Hezbollah will step in if the Israeli regime poses any threat to the process of Lebanon’s gas exploration, Chief of Lebanese Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sayyid Hashim Safiuddin warned.
More than two decades ago in May 2000, the Lebanese managed to defeat the occupier Zionist enemy by relying on the perseverance of the resistance groups. It marked the first meaningful defeat of the regime’s military forces, who were armed to the teeth and boasted about how they beat a number of Arab countries during the 6-day war.
Afterwards, the resistance forces further laid bare the hollow power of the Zionist regime in the 22-, 8-, 51-, and 12-day wars. The increasing political knowledge, identity self-awareness, growing interest in resistance across Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and the occupied territories, the exponential rise in the solo innovative operations (known as sacrificial operations), the growing Palestinian uprisings in the 1948 region, and the enhancement of activities of resistance in the West Bank reveal the promotion of level of deterrence and balance of power of the resistance axis in the face of the Zionist regime.
The indigenization of resistance is one of the realities on the ground in Syria, as groups such as Quwat al-Ridha and Liwa al-Baqir have been established by getting inspiration from Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Today, Hezbollah is present from the south, in regions like Tell al-Hara, to the north and Nubl and al-Zahraa region. The Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian forces have joined hands around the occupied Golan. This is considered as one of the biggest threats to the Zionists.
While the siege on the Zionist regime is being further tightened along the borders, now the hard days for the occupier Zionist regime inside the occupied territories have come somehow else. The termination of governments, holding five elections in three years, months of street rallies in protest at Netanyahu’s judicial coup, the spread of waves of strikes to the military forces, the dominance of far-right thoughts, the rule of corrupt people, and the lack of charismatic powerful leaders have aggravated the split and discords among the Zionist currents. The disagreements, conflicts and internal crises among the Zionists have escalated so much that the possibility of a civil war or implosion that threaten the future of that regime is as high as its defeat against the resistance axis.
In recent days, the Herzliya Security Conference, known as one of the most important annual security conferences of the Zionist regime, was held. A number of the regime’s security officials, including Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, head of the National Security Council Tzachi Hanegbi, Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi, and the Israeli armed forces’ Military Intelligence Directorate Aharon Haliva alleged that new operational fronts have been activated against Iran and the resistance axis in reaction to the activation of the resistance’s operational fronts. It would be interesting to verify and assess the validity of those claims and evaluate the possibility of their materialization.
These issues indicate that the course of developments in the region is taking place rapidly. Tasnim News Agency has conducted an interview with Chief of Lebanese Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sayyid Hashim Safiuddin to analyze the situation, discuss the above-mentioned topics, and assess the Zionist regime’s capacities and capabilities in the face of the resistance front.
Tasnim: In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. At the beginning, I’d pay tribute to the immaculate soul of Imam Khomeini (RA), the leaders of resistance, the martyrs of the resistance front, above all Martyr Sayyid Abbas Mousavi, Martyr Haj Qassem Soleimani, Martyr Haj Imad Mughniyeh, and the other martyrs of resistance. I also offer my regards to you and thank you for your time for the interview. As you know, these days mark the anniversary of liberation of southern Lebanon, the days in which people celebrate their freedom from the evil presence of the Zionist regime. Now more than two decades has passed since the Zionist regime’s defeat in the face of the resistance groups. The regime that used to boast all the time that it had defeated the armies of six Arab countries in a couple of hours, was knocked down and beaten in a battle with the resistance groups on May 25, 2000. Of course the regime suffered other consecutive defeats afterwards, and the resistance front’s victory was sort of the start of defeat of the Zionist enemy’s flimsy dignity. Considering the anniversary of that event, if you agree, I’d like to hear your comments about the resistance groups and the approach you had been pursuing in the battle, particularly about Hezbollah which played a key role in that victory. What do you think was the secret to victory for the resistance groups?
Safiuddin: In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. I’d extend a welcome to you at the beginning. Then I congratulate all Muslims, fighters, freedom-seekers, and noble people in the world on this Eid, the Eid of resistance and liberation. I also congratulate Imam Khamenei (May His Shadow Extend) and all military commanders, who were active throughout all these years, and to the souls of all martyrs, the soul of Haj Qassem, Haj Imad, and Sayyid Abbas on this Eid. They were the ones who created this dignity and glory for us. As you said, the victory in 2000 was per se an unprecedented triumph against the Zionist enemy and this was an event that materialized at the hands of resistance in Lebanon. After 23 years, we see that such victory is renewed and brings about other victories.
