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On Int’l Quds Day: Sayyed Safieddine Articulates Important Stances in Interview with Al-Ahed

On Int’l Quds Day: Sayyed Safieddine Articulates Important Stances in Interview with Al-Ahed
Maysaa MokaddemOn the occasion of International Quds Day, the Head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, sat down for a comprehensive interview with al-Ahed, covering developments surrounding al-Quds, Palestine, the deal of the century, the Arab World and the regional situation as well as internal Lebanese affairs.

the Head of Hezbollah's Executive Council, Sayyed Hashem Safieddine

“Quds Day this year has a very special peculiarity,” Sayyed Safieddine stressed. “There are Arab groups that spoke clearly about abandoning al-Quds, and Saudi Arabia did not need the deal of the century to announce its abandonment of al-Quds. It is basically a permanent partner in all American and “Israeli” projects targeting our region and our sanctities, including Palestine and others.”

According to Sayyed Safieddine “the “Israelis” have drawn up a specific program to annex the Golan Heights. There is available information, documents and data about an actual program and American promises to the “Israelis” that they will recognize the annexation of the Golan Heights to the usurper entity. This is not only a political and propaganda matter. It is an actual matter. Netanyahu talked about it openly and clearly. There is a program put in place. They are waiting for the right moment to declare and announce the official annexation.”

He points out that “the forces of the resistance, thanks to God, today are unified. Some of the breakdown and weakening in the resistance that took place during the Syria crisis, thank God now, have been addressed. The cracks have been repaired. The axis of resistance is one unified and strong axis that depends on a large force called the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Touching on the Iranian nuclear dossier, Sayyed Safieddine said, “The secret of Iran’s power is its right. Iran is oppressed. It is defending its natural right. The secret of its strength is that it depends on a courageous and strong leader who defends his people and their rights to the last breath [and also depends] on the Iranian people’s unity behind its leadership.”

Concerning Yemen, he noted that the country “has been imprisoned throughout past decades. Regardless of any other political title that the Al-Saud talks about, there is a big headline today in Yemen which is the Yemeni people have come out of the Saudi prison and will not return to it.”

On the issue of Bahrain, Sayyed Safieddine told al-Ahed that “the people of Bahrain are an honorable and brave people that proved throughout the past years that they possess awareness, will, determination and the ability to maintain the high nature of its rise and objectives and defend its leading figures – first and foremost His Eminence Sheikh Isa Qassim and His Eminence Sheikh Ali Salman as well as all the leaders that the Bahraini people stood by and defended over the last few years.”

Moving over to Lebanon, he underscored Hezbollah’s “priorities”.

“We are seeking to receive important ministerial portfolios to carry out the duties that have become a necessity to us in order to serve the people and to exert the greatest influence in politics and government. This is one of our priorities,” Sayyed Safieddine added. “Today we are in the process of forming an anti-corruption file on a structural, individual, and policy level. And as soon as possible, work with the various concerned parties will begin, and the Lebanese will see the steps clearly – step by step and movement after movement.”

As far as the issue of the return of displaced Syrians to their home country is concerned, Sayyed Safieddine said that “our position … is stable, permanent and clear. This issue should be worked on within the political framework to reach a solution and solve the problem in the near future.” He also called for “a direct engagement with the Syrian state which declares every day that it is ready.”

The following is the text of the interview:

– Hezbollah won balanced popular support in the parliamentary elections, how will this be utilized in politics?

Political work will be on the implementation of the electoral program and giving priority to each item that was adopted and mentioned in the program. In general, political investment for the electoral achievement is to maintain the pledges and promises to the people, try to improve the country at the political, economic and developmental level and address the urgent files politically, economically and developmentally. Today, everyone knows that the economic and development file dictates urgency and necessity. It cannot be ignored anymore. It is not permissible to refrain from assuming responsibilities in this regard. So, the priority will be to pay attention to all that matters to the people at the level of securing their needs in terms of services and to improve the country economically and developmentally.

On the general political level, the political situation is acceptable to good. We do not need the parliamentary elections to depend on the results to improve the political situation, although the elections proved without a doubt that the political choice adopted by Hezbollah is the option that enjoys the support of the majority of the Lebanese people and also has a parliamentary majority. This has important political effects.

Some political files should have been put to bed after the elections. Arguments that did not benefit the country, specifically with respect to the defense of Lebanon and its resistance identity and confronting “Israeli” ambitions and threats, should stop.

– Lebanon is heading toward a new phase after Prime Minister Saad Hariri was appointed to form a government. In the context of talking about an American-Gulf attempt to prolong the formation of the government and putting Lebanon in a state of political fanaticism, what is your reading of the difficulties and the obstacles facing this formation?

