Lebanon: Nasrallah vows not to use arms against political opponents
Lebanon's Hizbullah commemorated the eighth anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day in a huge rally at Beirut's southern suburb. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked from across Lebanon into the Raya playground in the Sfeir region. Representatives of President Michel Suleiman and House Speaker Nabih Berri attended the rally.
Hizbullah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah appeared on a huge screen and delivered a special speech. The Shiite leader set the record politically by calling for renewing the example of slain premier Rafik Hariri who had backed the nation's economy, supported Hizbullah's resistance politically, but was assassinated by a car bomb in 2005, shortly after backing calls for withdrawal of Syria's army from Lebanon.
"I reaffirm the Doha agreement clause that prevents the use of weapons to achieve political gains," Nasrallah told his supporters. "The resistance weapons are to be used in fighting the enemy, liberate lands and prisoners, and defend Lebanon and nothing else," Nasrallah said.
"State weapons … should defend the nation, the people and their rights … but cannot be used to settle accounts with a political opponent. State arms cannot be used to target the resistance and its arms," he added.
"All weapons should serve the purpose for which they were organized," Nasrallah added.
He declared support for the Doha Accord and vowed to facilitate the mission of President Michel Suleiman as well as the formation of a national unity government I n which the Hizbullah-led opposition has veto powers.
Nasrallah said Hizbullah does not seek to control Lebanon or subdue other factions. The Hizbullah-led opposition, according to Nasrallah, took part in the Doha Accord to salvage Lebanon, prevent a civil war and prevent a war between "the army and the resistance."
"They speak of a coup and bringing back Syria into Lebanon. They also said that Hizbullah is fighting for the sake of Iran's nuclear program. When the 'government' revoked its two black decisions the opposition proved in Doha that it does not want to monopolize power and did not raise the ceiling of demands. We went there to save Lebanon from sedition...We did not employ what happened recently in politicas and we did not ask for political gains. Isn't this enough for those who accuse us of dreaming of power and authority? From the pride Dahiyeh, I renew my call for a national partnership where there is no victor and no vanquished…Hizbullah does not want power over Lebanon, nor does it want to control Lebanon or govern the country for we believe that Lebanon is a special, pluralistic country. The existence of this country only comes about through coexistence, and this is what we are demanding," he said.
"I say that there are deep wounds on both sides, so either we irritate the wounds or we swathe them. I suggest the second option. We should draw lessons. Let us postpone this until the wounds are healed and a new phase in the country begins," Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah said Hizbullah lost 14 "martyrs" in recent clashes, noting that its allies, mainly Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's Amal Movement, the Syrian Social National Party and others also sustained casualties. "We have lost 14 martyrs whom we are proud of, and there are martyrs from the Lebanese Brigades to Resist the Occupation, the Amal Movement, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Democratic Party and other opposition loyalists from all religions. We are proud of all these martyrs. We feel the pain of the victims of the other side as well. The comfort to the families of both sides is that the blood of their children saved Lebanon from the dark tunnel," Sayyed Nasrallah concluded.
Deal with Israel?
Meanwhile, Israeli sources said Monday that Israel and Hizbullah had struck a deal securing the release of two Israeli soldiers captured by the Lebanon-based group in a July 2006 cross border raid that sparked the summer 2006 war. The sources explained that in exchange for the captives, Israel would free Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese fighter currently imprisoned in Israel for the 1979 killing of an Israeli family, an Israeli citizen jailed for espionage on Hizbullah's behalf and four other Hizbullah men captured by Israel during the 2006 war. The deal reportedly will also include the return of the remains of ten Lebanese, currently held by Israel, to Hizbullah.
In his Monday's speech, Nasrallah hinted that a prisoner swap would soon be completed, saying that Kuntar would soon be freed.