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Europe’s Biggest Enemy Isn’t Russia Nor Islamic Terrorism, but Israel

By Martin Jay | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 25, 2022

When Joe Biden took office, many pundits said that at least relations between the U.S. and EU would be restored. But the Iran deal is the ultimate test of just how much he loves the old continent.

Just how far will Israel go to scupper the so-called Iran deal from being signed by both Iran and the West? And will it play a fair game or use underhand and covert tactics to achieve its goal of the deal never being signed? Recently, we have seen the talks in Vienna progress as even the Americans say that certain key negotiating points have been taken out of the deal from the Iranians which has made the negotiations move closer to an agreement; we have also seen though Israel pulling out all the stops, from a PR and lobbying perspective at least.

And then there is the murky subject of skullduggery to destroy the talks. If you’re one of these people who believes in fairies at the bottom of the garden or that certain toothpastes can make your teeth whiter, then you might not buy into Israel using Mossad to derail the deal. Attacks on U.S. forces for example in Iraq, supposedly carried out by Iran-backed militias would normally have most people pointing the finger at Iran, proclaiming that Tehran is not at all serious about the deal but just playing along for time so that it can roll out a nuclear bomb. Then there is the curious case of the Salman Rushdie attack, which, again, many would point out could be attributed to the Iranians who still have a very much ‘alive’ fatwa against the British writer. Indeed, even the Supreme Leader is reported to have made a comment against Rushdie when he heard of the knife attack.

Given even the Israeli media have speculated that Mossad did it, it would be easy to conclude an open and shut case right?

Yet the author believes, like the 9/11 attacks in New York, which was the dirty work of Mossad, that these previous attacks can also be attributed to the Israelis who may well be plotting a bigger attack in the U.S. which Iran can be framed for; in fact, Americans are so ignorant of Islam or anything to do with the Arab world, that such an attack doesn’t even need to be linked to Iran but simply “Islamic terrorists” which might have tenuous links with Tehran.

There is no limit for Israel in terms of how far it can go to block the deal as the elite there believes that the Iran deal would exponentially boost Tehran’s power given the impact of sanctions relief on the economy. But the emergence of Iran as a regional player, economically, will always be a threat to Israel especially as it throws the spotlight on the once pariah state and many will see the fraud of hatred between Israel and Iran for what it is. Just as for decades the West goaded the Gulf States about Iran, installing fear to such a point that it was America and the UK who cleaned up on weapons sales, Israel needs to keep this yarn alive that Iran is the threat both for internal politics with their own people and also to justify the obscene amount of military aid which is sent to Israel each year. But any hack in Lebanon who has connections with Hezbollah will tell you that this threat is phoney and that both sides have enormous respect for one another; in reality both sides are fooling their own people into buying into the threat of an attack as it’s good for political support. The recent claims by Matthew Levitt in the Israeli media for example that Hezbollah wants to start some skirmishes with Israel can’t be taken seriously from those who are close to the Shiite group in Lebanon who say simply that Hezbollah is too scared to do such a thing off its own bat; being directed by the Supreme Leader in Iran though is another matter.

Hezbollah and Indeed Israel’s game of smoke and mirrors in Lebanon makes some pundits question whether Iran is really serious about reaching out for a deal with the west to lift its sanctions, or just playing us all along to win time? Surely Israel can’t have it both ways as its desperate antics of late tend to contradict themselves.

Hezbollah serves Israel well as the latter can focus more of defence spending and other such border initiatives in preference for being held more accountable for its governance. For Hezbollah it’s exactly the same. The threat of Israel launching an attack, once again, is the very bedrock of Hezbollah support in Lebanon. Without that threat, the Shia group may well lose half of its support overnight. This is one of the reasons why Israel continues to bomb Syria, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah activities: to keep the dream alive. It’s another reason why Hezbollah has a despondent enthusiasm towards Lebanon securing gas drilling rights close to Israel’s maritime border.

Yet in this time of Europe’s economies diving into recessions, we should ask ourselves what is the bigger picture? If Israel fails to derail the Iran talks and once again the Iranians get a deal which appeases the Americans, then certainly their economy in Iran will return to the billion dollars a month trade with the EU. One minor detail though which is overlooked and carefully airbrushed out of mainstream media’s narrative is the impact on Europe if the deal goes ahead. Cheap Iranian oil being sent to most EU countries which are really suffering from the shortages of oil and gas and its present market price could be a godsend and would enrage the Israelis even further. Europeans and even the British would look at Iran through a more favourable prism. Many would argue that Iran should be brought back in from the cold, in preference to the loathing of Putin and the hatred generally towards Russia. At least we can talk to the Iranians, many will argue. This notion cannot have escaped the attention of the EU dogs of war in Brussels who seem to be detached from all realities about the Ukrainian war and their sanctions towards Russia. Is it that they are banking on cheap oil from Iran saving EU economies? Biden too must have been advised of how things will pan out. But cheap oil for EU countries doesn’t favour the U.S. directly whereas letting the Europeans sink in their own demise will actually boost the U.S. economy according to the Washington Post, So much for the special relationship with Europe. For both Israel and Washington.

September 26, 2022 Posted by | Economics, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

US court orders Hezbollah to pay compensation over 2006 war

The Cradle | September 21, 2022

According to an AP report from 20 September, a group of US nationals won a case against Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah at the federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

In the ruling, Judge Steven L. Tiscione awarded the plaintiffs $111 million in compensation for alleged “physical and emotional injuries” sustained by Hezbollah’s rocket attacks in Israel in 2006.

“Only by exacting a heavy price from those who engage in the business of terrorism can we prevent the suffering and loss of additional victims to their violence,” said Darshan-Leitner, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

The court found Hezbollah’s actions, which were defending Lebanon from Israeli aggressions during the ‘Second Lebanon War,’ to be in violation of the US Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

The ATA, better known as the Patriot Act, was established by the US in a bid to deter terrorist acts on US soil in addition to enhancing law enforcement tools against the perpetrators of such crimes.

Nonetheless, the plaintiff’s lawyers acknowledge that this was a psychological win, considering it unlikely for Hezbollah to give much thought to the court’s rulings.

Hezbollah’s media unit refused to comment on the ruling when contacted by AP.

The Israeli aggressions on Lebanon in 2006 resulted in the death of at least 1,191 Lebanese and the injury of 4,409 others.

Additionally, the Israeli attacks killed at least 56 foreign nationals, including 5 UN soldiers, while wounding at least 37 others.

Israel has not paid any compensations for the war, and neither has the US, which played an instrumental role in resupplying the Israeli army with weapons during the war.

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in November 2021 in favor of a resolution demanding that Israel pay Lebanon $856.4 million as compensation for an oil spill caused by their attacks.

In July 2006, the Israeli air force destroyed the storage tanks at the thermal power station in Jiyeh, causing a 10 km wide oil spill covering half of Lebanon’s coastline.

Over 25,000 tons of heavy fuel oil were released into the eastern Mediterranean sea, causing the “worst ecological disaster in the oceans and the first time an oil spill happens outside the open sea,” according to the Lebanese Ministry of Environment.

“Israel bears the responsibility to pay immediate compensation to the government of Lebanon and to other countries that were directly affected by the oil spill, such as Syria, whose beaches were partially polluted,” the resolution indicated.

The resolution has not been acknowledged by Israel and has been continuously rejected by US representatives at the UN.

The US has voted against all UN resolutions that were intended to condemn Israel for its crimes during the 34-day war in Lebanon, despite the general consensus around the war’s aggressive nature.

September 21, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 9 Comments

How the US controls Lebanon’s energy supply

The US is leveraging Egypt’s gas supply to pressure Beirut over US-brokered maritime border talks with Israel

By Yeghia Tashjian | The Cradle | August 19 2022

Consider the chaos in Europe today caused by a sudden reduction in Russian gas supplies.

Now imagine the catastrophic state of Lebanon’s energy sector after two years of fuel shortages, limited foreign currency with which to purchase new, urgent supplies, and US-sanctions on Syria impeding Lebanon’s only land route for imports.

After decades of stalled reforms, Lebanon is running out of time and money.

In June 2021, a lifeline was handed to the country in a deal struck with Baghdad to supply two Lebanese power stations with Iraqi fuel. The agreement, which was due to expire in September 2022, has recently been extended for one year.

