Israeli stupid T shirts,or speak Hebrew loud). Arab and Muslim countries have economical ties at different levels (true, with "made In Switzerland " labels,alek)Arab tourists flock to Israel,not only for family visits alone. The "Arab peace plan" ,2002 version ,Is actually In practice at low key.(trivial example- an Arab national seaman on a ship with common flag, let's say Greece,enters an Israeli port, gets his passport checked and voila, take a shore leave. I met dozens of them.Excluding those who are refused entry permit for reasons known to the authorities. )
What stops the leaders of those specific Arab countries from making this public knowledge, Is the danger from the likes of the author and Hizballah..
Peace Is formed between enemies. Any negotiation Is a "give and take",not "all or nothing."
Show good will,compromise on Issues ( the other side, Israel,will equally make painful sacrifices)and you'll gain more than you ever will by harboring timeless crippling revenge attitudes.

Maybe Yigal the Zionist is so overfed by hasbara that he still cannot see that only "Arabs reaching to Israel" are USA/Zionist lackeys, and mostly hated by the majority of Arabs and other non-Zionists in the ME and beyond. It is clear from him citing "Arab peace plan" ,2002 , which is 100% made by hated unpopular rulers, supported by the same USA/Zionists. I suppose he could cite Petain is a proof that more and more French wanted make up with Nazis LOL

A bit about Israeli tees. Does he mean ones with a pregnant Palestinian at a crosshairs? It is only one example of what Zionist criminals see as "fun"

And there is no option for "peace" between colonizer and colonized. It is not about "revenge", it is about the end of Zionist colony. But Yigal the Zionist could dream - for not long, of course.

Terrible analysis , As'ad the angry sectarian speaks here like he is a half Shia . blaming the sectarianism exclusively on GCC ignoring Iran/Iraq/Assad/Hizbullah roles. He merely mimics that they are victim of a sunni gulfie plan poor them.
Abu Khalil is as relevant today as cargo pants

I think the reason that people claim you are "pro-Hezbollah" is precisely demonstrated by this article. You write about Hezbollah as Thomas Friedman would write when doing one of his love letters "criticizing" Israel. I'm not sure how you reconcile this tone despite your very anti-sectarian stances.

For instance, you've explained away their sectarian membership as nothing more than just "duh! of course they are exclusive!" Yet, what purpose does Hezbollah then serve the people of Lebanon? (Sure, what purpose does any of the party's there serve other than promoting and propagating sectarianism). Also, as a Palestinian, let me just say this: Hezbollah does not support my people nor their causes. They may make alliances, etc., but the only ones who will save the Palestinians are the Palestinians.

I beg to differ as I too am Palestinian. Hezbollah are the resistance. Palestinians have the PA puppet of Saudi/ Zionism or Hamas. Hamas tried to look to their fellow Sunnis for support & got? Treachery...I mean the Ikwan in Egypt upholding Camp David & closing Gaza tunnels. Some of their religious priorities are bizarre given the critical daily situations of Palestinians.

A Zionist here posts that Arab states are reaching out to them but not Hezb. I've no religious affiliation so can only go by what Arab groups do. Nasrallah is a wise Arab man & leagues ahead of the pathetic, treacherous, dangerous self-appointed, autocratic, Arab leaders.

But Hamas is not? And the MB is not?. Nasrallah is serving Iran. Why they did not help out Hamas in Operation cast led?

so your example for hezb. sectirianism is that their membership is sectirian? this is your arguement? with palestinians like you, palestine will never be free. the lebanese reality is sectirian, every sect has its party. so have shiites. dont use western principles on lebanon. its like calling palestinian organisations anti-semitic for not having jewish members. come on...

you claim that hezb. is not supporting palestinians. could you please tell me how not? so the thousands of missiles, training for palestinian groups, arms, money, know how...whats that? according your logic, BDS, gaza flotilla, demonstrations in london, cape town and so on are not a form of support? what is your point? why doy ou take the time here to make a childish comment, using empty phrases like "he only ones who will save the Palestinians are the Palestinians" ? how? what are YOU doing? what is YOUR plans? no demonstrations for palestine? stop BDS? no arms, no training, no money for palestinian resistance? grow up dude, palestine will be saved, when palestinians like you stay in the west and stop playing armchair generals

Hi Mr. spokesperson of the palestinian people since any palestinian speaks for all the Palestinians. And even if you were the official spokesperson, know this: Hezbollah is not doing Palestine and/or Palestinians any favor. They are fighting their common enemy as they see it not only a moral obligation but also religious obligation.
As'ad's use of the term sectarian to describe Hezbollah is inaccurate. He uses the same term to describe the campaign waged by the GCC aimed at creating strife in the region because they're fulfilling their duties as slaves to Israel and the west. How can that be the same. Hebollah might very well be exclusive because their ideology doesn't appeal to the masses, but so is his atheism. This is an irrelevant and lame charge against Hezbollah which is always peddled by Abukhalil for whatever reason. And you picked up on its lameness as is evident in your comment but only because you wanted him to accuse them of more than just exclusivity so you can feel good about your hatred of Hezbollah which can only be explained by blind sectarianism.

I just felt that Mr Asaad is/was with he communist ideology, or my feeling is wrong?

He's an anarchist. But like most secular Arab leftists, As'ad has a double standard when directing his ire at "islamists". He does not apply the same standard of criticism to Shia islamists as as he does to Sunnis. He has sectarian leanings, but to his credit he's not a complete hypocrite like Ibrahim Al-Amin or other "leftists" on this publication.

Anon means As'ad being not so harsh to Iran and Hezballa as he is to Hariri, Saudis and so on? Of course, the trifle of the second band being a USA/Zionist lackeys has nothing to do with As'ad views, it is just his "double standard" i.e. seeing difference between people who somehow support a just case and people who support imperialism and Zionism. When Sunni Palestinians resist Zionism, As'ad admits their due.

Only a hopeless sectarians like Anon cannot see it.

I'm not speaking about the merit of their practical matters. Obviously Hezbollah cannot be placed in the same category as the western servants of the GCC. But on strictly ideological grounds, there is really little difference between the brand of islamism exported by either side. That is where the double standard lies.

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