We have yet to prove that there are important and fundamental obstacles to the suspension of the formation of the government. These are legitimate and acceptable political concerns. But on the level of facts, it seems that things will proceed at a good pace. This is what we wish for and seek and what most politicians in the country seek. US and Gulf intentions to suspend the political process in Lebanon is a separate analysis. But we do not believe that the Americans and the Saudis can disrupt the political life in Lebanon. They worked on influencing the political situation before, during and after the elections, but they are unable to suspend the political process as a whole because there are urgent requirements for all the Lebanese. If they wanted to face a team, they will be facing all the Lebanese. I believe that the existing will among all the Lebanese is the will to quickly form a government in order for it to do its duty to address the problems that will benefit all Lebanese.

– Will Hezbollah demand a greater share of ministerial posts?

It is known today that Hezbollah has three ministers. This is agreed upon with the various parties we spoke with in forming the government. The subject of the portfolios is still under discussion. We are seeking to receive important ministerial portfolios to carry out the duties that have become essential in order for us to serve the people and to have a greater impact in the political and governmental process. This has become a priority for us. The translation of these priorities is the strong participation in the government. Having strong participation means that there are important ministries run by Hezbollah, even though Hezbollah will consider itself concerned with all the government and all ministries.

– What are Hezbollah’s red lines regarding the ministerial statement?

I think the issue of the ministerial statement after the formation of the government will be handled in a flexible and easy way as in the previous government. I do not think there are major obstacles that will stand in the way of issuing a ministerial statement that is acceptable to all Lebanese. The past experience has proven that what we are asking for is easy and not difficult. Therefore, we do not need to talk about red lines as if there is a big problem that we are facing. I do not think that is the case at this stage.

– Hezbollah’s Secretary General spoke of a new stage in the fight against corruption. How will this project be translated into practice?

The practical translation of this process began in preparing the necessary introductions. When Hezbollah creates a special anti-corruption file, then this is an organizational decision. But it is linked to the commitment with the Lebanese to fighting corruption. When the Secretary General announced it and follows up directly, this means that we have begun. We are in the process of forming this file at the level of its structure, members, policies and plans. And as soon as possible, work with the various concerned parties will begin, and the Lebanese will see clearly the steps, step by step and movement after movement. It is no secret when I say that there are a number of files that we have started receiving. But the concerned party and the official responsible for the file will check and verify the data received to start working according to the files that are completed and prepared. We can say that we are in the stage of completing the necessary introductions. Work has already been going on for weeks.

– Some talk about the difficulty of Hezbollah’s response to corruption because of the vibrations it might cause to its relations with some allies. Is the party ready for such internal battles?

Before we announced the step to tackle corruption in Lebanon, we have studied Hezbollah’s objectives and policies and what we can do; what are the caveats and obstacles. According to our vision, we have reached the conclusion that the potential achievement is very important for the country. And it is necessary to set limits to the movement of corruption. Hezbollah did not talk about a comprehensive revolution in Lebanon because Lebanon does not tolerate a revolution to eradicate corruption from its roots. Some have said – and they are right – that corruption in Lebanon is rooted even in the structure of the system. We do not consider that there are favorable circumstances now or that our priorities now are to eliminate corruption in the Lebanese system. This is another discussion. We are talking about the extent to which we face corruption at the level of decisions, waste, some cases and some files that exhaust the public treasury and are at the expense of all the Lebanese. We are not talking about files that are unknown or hidden from many ministers and politicians who have dealt with the governmental and administrative affairs. Fighting corruption in the comprehensive political sense associated with the system is different from what we are doing now. It requires extensive Lebanese consensus. I do not think that Lebanon is ready for it now.

– In the coming days, we will witness a voluntary return of displaced Syrians due to the efforts of Major General Abbas Ibrahim and with the support of the President. Is there a role played by Hezbollah in this?

Our position on the return of the displaced Syrians to their country is stable, permanent and clear. This issue should be worked on within the political framework to reach a solution and solve the problem in the near future.

It is clear that this thorny and pressing issue on the Lebanese must be addressed in the near future. Why do some insist on distant roads that have no horizon at all. The road is easy and clear. It needs a decision, initiative and responsibility. In any case, this voluntary return, which is happening from time to time, is encouraging and important. It is in the interest of the Lebanese and Syrians. We must all work to develop it so that it becomes a voluntary return in a more comprehensive and complete manner.

– Do you mean dialogue with Syria?

Direct engagement with the Syrian state. The Syrian state declares every day that it is ready. This must be implemented. All the Lebanese will benefit from it. As a result, the international community and all the solutions that come from abroad are temporary and their usefulness is limited because their disadvantages that befall all Lebanese are bigger and greater.

– This year’s International Quds Day coincides with the death anniversary of its founder, Imam Khomeini. What are the challenges facing al-Quds today? Did the Gulf-American alliance achieve its objectives of obliterating the Palestinian cause in the Arab and Islamic conscience?