That victory had specific features, since it was the first victory gained after the Arab world’s defeats and failures in its great war against the Zionist enemy. But the more important point was that after this victory, all attempts at defeating and spoiling the results of victory and extinguishing the flame, which the resistance had ignited in southern Lebanon, ended in failure. While they made every effort with maximum power to frustrate the resistance, they suffered defeat. That victory entailed many other big victories, which have continued until today.
The victories for resistance will happen again.
The resistance axis has spread all over the Arab and Islamic world.
Iran is the backbone of power in the resistance axis.
Today, we are witnessing the might of resistance in Lebanon, Palestine, and the entire axis of resistance thanks to this resistance. In 2000, we saw resistance only in Lebanon and Palestine. But today, we are a full axis that has spread through the entire Arab and Islamic world, a strong and mighty axis that has big goals. Thank God the axis of resistance has been accumulating power and rising continuously during the past 23 years, while Israel has been declining and falling. This is the criterion and comparison.
According to the traditions, principles and the rules of history, when a pure, rooted, religious, humanitarian and righteous movement is shaped and when the movement of freedom-seeking and honorable people is formed, it will start with victory if it maintains its nature and essence; and if it protects its power and values, it will never be defeated and will achieve its purpose. In the face of the cruelty and injustice of the tyrants –all tyrants including Nimrod, Pharaoh, the US, and Israel-, when their defeats begin, those defeats will continue and they will move towards decline and downfall against the power of resistance. This is a divine tradition. It has been mentioned in the Quran and has occurred in history. As a result, our view after 23 years is that we are approaching the ultimate and major victory, God willing, and that the axis of resistance will win the major victory after dealing with all plots, from Syria to Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, as its power and capabilities are increasing.
What is important is the position and backbone of power in this axis, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran that stood firm and resisted like a sturdy mountain with its nation, Leader, government, the IRGC and all values. This implies that the axis of resistance is strong and powerful and relies upon a big power, a power that has great leadership and command. Why should we not win under such conditions? The factors and components of victory are available, namely leadership, nation, arms, wisdom, planning, faith, reliance on God, action, determination and will, and righteousness. Why would we not emerge victorious with all of them? I reason accordingly that victory lies ahead.
Tasnim: You referred to the emergence of the axis of resistance in the entire Arab and Islamic world and to the secret to victory and success. As Lebanon is celebrating the victory anniversary these days, we saw that you held a war game with the Radwan Special Unit taking the lead, the unit that has made those factors the dominant quality in its activities. The display of the combat capabilities of that unit received considerable media feedback. The images of these capabilities went viral and provoked remarkable reaction from the Zionist media outlets. The prominent figures of the resistance front had already warned that “we won’t be restricted to the boundaries and the separation wall”. This is exactly the subject which the Zionists cited as well, saying this unit will easily cross the separation wall and take over the settlements. Kindly talk about the Radwan Special Unit. How do you evaluate the feedbacks?
The message of the recent war game was serious and indicated the de facto power of resistance.
The fear and concern of the Zionists are natural.
Safiuddin: Firstly, Israel had commented extensively about the growth and progress of the power of resistance in Lebanon in the past too, so this is not the first time it is observing the power of resistance. It saw the power of resistance in 2006. It observed the power of resistance in Syria, while it imagined that the power of Hezbollah in Syria would end. Thus, it was surprised when it realized that the power of resistance and Hezbollah’s expertise have increased contrary to its forecasts.
Israel imagined that it would be able to defeat resistance and Hezbollah by preventing the delivery of qualitative arms, missiles and other weapons to Lebanon, while it was well aware of the qualitative and quantitative progress in the power of resistance. Meanwhile, it was also well informed about the resistance’s determination, resolve, intention, and purpose. Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah had warned repeatedly that “if Israel makes any miscalculation, our missiles will reach Tel Aviv and the Radwan Unit will enter al-Jalil”. Therefore, they (Israelis) are aware of all these issues and subjects.