But while there are short and long term solutions available to remedy Lebanon’s energy crisis, the two main options are both monopolized by US policymakers with stakes in regional geopolitics.

The first option involves transporting fuel to Lebanon via the Arab Gas Pipeline (AGP), whereby Egypt will supply gas through Syria. Although the proposal was originally an American suggestion, this fuel route requires US sanctions waivers that have not yet been approved by Washington.

The second option is for Lebanon to extract its own gas supply from newly discovered fields off its coastline. This too depends entirely on US-mediated, indirect negotiations with Israel to resolve a maritime dispute over the Karish gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Accessing its own gas supplies will go a long way to guarantee Lebanon’s own energy security, while providing the state with much needed revenues from exports.

However, the success of either project depends largely on the status of US-Lebanese relations at any given moment. The two options are also inextricably linked to each other: Washington is pressuring Beirut to compromise with Tel Aviv on the maritime border dispute before agreeing to “green light” Cairo’s gas exports via Syria, which is in turn heavily sanctioned by the US’s “Caesar Act.”

While Washington is playing a leverage game, Lebanon is slowly collapsing.

Gas from Egypt

Under the agreement signed with Cairo, 650 million cubic meters of natural gas will be exported annually via the AGP. As it turns out, the actual supply of gas, as per the World Bank’s conditions, awaits US approval to exclude Egypt from sanctions imposed on the passage of goods through Syria.

The AGP is already a functioning pipeline that has supplied Lebanon with Egyptian gas in the past, but operations were halted in 2011 when Syrian pipelines were damaged during the country’s armed conflict.

Under the deal, Egypt will pump gas through the pipeline to supply Lebanon’s northern Deir Ammar power plant, which can then produce 450 megawatts of electricity – adding four hours of additional electricity supply per day. It is a modest but necessary improvement over the barely two hours of electricity currently provided by the state.

The World Bank has pledged to finance the deal on the condition that the Lebanese government implements much needed reforms in the electricity sector, which has created tens of billions of dollars in public debt.

The Syrian equation       

For the Syrian government, the arrangement is perceived as a diplomatic victory as it confers ‘legitimacy’ to the state and represents a step toward its international rehabilitation. The AGP deal was also hailed by Syrian Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Bassam Tohmy as one of the most important joint Arab cooperation projects.

According to Will Todman, a research fellow in the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the agreement is “a win for the [Bashar al-]Assad government. The deal represents the first major move toward Syria’s economic integration with the region since Arab Spring protests shook Syria in March 2011, halting previous integration efforts.”

However, due to US Caesar Law restrictions, no concrete progress has been made over the past months. Amman and Cairo have both requested guarantees from Washington that they will not be subject to sanctions – to no avail. US President Joe Biden has yet to make a final decision on whether the plan will be considered a violation of sanctions on Syria.

Linking the Egypt deal with Israel talks

In order to create a certain interdependency in the region to minimize the possibility of new conflicts with Israel, the US is attempting to link the Egyptian gas deal with the ongoing, indirect, maritime negotiations between Tel Aviv and Beirut.

Amos Hochstein, the State Department senior adviser on energy security, who acts as chief mediator on the disputed maritime border between Lebanon and Israel, said after arriving in Beirut on 14 June that the US side will look at the final agreement between Egypt and Lebanon to evaluate the sanctions compliance of the natural gas project.

This means that Washington is linking the fate of the gas deal to the maritime dispute with Israel to exert additional pressure on Lebanon.

On 14 October, 2020 – just two months after the Beirut port blast which severed the primary transportation route for seaborne Lebanese imports – Lebanon and Israel began the long-awaited US-mediated talks to demarcate their maritime borders, under the supervision of the UN.

The framework agreement announced by both countries at the time was the most serious attempt to resolve the maritime dispute and secure gas drilling operations through diplomatic means.

However, there are many challenges that can slow or even derail these negotiations.

According to Lebanese estimates, the country has 96 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and 865 million barrels of oil offshore, and is in urgent need to begin drilling to save its ailing economy.

Israel is also in hurry to resolve this dispute as it wants to finalize the negotiations before September 2022, when the Karish gas rig is expected to begin production. The concern is that if a deal is not signed by then, Hezbollah may take action to halt Israel’s extraction altogether – until Lebanon is able to extract its own fuel from those waters.

Resolution or conflict

Last month, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah reiterated warnings against Tel Aviv in the event that Lebanon is prevented from extracting its own resources in the Med. “When things reach a dead-end, we will not only stand in the face of Karish… Mark these words: we will reach Karish, beyond Karish, and beyond, beyond Karish,” he cautioned.

Initially, Lebanon took a maximalist position on its maritime borders with Israel: the main dispute was around the percentage both countries should share in the disputed 860 square kilometers, which covers Lebanon’s offshore gas Blocks 8, 9 and 10.

It is worth mentioning that Lebanon does not enter these negotiations from a position of strength and is in dire economic need to unlock foreign aid and begin the flow of potential gas revenues.

Meanwhile, the arrival this summer of the British-based Energean, an oil and gas exploration company, which will begin a drilling operation close to the Karish gas field, has sparked tensions between both countries, prompting US envoy Hochstein to race back to the region on 13 June.

In order to provide Lebanon with some much-needed leverage and accelerate negotiations, Hezbollah dispatched three drones towards the Karish gas field on 2 July. The operation sought several results: to test Israeli military responses to the drones, to scare off the private company contractors working on the rig, and to motivate both Tel Aviv and Washington to step up and strike a deal.

The operation achieved its goals. Israel’s military now can’t rule out the possibility that the Lebanese resistance movement will launch additional attacks on the gas field in the near future, or provoke Israel in a different manner – if the maritime dispute is not ironed out, and soon.

Beyond the Mediterranean Sea

The negotiations have also been impacted by international developments, chiefly, the war in Ukraine and the growing energy crisis in Europe. Sweeping western economic sanctions on Moscow’s economic interests have dried up Russian exports to the continent, driving Europe to seek alternative sources of energy, few of which are readily available.

In May 2022, the US and EU unveiled a plan to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and in June, the EU and Israel signed an agreement to export Israeli gas to Europe. These external factors have further motivated the US and Israel to hasten the negotiation process with Lebanon, all of which are overshadowed by the aforementioned US pressure on the Lebanese government.

Energy expert Laury Haytayan believes that linking Lebanon to regional energy projects makes it harder for Lebanon to go to war with Israel. Haytayan told The Cradle: “Lebanon needs gas, Israel needs stability, and the US wants to give both what they want.”

It is important to recognize that a final maritime demarcation agreement also means defusing the tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border, which may require a broader US-Iranian agreement, something that is unlikely in the short term.

If the gas deal is successful and the US approves the Egyptian energy exports, the move will only increase US leverage over Lebanon when it comes to future negotiations on energy security.

It is in Lebanon’s interest to ensure that one party, the US, does not continue to hold all the cards related to its vital fuel needs. A recent offer from Iran to supply the country with monthly free fuel was tacitly accepted by Lebanon’s prime minister and energy minister, but needs work. Other states have offered to build power generation plants to enhance the nation’s infrastructure and efficiency.

But with Lebanon so deeply affected by Washington’s whims – and punishments – it isn’t at all certain that the country can steer itself to these more independent options.

The US and Israel have never been this highly incentivized to solve the maritime dispute. If the deal fails, Hezbollah may proceed with military action, especially before the conclusion of political ally President Michel Aoun’s term this Fall.

Furthermore, the gas issue may turn into a contentious domestic political issue ahead of Israel’s November parliamentary elections. In that instance too, a military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah may be triggered.

The only solution is to strike a deal, get gas flowing, and avert war. Will saner minds prevail, or will the region’s high-stakes geopolitical competition continue to escalate blindly? More importantly, can Washington bear to allow Lebanon the breathing space after three years of severe economic pressure to control Beirut’s political decisions?

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | 2 Comments

Israel ‘yields to Lebanon’s maritime demands’ as Hezbollah-set deadline approaches

Press TV – August 19, 2022

Israel has reportedly yielded to Lebanon’s full maritime demands over the disputed waters and gas fields, asking the Arab country for extra time to finalize a deal.

According to a report by Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on August 19, the regime sent a message to Hezbollah through diplomatic channels, saying it accepts Lebanon’s full demands.