This year’s International Quds Day has a very special peculiarity. If we needed to observe International Quds Day on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Imam Khomeini emphasized every year, this year the Muslim and Arab world needs it more, especially the Palestinian arena. The reason is the aggression that al-Quds is being subjected to today. Al-Quds is usurped and violated. But this year, there are Arab groups that talked about abandoning al-Quds. It is basically a permanent partner in all American and “Israeli” projects targeting our region and our sanctities, including Palestine and others. What is new is this Saudi and Gulf audacity when they announced the deal of the century, including ending and eliminating the issue of al-Quds from the political priority, and even from the general culture and popular conscience. This needs a proportional level of rejection of all these ugly and shameless projects and need a higher level of emphasis on the sanctity and priority of al-Quds and its cause.

But they have not succeeded in obliterating the issue of al-Quds. No deal, no ruler, no matter how powerful or wealthy, not America with its arrogance and dominance and Saudi Arabia with its money and its hatred can obliterate the al-Quds cause. Yes, they plotted and are conspiring against it. They are pushing for the normalization of ties with the “Israeli” enemy. They are also making the nation forget al-Quds politically, culturally and through the media. But they will not succeed. The proof for this is the Palestinian voice on the shores of Gaza and in all the Palestinian territories. This voice reaffirms that al-Quds will remain present in the culture and conscience and a political priority. Yes, we must admit that what Saudi Arabia and some Gulf and Arab countries have done is a very advanced step to end the al-Quds cause. But will they succeed or not? This requires effort, sacrifice and resistance, and to emphasize what Hezbollah has always asserted that the road to al-Quds can only be opened through resistance, blood, martyrdom, giving, and sacrifices.

– The marches of return formed a qualitative addition in confronting the enemy. The night of the rockets in the Golan early May gave impetus to military action. Is the enemy stuck between a rock and a hard place both internally and externally?

The “Israeli” enemy sensed real and actual existential danger after the 2006 war. After the 2000 victory and the humiliating withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the Lebanese territories, except for the Shebaa Farms, the “Israelis” felt that there was a great threat to them. They tried to deal with this danger by political and satanic projects and machinations, but they were unable to do so. The results of the 2006 war stipulate that the “Israelis” were broken and defeated. When the points of superiority of the “Israeli” enemy were broken and defeated, they began to feel the existential danger. The “Israeli” yelling today regarding the Golan, the rockets and the ability of the resistance, the advanced positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the ability of the axis of resistance to record achievements and victories in Syria and the region in general are an expression of the crisis that began in 2006. It has been trying to find a solution. But what happened from 2006 until 2018 is that its crisis became more complicated and its existential fears increased. This is a point of strength for the resistance axis. We should look at all these threats, “Israeli” screams, American sanctions, American and “Israeli” attempts at the Islamic Republic and the resistance axis with a different view. It is not a proof of their strength. It is a proof of their weakness and retreat.

– Is American recognition of al-Quds as the capital of the usurping entity recognition of the Golan as an “Israeli” land as the Zionists say?

The “Israelis” have drawn up a specific program to annex the Golan Heights. There are information, documents and data that speak of an actual program and American promises to the “Israelis” that they will recognize the annexation of the Golan Heights to the usurper entity. There are information, documents and data about an actual program and American promises to the “Israelis” that they will recognize the annexation of the Golan Heights to the usurper entity. This is not only a political and propaganda matter. It is an actual matter. Netanyahu talked about it openly and clearly. There is a program put in place. They are waiting for the right moment to declare and announce the official annexation. Then comes the American approval to remove the Golan from being an occupied area in all corridors and political scenes in the world. Yes, if al-Quds is in real and serious danger, do not be surprised that the Golan is in a serious danger to be included in the usurper entity.

– Can these new developments and challenges reunite the resistance forces in the region after the war in Syria has affected them?

The forces of resistance, praise be to Allah, are united today. They have scored great achievements in confronting the “Israeli” enemy, the projects of fragmenting the nation and the targeting of the governments that stood by the resistance, for example Syria. The axis of resistance is growing in strength and leverage, but it is normal that the fronts and titles of confrontation increase whenever there is progress in the work of the axis of resistance. The forces of resistance, thanks to God, today are unified. Some of the breakdown and weakening in the resistance that took place during the Syria crisis, thank God, now have been addressed. The cracks have been repaired. The axis of resistance is one unified and strong axis that depends on a large force called the Islamic Republic of Iran. It also depends on good and important governments in the region that bear the idea of resistance and depends first of all on the people of resistance from Palestine to Lebanon to Syria to Yemen to all this area, which will remain, God willing, strong and great with its resistance and the resistance axis. Yes, this axis will face difficult challenges. It faced difficulties in the past and will face new difficulties. God willing it will achieve better results. In general, the axis of resistance addressed all the repercussions of the events that took place in Syria.