But regarding the story behind the war game, I should make it clear that while the war game was held to celebrate the Eid of resistance and anniversary of liberation, it was meant to send the clear message that we are always prepared to carry out what we have talked about, be it the Radwan Unit and entry into al-Jalil, or the big and determining confrontation. It makes no difference, we are always ready. It was a serious and actual message, not a mere word and comment. We showed them a wall they have built with their own hands and are fighting only behind it. We told them that the wall will be destroyed and we will undoubtedly reach this valley and hills. These are the Palestinian regions and territories that must be returned to Palestinians. The seriousness of that message became clear to everybody. Everybody realized that there is real preparedness and arrangement. What went on display was only a sign and a small example of the numerous forces, the massive capabilities, and the fiercer resolve and determination. We wanted to notify them through this that it is a real and serious matter and we’re not joking by any means.
It is natural for them to be worried and afraid. This is one of our objectives, not only in the war games, but in all affairs. We want to make it clear for the Zionists that “this is your destiny that you have to leave this temporary regime”. This regime will be terminated. The more they feel the fear, horror and fright, the more they will realize that they are in unstable conditions. They expressed concern and fear at this war game, and we are pleased about their reaction. They said that “we will be shaken”, and we want them to be shaken.
We will enter into al-Quds with Haj Imad’s weapon.
Tasnim: One of the events in the war game was that the commander of the Radwan Special Unit received Haj Radwan’s weapon. It also had a clear message for the Zionists.
Safiuddin: In fact, we had not had any plan for this. In the morning of the war game day, before the beginning of the drill, the family of Haj Imad came there and the son of Haj Imad spoke on behalf of his family, saying that “we want to present his personal weapon to the Radwan Unit”. The unit was naturally named after Haj Radwan and is the unit of hope that will enter Palestine. We expressed immense gratitude for such move by the family of Haj Imad. That gun could have remained as a keepsake for young Imad, the grandson of Haj Imad. The gun could have remained in his own family as a humanitarian and emotional heritage, but the family of Haj Imad, just like himself, is generous, altruist and big-hearted. By presenting his weapon to the Radwan Special Unit, his family wanted to declare that everything related to Haj Imad would be at disposal of resistance and Radwan Unit. I believe that on the day when the Radwan Special Unit will enter Palestine, the gun that the family of Haj Imad has presented generously will be in the hands of the person that will enter not only Palestine but also al-Quds.
Tasnim: The resistance had many ups and downs, notably in the struggle against the Zionist regime, after the 33-Day War. However, it could create an active deterrence against Israel. How did this happen? What strategies did Hezbollah adopt to be able to maintain such deterrence against the Zionist regime? For example, we saw in the past days that the Palestinian resistance forces fired hundreds of missiles from Lebanon at the occupied territories, but the harshest stance that Netanyahu adopted was giving an order to bomb the banana fields in southern Lebanon. It means that they (Israelis) did not even dare to clash directly. What do you think was the secret to success for Hezbollah?
God Almighty has opened the doors for the blessing of Jihad to us for 40 years.
Hezbollah will get stronger every day as long as Israel exists.
Hezbollah was formed to annihilate Israel.
Safiuddin: Netanyahu must have had a problem with bananas (chuckling) … anyway. After 2000 and following the achievement of victory, the resistance did not stand idle even for a moment and preserved its preparedness. From the first day after the victory in 2000, preparedness for the next battle started until 2006, during which the July war lasted for 33 days. After the 33-Day War, –I have mentioned this several times-, when I was talking to Haj Imad Mughniyeh in the last moments of war, I asked “would you now take a rest?”. He said “no, there won’t be any rest at all. We must get prepared for the next battle”. I mean the Islamic resistance knows the nature and essence of this enemy very well. Thank God the resistance has faith, stability, wise and courageous leadership, and a strong nation and is in possession of all of these factors. Those factors allow us to be making arrangements, working on preparedness, making progress and keeping to the path of resistance all the time.
I also want to highlight the important fact that struggle and Jihad in the path of God is a blessing given by God to the one who battles. This is why we say that Jihad is a gate of the Heaven’s gates which God Almighty has opened to his friends and special and important servants. Some people are deprived of this battle, either because of their incorrect choice and lack of courage, or because the conditions are not prepared, which would happen when there is an excuse.