Israel has pledged to acknowledge that Line 23 and the Qana prospect field are in Lebanese territory while also pleading with Hezbollah to set aside potential plans to attack Israeli gas fields in case of a delayed deal, the report added.

Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has already rejected any delays in the case as Lebanon is going through dire economic conditions. “Time is short, and depending on the [Israeli] response, we will surely act,” he said in a speech during Ashura mourning procession.

Hezbollah had set a deadline for Lebanon to secure its rights over the disputed areas, which will expire on September 15.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported an Israeli official is set to make a trip to the United States to discuss the dispute in the hopes of achieving an agreement.

According to Al-Akhbar, some firms have warned Israel they would withdraw their employees and facilities in case the regime fails to guarantee their safety.

Nasrallah had earlier said the Israeli regime would not be allowed to conduct drilling operations for oil and natural gas in the disputed area in the Mediterranean Sea until Lebanon gets what it deserves.

“Lebanon is facing a historic and golden opportunity to get out of its financial crisis. If we fail to take advantage of it, we would not be able to extract oil within the next 100 years. We are not looking for moral gains out of extraction in the Karish natural gas field. We rather want to tap into our oil reserves. There would, therefore, be no room for oil or gas extraction in the entire region if Lebanon does not get its right,” Nasrallah said at a local event in Beirut on July 19.

Lebanese politicians hope commercially viable hydrocarbon resources off Lebanon’s coast could help the debt-ridden country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.

In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for drilling in two blocks in the Mediterranean with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, Eni, and Novatek.

Lebanon and Israel took part in indirect talks to discuss demarcation in 2020. But the talks stalled after Lebanon demanded a larger area, including part of the Karish gas field, where Israel has given exploration rights to a Greek firm.

The talks were supposed to discuss a Lebanese demand for 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of territory in the disputed maritime area, according to a map sent to the United Nations in 2011. However, Lebanon then said the map was based on erroneous calculations and demanded 1,430 square kilometers (552 square miles) more further south, including part of Karish.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Hezbollah warns Israel against targeting Palestinians in Lebanon

MEMO | August 9, 2022

The head of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, today warned against any Israeli attempts to expand their targeting of Palestinian resistance members to Lebanon, Reuters reported.

“Any attack on any human being will not go unpunished or unanswered,” Nasrallah said in a televised address marking Ashura, a commemoration for Shia Muslims of the killing of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)’s grandson Hussein.

The comments came after Israel launched a war against Gaza on Friday, killing 44 Palestinians including 15 children. It also killed senior Islamic Jihad leaders. The bombing was halted late on Sunday under the terms of an Egypt-brokered ceasefire.

On Saturday, Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz hinted at the possible targeting of Islamic Jihad officials abroad, who he said could be seen in “restaurants and hotels in Tehran, Syria and Lebanon”.

“They too will have to pay the price,” Gantz said. Yesterday he said Israel could carry out “pre-emptive strikes” abroad.

“In the future too, if necessary, we will deliver a pre-emptive strike in order to defend Israel’s citizens, sovereignty and infrastructure and this is true for all fronts, from Tehran to Khan Yunis,” he said.

Tensions between Hezbollah and Israel have been escalating in recent months over a disputed maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.

August 9, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Hezbollah Releases Coordinates of Israeli Platforms in Mediterranean: “Within Our Reach”

Al-Manar | July 31, 2022

Hezbollah’s Military Media Department released on Sunday video showing the Israeli platforms operating in the Mediterranean, warning the Zionist enemy of its attempts to plunder Lebanon’s gas and oil fields.

The video shows surveillance scenes taken from land and air, some form yesterday, for Israeli vessels at the Karish field near the Lebanese maritime borders.

Starting with Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s warning that “procrastination is useless”, the video shows Hezbollah’s anti-ship missile readying to be launched.

The footage included detailed coordinates of Israeli platforms, showing their names and locations.

The one-minute-video, which includes subtitles in Hebrew, concluded by “within our reach”, referring to previous threats by Sayyed Nasrallah that all Israeli platforms and targets are within the reach of the Lebanese Resistance missiles.

The video was released just hours before the US’ so-called ‘mediator’ Amos Hochstein arrives in Lebanon, probably holding a message from the Zionist entity concerning the maritime border talks and gas extraction.

Sayyed Nasrallah earlier this month, warned the Israeli enemy that if Lebanon is prevented to extract oil and gas off its shore then the Zionist regime won’t be able to do so.

Video

July 31, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 3 Comments

Hezbollah rejected US support offer to stop confrontation with Israel: Nasrallah

Press TV – July 22, 2022

In a rare interview recorded some 20 years ago and aired this week, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says the resistance movement rejected American offers of money and support that were made in exchange for its elimination from the Arab-Israeli conflict equation.

Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen channel is airing a five-part documentary series dubbed “40 and Beyond” about Hezbollah. The series comes on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Hezbollah as well as the 30th anniversary of the election of Nasrallah as the head of the movement. The episodes include an unseen interview of Nasrallah with Ghassan Ben Jeddou, current CEO of al-Mayadeen.

In the third episode of the series, Nasrallah says the United States made several offers to Hezbollah after the liberation of southern Lebanon and western Bekaa in 2000, aiming at neutralizing the movement and eliminating it from the Arab-Israeli conflict equation.

The United States was trying to convince Hezbollah that Shebaa farms were not worth a conflict and that the issue could be resolved through dialogue, Nasrallah said.

According to the top resistance figure, what the United States was offering in exchange for the movement’s neutralization included working out a solution about the issue of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli prisons, recognizing Hezbollah’s political role and its inclusion of Hezbollah into the government, providing the resistance with a significant financial aid to rebuild the liberated areas, and removing Hezbollah from the so-called terror list.

Washington was also asking the Lebanese movement to abandon its military and financial support for the Palestinian Intifada, said Nasrallah.

These offers, he said, were strongly rejected by Hezbollah because the movement sought to help the Palestinians and considered Israel a permanent threat to Lebanon’s security.

American authorities repeated the same offers after 9/11 following its declaring of war against organizations it recognizes as terrorists, added the resistance leader.

Hezbollah was established following the 1982 Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon. Since then, the popular resistance group has grown into a powerful military force.

The resistance group fought off two Israeli wars against Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, forcing a humiliating retreat upon the regime’s military in both wars. The movement has vowed to resolutely defend Lebanon in case of another Israeli war.

In an interview with Iran’s Arabic-language al-Alam news network in early January 2022, Nasrallah also pointed to the offer by the United States to turn its back on Palestine and end confrontation with the occupying regime.

“Previously, they (the Americans) sent us a delegation on behalf of Dick Cheney to negotiate a halt in our support for Palestine and attacks against Israel. In return, they said that they would pay us billions of dollars and even allow us to have our weapons, an offer which we naturally opposed,” he said.

Lebanon and the occupying entity are technically at war since the latter has kept the Arab country’s Shebaa Farms under occupation since 1967.

“We do not recognize the existence of Israel. This is the land of Palestine,” Nasrallah said.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah: If Lebanon is denied its oil and gas resources, we will shut down all Israeli platforms

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on July 13, 2022, on Biden’s visit to the Middle East and the border dispute between Lebanon and Israel over the Karish maritime gas field.

Source: almanar.com.lb Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

[…] Now I come to the main point of my speech tonight. One of the results of the July (2006) war is the establishment of a balance of deterrence in the struggle against the Israeli enemy, between Lebanon and the enemy entity. These equations, this balance… Of course, I am not talking about a balance of forces in terms of the number of our respective soldiers, our respective naval power or our respective air forces. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a balance of deterrence, a balance of fear, a balance of terror. It’s a different kind of equation (than a strict balance of power).

For the past 16 years, that is, from 2006 to the present, Lebanon has enjoyed an excellent security situation with regard to the fight against the Israeli enemy, if we compare it to what used to happen before. The enemy has been unable to include Lebanon in its strategy of “the battle between wars” (conducting episodic strikes without starting a war, as it does in Syria), and Israel thinks a thousand times before taking any military action against Lebanon, knowing that there would be retaliation (from Hezbollah). That is why when Israel tries to do something (in Lebanon), it tries to carry out security operations (against Hezbollah) trying as much as possible not to leave any footprints, any traces (of its involvement). This achievement (of the Resistance) is still valid.

