Key excerpts from Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s latest speech surrounding the Port of Beirut disaster several days earlier.
Source: Various networks
Date: 7 August, 2020
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Hezbollah chose to view all forms of support & visits to Lebanon positively
We look positively at every form of help and (show of) empathy – and every visit to Lebanon – during these days, especially if it comes within the context of helping Lebanon, or is aimed at calling for unity, cooperation and dialogue between the Lebanese. When we view such visits, we wish to focus on the positive side to them. Now, perhaps some may call for caution, or express concerns or fears. We prefer to view such visits during this current stage in terms of their positive aspects…
An opportunity for Lebanon to exit from state of isolation & difficulty?
Thus, the international and foreign scene was positive in general, and empathetic, and I believe that this also opens up an opportunity before Lebanon, both at the state level and in relation to its people, perhaps there is an opportunity – and I will get back to this later – for (Lebanon to receive) support or for opening up a door from which (the country) can exit from the state of isolation and difficulty that Lebanon was suffering from during the previous period.
Hezbollah categorically denies ever using Port of Beirut for arms-related matters
I wish to affirm today, in a certain, absolute, decisive, categorical and firm manner, that there is nothing that exists for us at the Port (of Beirut). There (was) neither a weapons stockpile, nor a missile stockpile, nor a (single) missile, nor a rifle, nor a bomb, nor a bullet, nor (any amounts of ammonium) nitrate, there is nothing of this sort at all, neither a ‘warehouse’ nor anything else. Neither is there anything now, nor was there anything in the past. Absolutely nothing of this sort (exists) at all. And in any case, soon the results of the investigation will confirm (this reality).
Hezbollah has more knowledge of Port of Haifa than Port of Beirut!
We neither administer the port (of Beirut), nor do we control it, nor do we interfere in it, nor do we know what was going on in the port, nor do we know what was present in the port. Some people said: ‘is it possible that you know about the Port of Haifa (in Israel) more than you know about the Port of Beirut?’.
Hezbollah’s main responsibility is resistance. Hezbollah might know more about the Port of Haifa than it knows about the Port of Beirut. (Knowing about) the Port of Beirut is not (Hezbollah’s) responsibility, yet (knowing about) the Port of Haifa is (Hezbollah’s) responsibility, because it is part of the deterrence equation and the (Resistance’s) defence strategy for Lebanon.
Hezbollah is not administering, nor controlling, nor is it interfering in, nor does it know what is happening at the Port of Beirut, nor what is present there and what is not present there, nor does it know how things are being administered there. This is something we do not interfere in at all.
Now is not the time for political wrangling, now is the time for national healing
We saw the political exploitation of the (disastrous) event (by many). Anyone who has a problem with somebody else (went ahead and) opened up that file (during this crisis). Anyone who has a problem with the (current) presidency, with the (current) government, anyone who has a problem with other political forces, and of course those who have a problem with us (went ahead and brought to the fore their problems during this crisis)…
I don’t wish today to engage in any (political) wrangling with anybody, this is something that we will delay, because we are still adamant that ethically, patriotically, and humanely, today is not the time for settling political and party accounts. It is (rather) the time for solidarity, empathy and cooperation. A time for attending the wounds (of the people), for rescue efforts, for determining the fate of those who are missing, for treating the injured, for helping people to return to their homes.
For a number of days the country requires a level of calm and empathy so that we can overcome the ordeal. Thereafter, we will speak politics, and we will engage in debate. Our facts are strong, and our position is strong, and our stance is strong.
While some forces call for international investigation, Nasrallah points to Lebanese Army
In terms of the investigation, we are now hearing various calls, opinions and ideas. I would like to ask certain (Lebanese) political forces who are speaking about this. (Investigating) this matter (i.e. the Port explosion) is something that can be done by the official Lebanese apparatus, it has the technical expertise, experience and personnel, there’s no doubt about this. However, certain (political forces) are questioning whether this apparatus can be trusted.
Okay, I ask you a question, because sometimes lies within the political realm can only go so far. Okay, all political forces in Lebanon say: ‘we have faith in the Lebanese Army’, the ‘national institution’, the ‘institution that guarantees the stability and security of the country’, the ‘institution that guarantees the sovereignty (of Lebanon)’. And recently on Lebanese Army Day, we heard so many poems and praises (of the Army).
Okay, let the Army go ahead…if this institution that is the Lebanese Army, is trusted by all Lebanese, and trusted by all Lebanese political forces and political leaders, then assign the Lebanese Army (with the mission of investigating the incident). Considering that you all have trust in it. At the very least (assign it) with the investigation. The Lebanese Army, which you trust, will go ahead and carry out its investigations, and then provide the results to everyone.
…Okay, everyone says there is a consensus around the Lebanese Army, okay, then assign the Army with the investigation (mission). Let (the army) go ahead and investigate and then announce the results to the Lebanese people, and not just to the judicial authorities…this is enough to unveil the truth.
Prosecuting those responsible for tragedy is final chance for idea of a ‘Lebanese state’
I also want to add something very important, just as this event (of the explosion) is an exceptional one, today the manner in which the Lebanese state acts in relation to this event will – in our opinion – be fateful. How will it be fateful?
…The Lebanese people will be able, in light of how this event is treated, will be able to come to a conclusion – I am one of those people, as a Lebanese (citizen), who will be able to come to a conclusion on the following matter: is there a state in Lebanon or not? The second question: is there any hope for building a state or there is no hope for building a state (in Lebanon)?
Because I tell you frankly: if the Lebanese state, and the Lebanese political class – whether they are in the (current) ruling government or the opposition – if in this file and matter they fail to reach a result with regards to the investigations, and if they fail to prosecute (those who are responsible), then…(the conclusion will be reached that) there is no hope for building a state.
I don’t want to lead anyone towards hopelessness, I am merely defining (the situation). Yet we need to work so that this hopelessness does not come about. So that we can ensure the existence of hope, so that we can bring about hope ourselves, so that we can sow this hope for the Lebanese.
Today, all the calls for ‘fighting corruption’ (in Lebanon) that use to reach dead ends in the form of say, a corrupt judge here, or a cowardly judge there, or say a side that tries to close a particular investigation and clear up the evidence, or due to say certain considerations, okay, what (obstacle or dead end) will face this matter (i.e. the explosion at Port of Beirut)?
In this matter, it may be revealed that – and yes, a part of it is definitely (related to internal negligence) – meaning that even if it turns out that say, a plane came and struck the Port (thus causing the explosion), or even if it was a pre-planned operation, however, if it turns out that this (ammonium) nitrate had been sitting there at the Port in that manner for 6 or 7 years, that would mean that definitely part of the issue relates back to negligence, shortcomings, and corruption (by certain Lebanese officials). Okay let everyone come forward and fight corruption (here in this issue, which is the most pressing of issues).
If in this issue, all those who claim that they are fighting corruption (in Lebanon) – and we are of those people – fail to do anything, then it means there is no possibility for us to achieve anything (in this regard). Finished. We (then) ought to get up and be honest with the Lebanese people and tell them: ‘there is no possibility for us to do anything, neither to fight corruption, nor confront negligence and the shortcomings, and O’ Lebanese people, you should know that you do not have a state, and there is no possibility of establishing a state, so you should go sort yourself out (on your own)’.
In my opinion, the situation is this grave. So that no one later says that this is a tragedy, and time will (heal) and make people forget e.t.c. As far as we’re concerned, this incident cannot possibly be forgotten, nor is it allowed for anyone to ignore it. This tragedy, this incident, the truth must be uncovered regarding it, and those responsible must be prosecuted, free from all political, sectarian or party protection.