– US sanctions and threats to the Islamic Republic were met by Imam Khamenei’s decision to increase the number of centrifuges. What is the secret of Iran’s strength in this confrontation?

The secret of Iran’s power is its right. Iran is oppressed. It is defending its natural right. The secret of its strength is that it depends on a courageous and strong leader who defends his people and their rights to the last breath [and also depends] on the Iranian people’s unity behind its leadership. For the past 40 years, it did not accept to be complacent for this American hegemony, conditions and pressures. For eight years, the Iranian people fought the world that stood behind Saddam Hussein in order to remain a free and independent and in order to have a sovereign state with an independent decision in this region. Iran’s strength is in all these elements from its right to lead its people to its experience and development to its enormous capabilities in the face of these developments and American hegemony.

– Do you agree with the view that Jordan is paying the price for abandoning its obedience to the Saudi master over the al-Quds file or is it preparing to be the alternative homeland?

Regardless of the project being hammered out for Jordan and the analyzes that exist today, what is happening in Jordan is undoubtedly one of the repercussions of the bad policies of some regional countries that want to pressure the entire region in order to abandon their causes in favor of the deal of the century or American and “Israeli” priority. Naturally, Jordan as well as all the countries in this region, are likely to be in a position of pressure at the popular, political and economic levels when priority is elsewhere. When the priority of those who possess money and capabilities in this region is to serve the Americans and “Israelis”, it will be at the expense of the people of the region, whether the Jordanian or the Palestinian people. On the occasion of al-Quds Day, we must not forget the famine the Palestinian people are suffering from. The problem is not in Jordan alone. There is a real famine and unjust siege in Jordan and Palestine, as is the unjust siege in Yemen. The repercussions of the events taking place in the region are the result of these corrupt and distorted Gulf policies.

– More than 3 years have passed since the Saudi-American aggression on Yemen began. No objectives have been achieved. Meanwhile, the Saudi-UAE begging for direct American intervention is increasing. What is the endgame in this war?

It was the Yemeni people who talked about the endgame of war in Yemen. When the people of Yemen clearly state that they will not bow down and will not bend to Saudi dictates, it will no longer be accepted that Yemen is under Saudi rule as it has been over the past decades. The Yemeni people, due to the political circumstances and the foolishness of the of Saudi political positions during the past three years and earlier, discovered that its path to salvation and its path towards being an actual authority on their land are open. Why should it return to prison? Yemen has been imprisoned throughout the past decades. It was in the Saudi prison. Yemen was deprived of the benefit of its oil potential. It was deprived of the ability to determine economic and financial policies that serve its people, whether in the south or the north. Yemen was living all this deprivation, and the poverty we see today on the faces of the Yemenis, their homes, streets and cities is the product of Saudi policies that wanted to keep Yemen in prison. Regardless of any other political title that the Al-Saud talks about, there is a big headline today in Yemen which is the Yemeni people have come out of the Saudi prison and will not return to it. It has given martyrs and is ready to offer more. All that we hear and see including heroism and courageous sacrifices confirm that the Yemeni people will reach victory. And victory is the natural result of Yemen’s courage, will and chivalry.

– The Bahraini authorities continue to abuse those demanding the most basic civil rights in Bahrain. What is your message to the people of Bahrain, who peacefully demonstrate against the arrest of their leaders, most notably Sheikh Isa Qassim?

The people of Bahrain are an honorable and brave people that the people of Bahrain are an honorable and brave people that proved throughout the past years that they possess awareness, will, determination and the ability to maintain the high nature of its rise and objectives and defend their leading figures – first and foremost His Eminence Sheikh Isa Qassim and His Eminence Sheikh Ali Salman as well as all the leaders that the Bahraini people stood by and defended over the last few years.

The Bahraini people have high morals. We have witnessed this moral in their positions alongside the Palestinian cause and al-Quds. The Bahraini people today is with al-Quds and the resistance while the ruler of Bahrain and the rulers of the Gulf are working day and night to sell al-Quds and abandon it in order to preserve their thrones. All these events came to prove once again that the Bahraini people were right, and at the same time they are an oppressed people. It is a people that has no power but to say its word and will continue to say this word, in the media, in politics, in the demonstrations … its men, women, and youth. All that is happening in Bahrain confirms that the Bahraini people are right in their cause and will continue in this cause to achieve its goal. God willing it will be achieved. Yes, we can only tell the people of Bahrain, to our loved ones and dear ones in Bahrain, patience Bahraini people, victory will come. Following the patience that you have demonstrated, there is no result but to achieve your goals with all the sacrifices that have been made in the eyes of Allah Almighty.

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