In this regard, before the episode of the drones (sent by Hezbollah over the Israeli gas platform in Karish), after my (last) speech about Israel’s exploitation of the Karish field (claimed by Lebanon; Hezbollah promised to prevent Israel from extracting gas from it, even if it means war), the enemy War Minister… Of course, all Israeli officials spoke out to threaten, promise (retaliation), etc, but in these days of commemoration of the 2006 war, I only want to comment on one sentence of the Minister of War [Benny] Gantz. He said, and I quote you his words, “We are ready for war, and if necessary, we will march again on Beirut, Sidon and Tyre.” I’ll just comment on that sentence before I continue. In short, Gantz knows very well that such words are pure mockery, and that he is lying to himself, to his people and to his peers. All Israelis know that this is just empty rhetoric that carries absolutely no weight. Yes, anyone in Israel can say that they are going to bomb, destroy Lebanon, etc. I am not saying that they are incapable of doing this: on the contrary, it is ALL they are capable of. In all the wars against Gaza, all they have done is air strikes, missile strikes, artillery strikes, nothing else. The only time they made a ground incursion into Gaza, they suffered a disaster, and even had prisoners taken (by Hamas)! And even in the recent military maneuvers they dubbed “Chariots of Fire”, the entire operation towards Gaza was based on firepower, not on a ground incursion.

So you (Israelis), who, faced with a Gaza under siege for 15 years, whose geography is flat, whose conditions are (so) difficult, and whose weapons are largely produced locally, do not even dare to take a few steps forward, you claim to invade Lebanon and reach Tyre, Saida and Beirut? You are completely mistaken if you make the same calculations as 20, 30 or 40 years ago, as if the situation (today) was the same (as when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982). In any case, I advise Gantz to review his case, and in particular to review the last days of the 2006 war, when the Israelis took the decision to enter the town of Bint Jbeil, which is very close to the international border (between Lebanon and Israel). Let him review in particular the number of elite troops that participated, the generals that participated, the tank battalions that participated, the size of the forces that participated, the artillery and aerial firepower, the missile strikes, the planes, the helicopters, etc. They destroyed most of the city, besieged it, and left only one exit route for the fighters to flee. But the fighters did not flee, and the opposite happened: more (Hezbollah) fighters entered Bint Jbeil. The situation was quite different (from what Israel imagined). And Israel’s goal may not even have been to occupy the whole city of Bint Jbeil, but only to reach the stadium where I gave the spider’s web speech (on May 25, 2000) and plant the Israeli flag there. And even that you were unable to do! And this during the last days of the war, when, in your eyes, the (Hezbollah) fighters would be exhausted and weakened by the bombing, with low morale, etc. But such is the experience of Bint Jbeil, the closest city to occupied Palestine (it was a resounding failure for Israel).

Therefore, to claim that Israel will reach Saida, Tyre and Beirut is a preposterous statement, and I believe that all Lebanese have laughed at this statement and these threats. Those days (when Israel could occupy our capital) are well and truly over. And that is why we need not fear anything on this side in the ongoing border dispute between Lebanon and Israel: Israel is threatening us with invasion, but what could it possibly invade? During the 33 days of the 2006 war, it remained at the gates of Ayt al-Chab and our other villages at the border, without being able to enter them. Israel tried to enter Maroun al-Ras for 3 days, despite the fact that there were only a small number of fighters there, (but failed).

I only want to confirm, regarding the lessons and teachings of the 2006 war for the future, especially regarding South Lebanon and the Israeli claim to carry out a ground incursion there, that today, the popular support (for the Resistance) is different from that of 1982: the masses overwhelmingly support the Resistance and embrace it (totally). The organization of the Resistance is very large, and has no comparable precedent, both in terms of its numbers and its military capabilities and power. Likewise, the will to fight, the spirit of resistance, and this is what counts most, is stronger and higher than ever before. Not to mention the (mountainous) geography of Lebanon (conducive to guerrilla warfare). The geography is with the Resistance, the people are with the Resistance, the capabilities are with the Resistance, the Resistance is with the Resistance, and first and last, God the Most High and Exalted is with the Resistance. It is He who has given it victory in the past, and it is He who will give it victory at any time in the future. God never fails in His promise, and He gives victory to those who fight in His way [Quran, XXII, 40].

The third point is the issue of oil and gas. One of the consequences of the 2006 war is that it demonstrated the power of the Resistance to protect Lebanon. A new equation (of deterrence) was imposed, I just mentioned it. The protection of Lebanon, its territory, its population, its national security —I’m not talking about the security of the Lebanese society, currently in crisis— in the fight against the Israeli enemy, its natural resources, etc. All this —and I am beginning to be very precise in my remarks— constitutes the only strength that Lebanon has in order to obtain its rights to the oil and gas deposits, to extract them and to sell them. There are several key points in this matter.

First, no Lebanese questions the fact that the golden opportunity to save Lebanon is to extract its oil and gas. When I talk about saving Lebanon, I am talking about saving the State, the majority of whose public services are suspended. Salaries and services are insufficient, but the State is unable to remedy this. Tomorrow, if the Central Bank’s reserves run out, even the salaries of civil servants may not be paid. There will be no more subsidies for medicines, flour, etc. The State is on the verge of collapse, and the country is heading towards an extremely difficult and even critical situation. What else? Even if reforms are carried out, I have already mentioned it but I want to repeat it, the conditions imposed by the IMF for the granting of a 3 billion dollar loan (are draconian), and such a sum cannot meet Lebanon’s (enormous) needs. Someone told me that it doesn’t matter if the IMF gives only $3 billion, what matters is that if this loan is granted, it will give more confidence in Lebanon, and then an international conference can be organized to help Lebanon. Very well, but what can we expect from it? $10, $11, $12 billion, like the CEDRE Conference, the majority of which will be loans, and therefore new debts for Lebanon, with very strict conditions. Will this solve Lebanon’s problems? Lebanon’s problems are much more important than that.

There is a second option, which does not bring $3 billion in debts, nor $11 billion in debts, but hundreds of billions of dollars that will be our property, with which we will be able to pay our debts, pay [and increase] the salaries of civil servants, subsidize medicines, flour, find financing to revive the economy, etc. Because in fact, the lifting of subsidies on gasoline and fuel has not revived anything. The only existing and dignified way of salvation for the Lebanese is the exploitation of our oil and gas: no other way has appeared until now.

The second point is that the golden opportunity is now. It is now, during these two months. And now there are less than two months left, what’s left of July and August, into September, early September, the first week of September —I’ll spell it out in detail. We have a golden opportunity now. Why do I say golden opportunity? If there was no war between Russia and Ukraine, there would not be this (urgent) need of Europe and the United States for gas and oil. I don’t mean that they will import gas and oil from Lebanon, because to install sea platforms, extract hydrocarbons and sell them, it takes years. But Lebanon’s strength is that it can be a problem, an obstacle to the Israeli enemy, to the Israeli entity, and create a problem in the whole region that will prevent the extraction of gas and oil (in the Mediterranean), and will prevent the sale of gas and oil to Europe. Because these people are in a panic situation, they have no choice and they have no time. And I explained that Biden came to the Middle East in the first place for that (to convince the Gulf countries to increase their oil and gas production). They absolutely need oil and gas now.

And that’s why Israel rushed to exploit the Karish field. Why do I say that everything is being played out in these two months? Because now is the time to find alternative oil and gas for Europe [before winter], and this is the time required by the company [Energean] to start extracting oil and gas from Karish. This is our window of opportunity. If this two-month period passes and Lebanon has not obtained its rights, the situation will be very difficult, and it will be infinitely harder to obtain our rights. If we have to get our rights after the extraction of oil and gas has started in Karish, it will cost us much more. It is up to you to understand what I mean. The price we have to pay will be much higher. That is why I said in my last speech that time is running out, that it is crucial to act as soon as possible (before it is too late), without specifying exactly how long. But now the Israelis themselves, and the world with them, say that the extraction of oil and gas in Karish will begin in September. This is the critical period we are facing. The Lebanese officials, the Lebanese State and all the Lebanese people must do everything to take advantage of this golden time, this golden opportunity.