God has endowed Hezbollah with one of his blessings, as this gate has been opened to us for 40 years and has remained open so far. This gate has been open to us until today for various humanitarian, Jihad-related, Quranic, Islamic and national reasons. Since we are aware of the importance and position of this blessing, we would protect our organization, culture, leadership, action, men, women and youth. In fact, we would safeguard this resistance and its Jihad-oriented morale all the time and everywhere. I believe this is one of the major reasons behind success, so that such divine blessing would not be taken away in confrontation with Israel. We know and believe that Hezbollah has been formed to destroy Israel. As long as Israel exists, we will also get stronger day by day until the promised moment and the time for the termination of Israel and its eviction from the region.
Tasnim: This is a matter of envy that you men of resistance and Jihad are in such atmosphere and endowed with such blessing. May God endow us as well with this blessing. Last year, we saw that a series of challenges erupted over Lebanon’s sea borders. Hezbollah took an active and forward measure in a timely manner that, somehow, increased the government’s power in the negotiations. So Hezbollah safeguarded the rights of people of Lebanon in regard to the sea borders. The Zionist regime had plans to conquer the gas fields and the wealth of Lebanese people, but Hezbollah changed the game equations by taking action over Karish gas field. There are speculations about the exploitation of these national resources and assets in the near future, as there are reports that the process of exploration has already begun. What instruction does Hezbollah have on its agenda in this stage?
We were present at the stage of proving and restoring the rights of Lebanese people, and we will also stand with the Lebanese nation in the stage of exploitation.
Safiuddin: We were present in the stage of proving and restoring the rights of Lebanese people, and insisted that this issue is related to the government of Lebanon. In other terms, the government of Lebanon and its organizations are in charge of this issue. At the same time, we made it clear that we will defend our rights and the rights of the Lebanese nation, and will be present to protect those rights wherever necessary.
You saw in this regard that what happened in the negotiations and the follow-ups was performed by the government of Lebanon, not us. But when it was necessary for the resistance to step in, we became involved and such involvement proved very effective. The US itself, Israel and even the whole world acknowledged this. Thank God we proved once again that resistance is present whenever necessary, be it protecting the territorial waters, oil, gas and all national assets of Lebanon. We will be present during the next stage too with the same method. The stage of restoring and stabilizing the rights has been over, and now the stage of achieving and exploiting the rights has begun.
We will take action if any threat is posed to the process of Lebanon’s gas exploration.
Now, once the exploration activities begin, we won’t allow Israel to feel free to misuse our resources when it becomes clear what exists in there, oil or gas. Because this is a matter of Lebanon’s national interests. We won’t step in at first, we will let the processes take place normally. The exploration and extraction companies should proceed with their activities under the supervision of the Lebanese government. We will let the government of Lebanon have charge of all of those affairs and will only monitor the situation. But if anything happens amid this course that might threaten the process of exploration, we will be prepared and the resistance will step in at all stages with the same power, or even more strongly.
Tasnim: When Syria and its people were plagued by terrorism and the Takfiri-terrorist currents, we saw that the Lebanese Hezbollah stepped in as a supportive arm to back Syria, achieved great success, could defeat the terrorist groups, and took remarkable measures in confrontation with terrorism and in support of the rights of Syrians. Afterwards, there were reports that Hezbollah and Damascus will join hands over a plan for presence in the occupied Golan front. I would like to ask you, as a Hezbollah leader who is definitely informed about the decisions in this regard, that how do you evaluate the future? What are Hezbollah’s plans for such cooperation and unity?
Golan is a Syrian territory, but Hezbollah will stand by Syria’s leadership.
Safiuddin: Our plan entails measures and actions of resistance, as geographical mobility has its own special features and qualities. First of all, we won’t interfere in any region. Golan is a Syrian territory. The party that determines what will happen in Golan is the leadership of Syria, a wise and courageous leader that makes appropriate decisions. However, we at the level of resistance would be always present in the fields where deemed necessary.
As we told Palestinians in the stage of Palestine that “we stand by you and would be at your service whenever necessary”, we are now ready for presence in regard to Golan and any other front of confrontation with the Zionist enemy, whenever the situation is necessary for the resistance’s action and whenever we are needed to be present along with the other resistance forces from any country and region. In other terms, we do not seek to open up new battlefronts, but will always serve the rights of Arabs, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and any other place in the world. This is a normal and natural issue. As a resistance movement, we always stand by the nations that have taken the path to resistance and perseverance, be it in Palestine, Golan or any other region.
To be continued…