Do not allow the Americans to fool you, to procrastinate and to play the game of temporization. I was very affected to hear (Lebanese) officials say that with the grace of God, the (maritime border agreement between Israel and Lebanon) will be concluded in September. It will be too late! In September, it will be too late. If you don’t get your rights before September, and if you don’t agree on the maritime border before September, and the US and the UN have not recognized Lebanon’s rights, after this two-month period, things will be much harder and the price will be much higher. Of course, we would not give up on the issue, but it will be very hard and very costly. That’s how you have to make your calculations. Maybe if you let these two months pass, you (Lebanese officials) will not get anything, except by paying a very high price (war). Don’t let the US fool you. Don’t give any credence to the honeyed words of the Americans. The proof is that it will soon be a year since I announced, on the tenth day of Muharram, the arrival of a cargo of fuel from Iran, and the American ambassador promised the Lebanese people gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan, as well as a waiver on the (American) Caesar sanctions, as well as a loan from the World Bank to Lebanon. It will be a year next month. What have we seen of all this? Nothing. Delegations have come and gone, ministers have met, Lebanese, Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian signatures have been put on documents, thank you very much, but nothing happened. A few days ago, the Lebanese Minister of Energy came back from Egypt and said that the Egyptians are finally ready (to export their gas to Lebanon), thank God all this is over, but we are still waiting for the American waiver on Caesar sanctions and the World Bank loan. Nothing has progressed at this level, after a whole year! Egypt had no problem (selling us its gas), and never had any issue since the beginning, for years, just as Jordan has no problem selling us its electricity: the problem is the American veto. The problem is the American veto. It is clear what value the Lebanese people, drowned in crisis and shortage, have in the eyes of the Americans: they refuse to waive the Caesar sanctions and allow Egyptian gas to be exported to Lebanon via Syria, as well as Jordanian electricity. They have, however, made a waiver for Iraq, which imports gas from Iran while Iranian oil and gas are subject to US sanctions. Iraq is allowed to import Iranian gas for its electricity. When the US occupied Afghanistan, it granted a waiver to the Afghan government under its control, allowing it to buy oil, gas and oil derivatives from Iran. But nothing like that for Lebanon, after a whole year, when Lebanon needs more than ever even one (extra) hour of electricity, during this summer, this very summer. And winter is coming.

Those United States who are unable to waive their Caesar sanctions for Lebanon, why would they grant you your maritime rights, your borders, the Qana field, and allow Total and other (Western) companies to start extracting oil and gas from Lebanon? For whose sake would they do so? Should we rely on their ethics and good manners? This individual whom you call an American intermediary [Amos Hochstein], but whom we call judge and jury, because he works in Israel’s interest and puts pressure on Lebanon. The Americans came a long time ago, and even when [Hochstein] came recently, in my opinion, his attitude was inappropriate, both in terms of form and substance: in terms of form, during his meeting [with Lebanese officials], he was laughing, joking, and mocking, and in terms of substance, he did not recognize any rights for Lebanon. He considered that it was not a matter of rights, because (in his opinion) there is no way to enforce this right, but that it is only a matter of negotiations, of an agreement that must be reached according to what both parties will accept. He did not behave in a serious and promising manner either in substance or in form.

And basically, why did Hochstein come? When, a few years ago, the Americans came and established the Hof line, and then turned their backs on us for years, Lebanon stood by and waited (for an agreement on the maritime borders), while Israel explored (the maritime deposits), etc. Some (Lebanese) still tell us that Israel is exploring Karish: but my dear, the exploration in Karish is long over! They are now getting ready to extract gas from Karish. They are digging and getting ready (for extraction), while we sit around waiting for negotiations. Then Hochstein came along, and he proposed a line of demarcation. I don’t know what he called it, let’s call it the Hochstein line. He imposed it as something non-negotiable, and then turned around and ran off, telling the Lebanese officials that as soon as they had an answer, they should send it to him in writing. What brought Hochstein back for his recent visit? Two things. Let’s be specific. He did not come back for the sake of anyone in Lebanon, nor for the sake of the Lebanese State, nor for the sake of anyone else. He came for two reasons. First, the US need for oil and gas for Europe, as I just explained. Because the situation is very difficult and even critical due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, which has been pressing on their throats for several months. This is the first new point: the urgent need to get a replacement (for Russian oil and gas), and this is the point on which we can put pressure on the United States. I don’t want to describe it as a weak point, but as an urgent American-Israeli-Western need. And the second reason is the real point of strength in Lebanon: Hochstein came back because he saw the threats from Hezbollah. Listen to me: without the Resistance’s threats (to strike Karish), if there was no Resistance, if he did not know that the Resistance has drones, precision missiles, and air, sea and land (military) capabilities, if he did not know that the Resistance had the courage and audacity to threaten, act and do (what it promises), Hochstein would not have come: he would have said that he had already given us a line of demarcation, and that he was waiting for an answer (from Lebanon) that never came. This is the reason why Hochstein came because the oil and gas of Karish was threatened, and much more than that, as I will explain.

In sum, Lebanon is now facing an adversary, or rather an enemy that has a weak point, namely the pressing and urgent need for gas and oil that it wants to import from the (enemy) entity. For he cannot import oil and gas from Lebanon at the moment, but we can prevent Israel from extracting and exporting oil and gas, which is our point of strength. Lebanon’s strong point is that it has a Resistance, capable of preventing and prohibiting any extraction of gas and oil (in the Mediterranean). We are able to do this. When it goes to negotiations, like any country that goes to negotiations, Lebanon must have points of strength (to assert its rights). What are the main cards that Lebanon can play? What strengths can it bring to the table? Can it take advantage of the presence of the Arab League or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at its side [laughs]? The UN? The Security Council? From Europe? Whose support can Lebanon claim? Lebanon, like the Syrian, Palestinian and Yemeni peoples, is left to its own devices. This is the fate of all oppressed peoples. Lebanon must therefore seek its inside strength (and not an illusory external support). The only strength of Lebanon, with which I began my remarks, is Hezbollah. It is the only one. If someone claims that there is another one, let him present it to us: we are not stubborn and are willing to learn. The only strong point in Lebanon is the Resistance and the actions of the Resistance. Even the United States is not a neutral intermediary, it is judge and jury: all it wants is an agreement that will give maximum gains to Israel at the expense of Lebanon. This is their real goal. The personality of the intermediary is not important, it is the fundamental policy of the United States that Biden has come to pursue, as he announced as soon as he arrived at the airport (in Tel Aviv). This is our only point of strength, and it is on this basis that we must move forward.

I want to address the Lebanese leaders without commenting on everything that has been said so far. I want to be constructive. Some Lebanese officials are convinced —whether they have said so publicly or not, they say it during internal meetings— they are convinced that the strength of Lebanon is the Resistance and the threats of the Resistance. Some officials may not be convinced of this, or at least they are afraid to state it clearly. I do not want to go into these details. I only want to say to the Lebanese leaders: this single strong point in your hands, use it! I say to you myself, in the name of the Resistance, use us! Instrumentalize us! Take advantage of us! As you like! When you sit down with the Americans and the Europeans, with the UN and with the whole world, tell them what you want! Insult us if you want, but don’t totally dissociate yourself from us of course. Insult us, no problem! Tell them that this group (Hezbollah) doesn’t listen to anyone, is out of control, and can lead the whole region to the abyss! Say what you want [to get Lebanon’s rights, even if you denigrate us when you recall our threats]! I invite you publicly to do so! Say it! And this is not psychological warfare. The Americans and the Israelis know that we are not waging psychological warfare on this issue, but are deadly serious. Let me give you some details about this. We are very serious. The Lebanese negotiators have one trump card to play, and that is Hezbollah. When we sent the drones over Karish, you should have said, “You see? These people are out of control and capable of anything! They don’t listen to anyone and can lead the whole region to the abyss [if they don’t get what they want]! So please, solve this problem and give Lebanon its legitimate rights!” This is what I wanted to confirm tonight.

After the episode of the drones (sent by Hezbollah over the Karish field), which I will talk about a bit, I heard some officials say that this action violates the agreement (allegedly made between Hezbollah and the government). What agreement are you talking about? Who made an agreement with whom? If someone makes agreements without our knowledge, that’s his problem. But we, Hezbollah, have not made any agreement with anyone, nor have we promised anyone that we would not do anything and that we would wait for the outcome of negotiations. Not at all. And whoever tells the Americans or anyone else that Hezbollah will do nothing, that it will not take any action, neither in the past, nor in the present, nor in the future, whoever makes such promises is deceiving his interlocutors and lying to himself, while squandering Lebanon’s interests. Instead of giving them guarantees and trying to reassure them, you have to scare them! Because this is your only strong point! It is your only card to play! If you reassure them, they will turn their heels, waste our time, and stall for these two months, just as they have been laughing at you for a year with their promises of Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity. On the contrary, we must not only scare them, but even make them shake with terror!

Secondly, some have asked how Hezbollah can take the initiative to send drones when it claims to stand behind the State? You have misunderstood us, my dear! We are behind the State in the demarcation of the maritime borders! This is a matter in which we do not want to interfere. This does not mean that if the State accepts such and such a demarcation line, we will also sign, no! We do not interfere in any way. We are neither with nor against. We do not want to participate in the demarcation of maritime borders, as I have already explained in the past, and I do not want to explain it again. We do not participate in it for reasons of principle, ideology, culture, morality and tactics. When we say that we are behind the State on the issue of the maritime borders, it means that we do not want to interfere in this issue. When we say we are behind the State, it means that it is the Lebanese State that is negotiating the borders, not us. Many have claimed that Hezbollah has intervened in the negotiations, and opened channels for negotiations, but these are baseless lies. We are not involved in any way. But we have never said that we [fail to] stand behind the State in terms of putting pressure on the enemy, in terms of initiatives that can serve the negotiations, etc. We have never said anything of the sort, on the contrary: we have said the opposite! I made it clear that we would not stand idly by! That is what I said. Don’t misunderstand: we have not made any commitments to anyone and will not make any commitments to anyone. We are following what is going on, and we have the right to carry out any action at any time that we deem appropriate, of the appropriate scale and in the appropriate manner to put pressure on the enemy in the interest of the negotiations and the Lebanese negotiators. Let this be clear, both for the past and for the future.

It is on this basis that we took the initiative to send the drones (over the Israeli gas platform of Karish). The goal was to gain time! There has been an (American-Israeli) response, which Lebanese officials are evaluating in different ways. There is no doubt that there is a positive step forward, I say this to be honest and factual, but it is not enough, because even what the Lebanese State asks for is not granted. We in Hezbollah are not asking for anything, because I have said that we do not interfere in this issue. They told Lebanon to wait until September. But it will be too late. And therein lies the American duplicity. That is the American duplicity. And that’s when the drones came in, the day after the response in which the duplicity and the delaying tactics were obvious: it was clear that they were fooling us. And we don’t want to be fooled. So we launched the drones, and I’m going to expand a little bit on the military aspect of this. As the Resistance statement said, we sent out 3 drones of different sizes, and unarmed. Of course, we purposely did not arm them. Even when we were discussing this decision with the brothers, we agreed that our goal was for Israel to shoot down these drones. And despite that, Israel had a hard time shooting them down, first sending in planes and then bringing in the navy, Barak (sea-to-air) missiles, etc. These are details, but I explain to you what our intention was, and this will also benefit Israel in the future. Our brothers told us that they were perfectly able to send a drone (over Karish) that would collect intelligence and return (unharmed). But we unanimously said that we wanted the drone to go over there, collect intelligence and then be shot down by Israel. Why did we want this? Because we wanted the warplanes to fire missiles. Quite frankly. We wanted warships to fire sea-to-air missiles. We wanted fire and explosions in that area, on their side, so that the ship, the engineers, the (Israeli and foreign) employees (on the Greek gas platform Energean) and everyone else knows that they are in a dangerous area, facing a real and serious threat (to their lives).

If we had sent only one drone that would have collected intelligence there and returned, we would have issued a statement to that effect, saying that a drone flew over Karish and returned unharmed with the sought-after information, but maybe some would have believed us, and others would not. But the important and undeniable event is that the drones went there and were shot down, and that Israel was forced to hit them with missiles and speak out about it. That’s why Israel spoke before us, we were waiting to see what they would say. And we sent 3 drones on purpose to make the incident more prominent, because one drone would not have made so much noise. By the way, this was the first time in the history of the Israeli entity that 3 drones were sent simultaneously. As for sending a single drone, Hezbollah has been doing this for a long time (the first known drone, named “Ayoub,” was launched over Israel in 2012) and continues to do so to this day, with Israel sometimes intercepting them. Gaza has also sent drones over occupied Palestine. Iran has also sent them once or twice, and so has Syria. But each time, the drones were sent one by one. This is the first time that 3 drones were sent simultaneously to the same target. So that’s the whole story. I should point out that we are able to send a very large number of drones simultaneously. We can send them armed or unarmed, with different types of weapons, different sizes, etc. We are capable of all of that, with God’s help. We don’t have any problem with that. We sent 3 not because we were unable to send 5 (or more), but because 3 were enough for the message we wanted to send. And we were ready for anything, depending on the reaction of Israel, we were ready to face any retaliation.

In sending these drones, our goal… There were military, security, tactical objectives, which I don’t want to talk about, but we wanted to send a message to the enemy and to the whole world. If anyone thinks (that we are bluffing)… And I say this to the Americans, because in Lebanon (and especially in the American Embassy), some stupid advisors may claim that (we are bluffing). Some may (reassure Israel and the United States) that there is nothing to fear because the situation in Lebanon is very difficult, people are choking (because of the crisis, hyperinflation and shortages), and that Hezbollah can talk and threaten, but it is only empty words, and Hezbollah will not do anything. We have read many statements, communiqués, discussions and interventions in this vein. It’s said on TV, then it’s repeated at the U.S. Embassy, and maybe the (US) officials will be fooled. But with the 3 drones, the message was clear, and it was received loud and clear. The message was clearly that we are serious, that we see this as a crucial issue, that we are not waging psychological warfare, and that we are taking actions in a progressive way (more and more serious), and we will do whatever is necessary without any hesitation. This message was well understood by Israel and the United States. Whether some Lebanese commentators have understood it or not is the least of our worries. What matters is that the enemy gets this message, because it is addressed to him in the first place. Secondly, this message is addressed to our friends, so that they know that they are in a strong position, that they do not have to be afraid or tremble. This message has been well received, and the proof is that there has been no reaction from Israel on the ground, despite the (blatant) violation of the entity’s airspace. For the issue of oil and gas is very sensitive and pressing for the Israelis, the Americans and the Europeans. And the second proof is the internal contacts that were established, and the messages that were transmitted to the Lebanese State and also to us (Hezbollah) after the drone operation. All this confirms that the message was well received and well understood.

What will happen now? I must also say two words clearly for the future. In terms of our (military) capability, the enemy must know, and they know it well, but I say this to reassure and help our friends, that our capability is multiple. By the Israelis’ own admission, they were taken aback by the drones, and had difficulty shooting them down. But we have a variety of options (to strike Karish): we have air options, sea options, and land options. All of these capabilities are effective and on the table. Playing the delaying game will not help (with us). We are capable of doing anything that will serve our cause, and we will do it every time with the right scale, at the right time and in the right way. And I repeat, Lebanon can boast of a real deterrent power (Hezbollah) capable of preventing (the extraction of Karish gas), whose existence and threats (it poses to the enemy) it must take advantage of, as well as its actions if necessary.

In this power, in these negotiations, in this issue, there are two issues (which I will clarify) so that people do not misunderstand what position to take towards them. The first issue is Lebanon’s maritime borders, on which the State is negotiating. It is expected that they will reach a result, which will be recognized by the United States and the UN. This is a first issue. But it is not enough on its own. I want to remind you that for the Israeli invasions of 1978 and 1982, the borders of Lebanon were not disputed: they were internationally recognized, by the UN and whatever you want (but it didn’t prevent Israel from invading). It is not enough to have international recognition for our maritime border and our exclusive economic zone. That is not enough. The second issue is the (American) permission that must be given to foreign companies like TOTAL, which have committed themselves to come and explore and extract Lebanese hydrocarbons. Without this, what will we have gained? If we are told that these are our maritime borders, but the American veto continues to prohibit us from exploring and extracting our resources for 10 or 20 years, we will only have a right on paper, and the maritime oil and gas will be plundered (by Israel). So the two issues must be linked and resolved together. It is not enough to be told “Here are your borders” and to forbid TOTAL and any other company in the world to come and prospect or extract Lebanese hydrocarbons. We would have gained nothing, and it would be a mockery of the world and of ourselves to claim the contrary. The (Lebanese) State would have achieved success only on paper, without it being translated into facts. Therefore, the choice that Lebanon has is to apply pressure. We must apply pressure. We must apply pressure. It is our fate that is at stake. I will now express the core of my statement and our position. This is a vital issue for us.

I want to tell our enemies and friends that we are not waging psychological warfare on this issue. We will not just talk, express our opinion and bade farewell, certainly not. We are very serious. In our eyes, this is the only way to save Lebanon as a nation, as a State with its institutions that is threatened with collapse, as a people, its present and its future. We are talking about an operation of salvation. Perhaps tomorrow someone will react to my words by saying that I am ruining the whole process of border demarcation. Someone will ask me if I want to lead the country to war. But if we continue like this, Lebanon is heading for a situation worse than war! A situation much worse than war! Just for once, let us Lebanese try to be brave, to stand up as one man and have one strong and courageous stand against the Americans and the Israelis, without evasion, without pretence and without misreading. Someone will claim that all this is aimed at influencing the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue. Since 1982, we have been hearing about Iran, Syria, etc. (to present Hezbollah as a mere satellite of Tehran or Damascus), but this is just empty talk. This has nothing to do with the Iranian nuclear issue, as the US itself has acknowledged. So let’s aim at achieving our goal (getting Lebanon’s maritime rights and saving the country), why would the Iranian nuclear issue matter to us? If we stand up as one to the Americans, both at the level of the (Lebanese) State, the people and the Resistance, and say to them, “If you do not give us the rights claimed by the State, and not by Hezbollah, and if you do not allow the companies to come and extract (our hydrocarbons), we will all cause (a terrible war) in the region. We may turn the tables on the whole world.”

There are people who want the Lebanese people to starve and kill each other in front of bakeries, gas stations, and kill each other for a bite to eat, because the Lebanese pound is worthless, as are salaries. There are people who want to destroy this country. But no (we won’t let them)! I say tonight in all frankness, if the choice is that Lebanon should not be helped —and the natural way to help it is its wealth in hydrocarbons—, and that Lebanon should be pushed towards collapse, starvation, the people killing each other, no, no, no, no (we will never allow it). War is more dignified, much more dignified. Whether it is the threat of war, or even the actual war! It is much more dignified and much more noble! The first way, which is to let things continue towards collapse, anarchy and people killing each other because of hunger, has no horizon. It has no way out. But war has a horizon. If we decide to go to war, there is a way out. It can make the enemy submit (to our demands). Maybe he will submit before the war, maybe he will submit at the beginning of the war, maybe in the middle, maybe at the end! He will submit and we will impose our conditions, and we will earn hundreds of billions of dollars (by selling our hydrocarbons), which will save the country! And whoever dies in such a war will die a martyr. It is better than dying because of a fight at the bakery, at the gas station, in a robbery or whatever. Let’s talk about it seriously. I know that tonight many voices will be raised (to denounce my speech), but I am speaking frankly.

And we have learned from experience… We hope that the national position of Lebanon will be strong and unanimous. But it is obvious that we do not expect unanimity. From 1982 to 2000, the experience of the Resistance, the parties of the Resistance and the factions of the Lebanese Resistance all declare that if we had waited for national unanimity (to fight the invader), Lebanon would still be occupied by Israel, and there would be settlements in the South, in the Western Bekaa, in Rachayya and in many other places. Lebanon would have been swallowed by Israel. We will not wait for unanimity, and we will not abandon the State. We cannot leave the State alone in such a difficult and sensitive matter.

That is why I say to the enemy tonight: let him not make a mistake in his calculations. Let the Americans and Hochstein not trick the Lebanese and try to deceive them. The Lebanese will not be fooled. The drone message is only a beginning, a modest beginning (which gives only a small glimpse) of all that we can do. If things go wrong, we will not just target Karish. We are on the anniversary of the 2006 war, so record the new equation: Karish, beyond Karish and far beyond Karish [referring to the 2006 equation promising to strike “Haifa, beyond Haifa and far beyond Haifa”]. Today, I asked the brothers concerned in Hezbollah to present me with a list of everything that is facing the Palestinian coast. We count and follow closely (the activity of) all the (oil and gas) fields, all the oil wells, all the maritime platforms, whose names we know, as well as their activity, those with operational status or not, those who are still in the exploration phase, etc. All these details are in our possession. All these details are in our possession. If you want to continue to choke Lebanon, I am not just talking about the Karish equation: the issue is much broader for us. If you want to continue to impose the equation that Lebanon is forbidden to save itself by exploiting its natural gas and oil resources, no one will be able to extract gas or oil, and no one will be able to sell gas or oil. Do you understand? Do you understand or shall I repeat myself, as they say? And this regardless of the consequences.

O Lebanese people, we have reached the end of the road. We have reached the end of the road. Whoever promises you something else, let him explain what he is promising (to save Lebanon). What is he promising? Who is going to save Lebanon? They don’t even want to give you an (extra) hour of electricity! When a simple signature of the Americans would be enough, they have nothing else to do and would not lose a penny. But they want this country to collapse, to starve, to give in and give up its rights, to be their slave. But this is impossible. Whoever wants to be a slave, good for him. But it is not for him who wants to be free to give in. In any people, in any country, in any nation, in any State, people must fundamentally have sovereignty, freedom, independence, they must enjoy their natural resources that will save their people from ignorance, illiteracy, disease, hunger… This is the situation we are in today.

In the days to come, and while Biden is present in the region —it is said that Hochstein is also present with him—, and (Israeli War Minister) Gantz said “We don’t want war, and we are ready to go very far in the way of peace and to reach an agreement about the maritime border between us and Lebanon which must be agreed upon quickly.” I exhort you (O Lebanese leaders), talk to them, let them not stall and laugh at you and fool the Lebanese. No one will laugh at us, and we will not allow anyone to fool us.

I wanted to talk about other points, such as the economic and social situation, the bread, the government, but I have already gone on too long, and I will do so in a future speech.

May God’s peace be upon you, as well as His mercy and blessings.

July 19, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 6 Comments

Israeli Generals Urge Political Command to Make Concessions to Lebanon in Maritime Conflict to Avoid Hezbollah War

Al-Manar – July 15, 2022

In light of the threats made by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah over the Zionist infringement on the Lebanese maritime borders, the Israeli media reflected calls on the government to eliminate Hezbollah pretexts to escalate the confrontation.

The US officials accompanying President Joe Biden during his visit to the occupied Palestinian territories stressed that they support the efforts exerted to reach a solution.

In this regard, the US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, “We listened to the ‘threats’, and we support reaching a solution.”

The US mediator, Amos Hochestein, told the Israeli media that he was still optimistic about achieving a solution, adding that his target concentrates on facilitating the negotiations.

Hochestein also revealed that he would visit Lebanon to meet the senior officials in the context of resuming the negotiations soon.

Meanwhile, the Zionist media reflected the Israeli circles frustration with Biden’s remarks which did not voice a clear support to ‘Israel’ pertaining the maritime border demarcation.

The Israeli army generals urged the Zionist government to avoid any escalation with Hezbollah by making concessions to Lebanon in the negotiations in order to avoid any military escalation with Hezbollah.

Sayyed Nasrallah warned on Wednesday the Israeli enemy and the United States that if Lebanon is prevented from extracting its maritime resources, none will be able to extract or sell gas and oil.

In a televised speech, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that Hezbollah military forces are monitoring all the Zionist platforms across the occupied Palestinian coast, adding that the Resistance may resort to ground, maritime or air capabilities in order to attack the enemy and secure Lebanon’s rights.

According to Sayyed Nasrallah, the new equation is Karish, what’s beyond Karish and what’s far beyond Karish.

July 15, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 1 Comment

Hezbollah: US First Side to Blame for Preventing Lebanon from Gas Drilling

Al-Manar – June 6, 2022

Head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sayyed Hashem Safieddine stressed on Sunday that the United States is the first side to blame for preventing Lebanon from gas drilling.

In a local ceremony in south Lebanon, Sayyed Safieddine said “Lebanon has potentials to extract gas and oil off its shores,” calling on the Lebanese state not to subdue to all forms of pressures exerted by foreign sides in this regards.

The Hezbollah official called on the Lebanese state to officially announce the Lebanese maritime borders and the disputed areas, “in order for the Resistance, Army and People to throng together and retrieve Lebanon’s rights regardless of the US stance.”

Sayyed Safieddine in this regard, stressed the importance of Lebanese unity in order to cope with the country’s political and economic crises.

“Resistance is the only choice to defend Lebanon’s wealth and preserve our victories,” he said in remarks carried by Al-Manar.

June 6, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | 1 Comment

Lebanon warns Israel

Samizdat | June 5, 2022

A battle over Mediterranean waters rich in natural gas deposits bubbled up on Sunday when Lebanese President Michel Aoun warned Israel that trying to tap the offshore riches without first resolving a territorial dispute would be seen as a “provocation.”

“Any action or activity in the disputed area represents a provocation and an aggressive action,” Aoun said on Sunday in a statement. He made his comments after a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel arrived in the disputed area, where London-based upstream firm Energean plans to start pumping gas from the Karish field under contract with the Israeli government later this year.

Aoun said he discussed the FPSO’s arrival with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and asked Lebanon’s Army Command to provide him “accurate and official data to build upon the matter.” Mikati called the situation “extremely dangerous,” saying Israel was trying to “create a new crisis, encroaching on Lebanon’s maritime wealth and imposing a fait accompli in a disputed area.”

Karish is located about 90km west of Haifa, close to the much larger gas fields of Leviathan and Tamar, and it holds reserves estimated at more than 300 million barrels of oil equivalent. Energean signed a contract in March to sell output from Karish to Israel Electric Co., the largest Israeli gas buyer.

Jerusalem has claimed that Karish is located in Israel’s exclusive economic zone, as recognized by the United Nations, and isn’t subject to the country’s territorial dispute with Lebanon. Aoun said negotiations to resolve the issue are continuing, and both countries have filed disputes with the UN regarding their overlapping maritime claims.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group has threatened to take action if Israel extracts fossil fuels in the disputed area without resolving the territorial impasse.

June 5, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 4 Comments

Assad renews Syria’s bonds with Iran

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | MAY 9, 2022 

The unannounced arrival of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Tehran on Sunday makes yet another wrinkle to the geopolitics of West Asia. In a short trip of a few hours, Assad had meetings with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raeisi and returned to Damascus. 

This is only the second trip by Assad to Iran in the past 11 years since the conflict erupted in Syria. The last occasion was in 2019, when he came accompanied by the charismatic commander of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force late Qassem Soleimani to mark Syria’s “victory” in the conflict. Much water has flowed down down the Euphrates and the Tigris since then. 

There is some speculation that Russia may redeploy its forces in Syria. The Israeli intelligence website DebkaFile reported cryptically on Friday that “Russian units deployed to Syria are assembling at the air bases of  Hmeimim, Qamishli, Deir e-Zor and T4, ready for some to transfer to the Ukraine warfront. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Russians are handing over key bases to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah.” 

Prima facie, this is kite-flying, so to speak. There is no independent word from Moscow. Iran will be certainly in the loop on any big Russian troop withdrawal from Syria. The Turkish air space is closed to Russian [military] planes since April and on February 28 Ankara had restricted the passage of Russian warships through the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits (unless they are returning to their bases in the Black Sea.) 

Analysts have interpreted the Turkish decisions as “anti-Russian” but they come under the ambit of Montreux Convention (1936) and on closer look, may even work to Moscow’s advantage since the door is also closed to any NATO naval build-up in the Black Sea. Russian papers have pointed out that Moscow has been using the air corridor via Iran and Iraq to supply its troops in Syria. 

Indeed, Turkey is doing a delicate trapeze act vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine, being a Black Sea power with overlapping security concerns, while also a NATO power. Turkey has deftly created space to manoeuvre since NATO is technically not at war with Russia, and since Turkey is not a EU member country, it isn’t obliged to sanction Russia, either. 

Turkish leadership has actively nurtured contacts with the Kremlin, and the economic partnership continues, including over the construction of the massive $20 billion Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (comprising four 1,200 MW VVER units), which is expected to meet ten percent of Turkey’s electricity demand when it is completed in 2025. 

Again, Russian carrier Aeroflot has just resumed flights to Turkey in anticipation of the tourist season. Believe it or not, Turkey has found an ingenuous formula to allow Russian tourists to travel to Turkey bypassing the suspension of Visa and Mastercard by making it possible to access their funds through Russia’s homegrown payments system called Mir! Some 4.7 million Russian tourists visited Turkey last year, accounting for 19% of the total tourist arrivals, fetching an annual income exceeding $10 billion. 

When it comes to Russian-Iranian relations too, the picture is broadly similar to India’s — neither supporting Russia nor opposing it while refusing to censure Russian intervention and counselling ceasefire and dialogue as the only solution. 

According to Iranian media reports, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak is due to visit Iran shortly in connection with the session of the Iran-Russia Joint Economic Committee. The discussions are expected to focus on “strengthening financial cooperation and resolving transit problems” between the two countries as well as cooperating in the fields of oil and gas and promoting trade and tourism. Tehran knows that such camaraderie with Moscow is contrary to the spirit of Western sanctions.   

Moscow has every intention to remain actively involved in Syria. Special Russian Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov disclosed to Tass last week that Russia is working on scheduling the next international meeting on Syria in the Astana format for the end of May in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Does that look like Russia washing its hands off Syria? To quote Bogdanov, “We already discussed this with partners Iran and Turkey as the guarantors of the Astana process plus with the Syrian government and opposition delegations.” 

The official Syrian news agency Sana described Assad’s trip to Tehran as a “working visit.” It quoted Assad as stressing to Khamenei about “the importance of continuing cooperation in order not to allow America to rebuild the international terrorist system that it used to harm the countries of the world,” adding that the US “is weaker than ever.”

There are four main takeaways from Assad’s talks with the Iranian leadership. First, Assad made it clear in no uncertain terms that no matter Syria’s normalisation with the UAE (or other Arab countries involved in the conflict), he continues to attribute the highest importance to Syria’s alliance with Iran. Assad underscored that Syria is ready for broader coordination with Iran in security, political and economic fields.

Second, Damascus needs Tehran’s help for finally freeing Syria from foreign occupation. Raisi told Assad, “The whole of the Syrian land must be liberated from foreign occupiers. This occupation should not be subject to the passage of time, and the occupying forces and their mercenaries should be expelled.” Sana cited Khamenei as stressing that Iran will “continue to support Syria to complete its victory over terrorism and liberate the rest of the country’s lands.” 

Third, the two countries have a consensus on the effectiveness and vibrancy of the resistance front. Assad acknowledged that the weakening of the US’ influence in West Asia and the end of Israel’s military supremacy regionally is a direct outcome of the strategic relations between Iran and Syria, “which must continue with strength.” 

Interestingly, Khamenei recalled that Soleimani had “a special liking towards Syria and literally sacrificed his life” for that country and viewed the issue of Syria as a “sacred duty and obligation”. Khamenei reminded Assad poignantly, “This bond is vital for both countries and we should not let it weaken. On the contrary, we should strengthen it as much as possible.” Raisi called Assad “one of the figures of the Resistance Front” like his father Hafez al-Assad.

Fourth, Assad sought and obtained assurances from the highest level of Iranian leadership that Iran will help Syria overcome its difficulties. This is particularly crucial at a juncture when regional politics is in flux and Russia is preoccupied in Ukraine. 

A resuscitation of the US-led regime change project in Syria is not to be expected and Washington no longer wields commanding influence over its Persian Gulf allies or Turkey to get them to act as its surrogates. But Assad’s challenge is that Syria is getting relegated to the back burner as new hotspots and topical issues draw the region’s attention — such as JCPOA, Yemen, Iran-Saudi normalisation, OPEC+, etc. 

Although the conflict has ended, Syria still remains under foreign occupation and its economy is in ruins. A frozen conflict may legitimise the status quo. Meanwhile, Israel is waiting in the wings. Assad’s visit to Tehran signals that Iran remains the mainstay of Syria’s future strategy to avoid such a dismal fate. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian affirmed on Monday that Assad’s visit was held in an atmosphere of “fraternity and friendship,” and it opens a new chapter in the strategic ties.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment