On January 15, the Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hasan Nasrollah delivered a speech commemorating the death anniversary of Shi'i Imam al-Husayn. The following is the text of the speech carried by Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar TV. The text is reprinted here with permission from and thanks to MidEastWire.
"Esteemed scholars, brothers and sisters.I would like to discuss the political situation in view of the new developments taking place in our region and in Lebanon.
"I will leave to the last two nights [the topic] that I was planning to discuss tonight, God willing, in the hope that we will talk more during the last two nights about some religious, spiritual, and moral aspects that are expressed by Karbala and the leader and men and women of Karbala. As for tonight, we need a calm, simplified, and clear reading of the latest political developments in our region. It seems that what took place in our region these days will pave the way for events and developments over the whole year, that is, the year 2008, especially during the coming few months.
This is what I will clearly talk about in my speech.
"The main development is Bush's visit and the outcome and repercussions of this visit. Before I begin I have to express Hezbollah's denunciation and condemnation of any explosion that takes place in Lebanon regardless of the target that is meant or not meant by this explosion, especially if this explosion leads to the fall of innocent people and to serious repercussions on the security and stability of this country and its diverse conditions. In all cases, this is condemned. [Note: this refers to the explosion targeted at a US Embassy vehicle in Beirut)]. Now I will return to my main subject:
"There is no doubt that Bush's visit to the region is important. I can claim that it is a historic visit because it seeks to draw the picture of the region during the coming stage. I do not exaggerate things by saying this. Therefore, we all and the people of the region as well as the rulers and the political, cultural, media, economic, and all other leaders in our countries should follow up the words, deeds, promises, threats, and expectations Bush made during his visit to our region.
"I do not agree with what we or other people might sometimes say to the effect that this man is foolish, stupid, or crazy and, therefore, we should not count on what he says. Things are not so. This is a big simplification of political facts in the world and the region. To help understand this visit and its axes, results, expected effects, and repercussions, the following introduction is necessary.
"This introduction is based on studies, events, facts, and books published in the United States and major research institutes. These have concluded that the current US Administration of Bush, which has been in power for seven years and will continue this year, is made up of an alliance among three groups that have common interests in the United States. The first group consists of the major oil companies. If you look at the senior officials in the Bush administration starting with Bush and down to Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and all others, you will find that many of the key officials in this administration either own oil companies or arms manufacturing and trading firms.
"The first group is the major oil companies. The second group is the major arms manufacturing companies. I will, of course, explain things when an explanation is needed and will continue when things are clear in order to save time. The third group has a religious trend. It is today called in the United States the Zionist Christianity. I do not want to use this expression so that no harm will be done to a heavenly religion called Christianity, but I will talk about a special religious trend. What is meant here is this group of Zionist Christians who are so called in the United States today.
"These make up a basic and strong part of this alliance. The interests of this alliance converge as a result of each side's need for the other side and as a result of the aims this alliance seeks to achieve. The major oil companies in our region want to control the oil wells and oil exports, and consequently the prices and markets. The major firms of weapons seek to manufacture the largest possible quantity of weapons and then market and sell them to make huge profits.
"A religious trend - and I will explain this a little more here - today exists strongly in the United States. It has supporters in the tens of millions. It has huge institutions and very strong news media. What does this religious trend believe in? It believes it has to set the stage for the return of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, to earth. It believes that among the conditions needed for the return of Christ is establishing a state for the Jews in occupied Palestine. This is the State of Israel. They believe that this condition has been fulfilled and should be protected and fully accomplished.
"They believe that Jews should be brought from all parts of the world to live in Palestine. Therefore, we find that one of the policies of this religious trend is encouraging the world Jews to immigrate to occupied Palestine. What is required is not only establishing a Jewish state, which is the State of Israel, in occupied Palestine. What is also required is bringing the Jews from all parts of the world to this promised or required state. This religious trend believes that this state should be protected and should be strong and superior.
"Consequently, any threat in the region or any force in the region that may rise to the level of threatening the existence of this entity should be destroyed regardless of whether this is a state or number of states, or people or number of peoples. They, of course, believe that the existence of a strong and capable Jewish state in occupied Palestine is the condition needed for the return of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. When they extend all this unlimited support to the State of Israel, they do not do so out of love for the Jews or do it in defence of Semitism or in expiation of the massacres claimed to have been committed in the holocaust and other such things. They do so to serve their ideological project by using the Jews.
"Here I want to draw attention to [one point] . that none in our Arab and Islamic countries should come and hold Christians responsible for what this religious trend is doing in the United States because the overwhelming majority of these Christians if not all of them reject this trend and do not support it at all. Therefore, none should come and say he has to take revenge, retaliate, discipline, or confront this US religious trend by punishing the followers of Christianity in our countries.
"... Back to the main idea, I can say these are the three groups which are today in alliance and which are present today in the US Administration. They have a common interest in the issue of Palestine, Iraq, Iran, and the area surrounding occupied Palestine from Lebanon to Syria, Jordan, and Gulf states. Accordingly, George Bush is today the symbol which honestly expresses the interests of these three groups .
"[This religious trend's] interests here certainly converged with the interests of the major oil companies, which have ambitions against Iran's oil and natural resources, and with the interests of the major arms firms, which sell their weapons in the Gulf and the entire region for tens of billions of dollars, benefiting from the atmosphere of war with Iran. This is what George Bush came to do in our region.
"If we keep this background in mind when discussing Bush's visit, we will note specific results. There are three main headlines in Bush's visit. On the basis of these three headlines, he paved the way for a confrontation. One is Israel, another is the arms deals, and the third is oil and its prices. These are the same points I spoke about a while ago. I wanted to give this introduction in order to say that George Bush is the person who is trusted to look after the interests of the three groups whose alliance makes up his administration and his project in this region. He came and worked on these three headlines. I will begin with the first headline on arms sales.
"Today there is talk about selling weapons to the Gulf States at tens of billions of dollars. Who are these weapons then wanted to be used against? [They will be deployed] either against other Arabs or against Iran. What is important is that he is coming to create tension and terror in the region.
"He wants to frighten the Arab countries against Iran so that there will be a reason and an excuse to sell these weapons to the Arab countries, and also to provide Arab countries with the excuse to buy these weapons . Arab funds will be used therefore to finance the major US arms companies. The excuse is that there is an Iranian threat.
The Price of Oil
"With regard to the issue of oil, Bush also came and spoke clearly and frankly. He said oil prices should have specific ceilings. Why? Let me briefly explain this. The Americans have no interest is seeing oil prices go down. Also they have no interest in seeing prices go up much. They can now tolerate a price of $100 per barrel, but they are using the relatively high oil prices to strike at the economies of countries competing with the United States. When oil prices go up in the world, which countries will be harmed?
"China, the EU member states, and the countries importing oil will be harmed. Their economies and industry will be harmed. The poor, oppressed, and tormented people, of course, will also suffer. The United States is using and playing with the oil prices to strike at major world economies competing with the United States, and to humiliate the poor and the oppressed.
"What was more serious was the issue linked to Israel. On the issue of Israel, he came and presented a clear and specific vision. I will return to this issue shortly. I will talk about three issues and begin now with the main one. I will then finish topics one by one. One is the Iranian issue, another is the Palestinian issue, and the third is the Lebanese issue.
"On the Iranian issue, Iran is, of course, targeted for the reasons I mentioned a short while ago. These reasons are oil, weapons, and the special religious trend in the United States. Besides, Iran is impregnable to the US Administration and is not subject to US hegemony. US firms have no influence at all on the Iranian oil industry and Iranian natural resources. He came to exaggerate the Iranian threat posed to the Arabs and Israel. He, of course, could not play much with the nuclear file because the US intelligence report said clearly that Iran is not trying to possess nuclear weapons. al-Barada'i's visit to Tehran at this time also helped.
"Here I want to draw attention to something. Two days ago, I heard French President Sarkozy say in a Gulf state - either Saudi Arabia or Qatar; I do not exactly remember - that "the Arabs have the right to possess a peaceful nuclear energy because after 30, 40, or 50 years oil and gas and many of the sources of energy will be exhausted, and the whole world will in the future depend on nuclear energy. Therefore, we have to allow the Arabs to possess nuclear power. This is legitimate and normal. Yes, nuclear weapons are rejected." While listening to him, I was surprised.
"His Eminence Imam Khamenei, may God keep him, has been saying this daily over the past three or four years. Why is such talk accepted from Sarkozy and not from Imam Khamenei? Why is it accepted from the French and not from the Iranians? If you accuse Iran of working for the possession of nuclear weapons, it will say: "We are clear and transparent. Please come forward and install a monitoring and inspection system and place the safeguards you want." Imam Khamenei has even clearly said that his ideological, religious, and jurisprudent position calls for banning the manufacture or use of nuclear weapons.
"Today they come and say we want to give you nuclear energy but they want to manufacture the nuclear fuel in their countries. This means you as Arabs, Iranians, or other peoples in the region are prohibited from having the technology of enriching uranium and producing nuclear fuel. They are ready to build you a nuclear reactor but the fuel should be manufactured by them so that they will continue to control prices and energy. This means they will control your political decision, market, trade, economy, and daily food.
"On the Iranian level, he came to incite against Iran, but did not succeed. Here, falls the responsibility of Arab countries, especially the Gulf States. These should not allow or give cover to a war on the Islamic Republic of Iran - because this will be in the interests of the United States; but it will not to the interest of Iran, the Gulf States, or the Arab countries and the peoples of the region.
"George Bush thinks that Iran will yield to threat and pressure, but Iran is clear in saying it will not yield to pressure. If he talks about launching war, Iran will defend itself. I will tell you that if America wages war on Iran, it would be the most stupid thing ever made in the history of America. The Arab countries should be loyal to their interests and the interests of their peoples. Any war in the region will be a service to America, Israel, the US oil companies, US arms companies, and the rancorous Zionist religious trend in the United States.
"On the Palestinian level, George Bush presented a clear vision about the Jewish State of Israel. I talked about the US religious trend a short while ago. He spoke about a Jewish state and not a state in which the Jews, Muslims, and Christians live. It is not only a Jewish state as I said a few nights ago, but a racist state. This means that what is taken into consideration is not religion but ethnicity and blood. A Jewish state will certainly threaten the 1948 Arabs whether they are Muslims or Christians. Second, they want to modify the territories occupied in 1967.
"What does this mean? It means Jerusalem, the major settlements around it, and basic parts of the West Bank will be annexed to the Jewish State of Israel. The remaining crumbs will be given to the Palestinians. Third, there will be no right of return. He called for the start of work to set up a fund. Eventually, the Arab millions will be put in this fund to compensate the Palestinians and deprive them of their natural right to return to their farms and houses.
The implication of Bush's prospective return in May
"After expressing this vision, George Bush promised to return to the region in May to pursue his blessed efforts. I want you to underscore this promise because I will talk about it in a while. This means Bush is telling us that we have to wait for something about the situation of the region and the Palestinian situation by May. Now May could be an ordinary date. Why should we go deep in analysing the issue? But it also may not be ordinary.
"There might be steps or a US plan that was promoted during his visit. What is then required is implementing this plan during the rest of January and in February, March, and April so that George Bush can come in May to reap the fruits of the plan that will be implemented during the coming few months. The date could be quite normal and there is no need for all these fears, but we are here talking about an arch Satan. It is also possible, and this is a stronger and more correct likelihood, that George Bush will come in May to see the results of a certain action on the level of the region.
"One of the most important repercussions of Bush's visit and its impact on the Palestinian level is that he torpedoed the Arab peace initiative. Today, if a resistance movement in the world or a country like Iran or Indonesia, for example, stands up and criticizes the Arab peace initiative, the Arab governments and the official and private Arab news media will raise a hue and cry.
"But George Bush buried and destroyed the Arab peace initiative through the vision he presented. He celebrated its burial and asked people to say their prayers over it. Nevertheless, we have not heard any objection from the Arab rulers or Arab summits which adopted the Arab peace initiative time after time. The guest is currently present and they do not want to embarrass him, but he has practically blown up the Arab peace initiative.
"Today, the negotiations that would be held between the Israelis and the PNA will be held on the basis of Bush's vision of a settlement and not on the basis of the Arab peace initiative. On the other hand, what is more serious - on the basis of my opinion, understanding, analysis, and information - is that the green light has been given to launch a war on the Gaza Strip similar to the July war.
Green Light for a War on Gaza
"What is wanted is ending the current situation in the Gaza Strip as of now and until May. Today's events have been going on for some time now although we do not feel them. Every day 10, 15, or 20 martyrs fall. It was said the other day that 1,000 or 2,000 were martyred only in the Gaza Strip in one or two years. In the light of this large number of martyrs, I say it is clear that there is a green light. Only God knows who publicly or secretly approves, blesses, facilitates, and supports this. One thousand question marks are raised over this issue.
"I want to say that after Bush's visit to the region, the Gaza Strip entered the circle of great danger. I appeal to the brother leaders in the Gaza Strip to be more alert than ever before during this period of time because there is no longer any political cover for anyone. There is no cover for brother Isma'il Haniyah, head of dismissed government, or members of the Legislative Council, or ministers in the government, or ranking leaders in resistance movements. Therefore, the Gaza Strip has entered the circle of great danger.
"I think that from now until 30 January, more caution should be observed in the Gaza Strip because on that day the final Winograd Committee's report will be issued. During the remaining time, Olmert needs any victory, accomplishment, or moral gain in order to be able to protect himself from the repercussions of the serious and negative results of the Winograd report. The Americans have thus far been able to protect him.
"They may be able to protect him longer, but it is clear in Israel today that there is much talk about the earthquake this report may cause. In any case, when I say Gaza has entered this serious stage, I mean the Arab and Islamic governments and peoples and all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and abroad as well as the various Palestinian factions should all shoulder their responsibility and know what should be done. This has become extremely clear. What is important is having the will to do something. We, of course, count on the patience, sacrifices, steadfastness, solidity, and courage of our Palestinian mujahedin, who have proven their ability to defeat the Zionist sword with the sacrificing, faithful, and sincere jehadist blood in more than battle and more than one dangerous confrontation.
"I will now talk about Lebanon. On the Lebanese level, people usually want us to say things which reassure and comfort them, but we are responsible people and we have to speak honestly, frankly, and transparently. Perhaps due to our frankness and transparency, we are sometimes strongly blamed. What is important for us in this life is that we should carry out our responsibility towards our God and the people whom we love and whom we must serve and defend. Let us speak clearly about the Lebanese issue. We still have some time to talk in detail.
The Visits by David Welch and Elliot Abrams
"In fact, before I heard that Bush will return to the region in May, some information was made available to us during the past few weeks. That information had to do with David Welch's first visit and his second visit when he came to Lebanon with Elliott Abrams. We all know who Welch met with. The main purpose of the visit by Welch and Abrams was regrouping the 14 March forces and closing up their ranks once again as a result of the large shake up that took place after these forces were forced for one reason or another to nominate General Michel Sulayman for the post of president of the republic.
"You may remember that some said they wanted to run away and leave. One said he will close his party offices and emigrate. Some people, however, began to change affiliation. Here the Americans developed the conviction that the front on which they depend on in Lebanon, that is, this group, was largely shaken. Therefore, they sent David Welch to unify ranks. He, however, did not succeed, because he said something and Abrams said something else. Therefore, the two came together to say one thing.
"They met and tried to bring the parties together. They managed to bring this team together, but after the visit by Abrams and Welch we noted how the situation escalated and the language of threats we used to hear in the past returned.
"What was the magic recipe Welch and Abrams presented during the second visit to make this team get together once again after Welch could not do so during the first visit? We are saying what we know based on our information. We are not fabricating things against them. It will later become clear if this information is right or wrong. Our information says this group was told: "You have to get together, unite, and hold out for three or four months, that is, from now until April or May. The whole situation in Lebanon and the region will then change in your favour."
"This, of course, is not the first time the Americans promise changes in the region and Lebanon although nothing happens. They think the Americans are a god that can do what he wants. They do not know that there is a conflict of wills in the region. In any case, they were told that the situation in the region will change from now until May and that there will be new developments and the situation will then be in their favour and all they want will be done, so be assured about that. Accordingly, they felt reassured and no longer needed to speed up dialogue or negotiations. One began to beg the representative of the pro-government team to meet with the representative of the opposition. We began to hear an escalatory language once again.
Changes afoot - Attack on Iran; Siege of Syria
"What are the changes they said would take place in the region and on which they are counting? All I am going to tell you is part of the information available to us, but I am going to say it in a story-like manner in order to be very clear. I tell you now not to be afraid or worried. Anyway, listen to them. It was said that there was talk with this group that a US strike or a US war would be launched against Iran before May. Accordingly, Iran will be struck, Syria will be besieged, and the allies of Iran and Syria will be weakened - they classify everything as an Iranian-Syrian axis - and the situation will be in your favour 100 per cent.
"I gave you this piece of information and now I will comment on it. My direct question to this group is: Are you sure that the Americans are telling you the truth? How many times have they said they will strike at Iran? If they strike at Iran and a war breaks out with Iran, will they or you guarantee the results? Who says war with Iran will achieve the US expectations? Who says war on Iran will not introduce a change in the region that might eliminate not only the Americans, but also all the Americans and their supporters?
"Who guarantees this will not happen? They will come after a while and say I am making threats. No, I am saying facts. I am expecting things the way you expect a war on Iran to finish it off, weaken Syria, and destroy all the revolutionary and genuine national trends in the region. You have the right to expect things and I, too, have this right. I am saying this so that you will not waste your time by betting on things that may not take place and if they take place they might not at all be in your interest.
"Another thing was said or hinted at. I am not 100 per cent sure about it, but I know it was hinted at. There was talk about a new Israeli aggression. This happened in the past in the July war and some people wagered on it. There were people here who were upset because the resistance held out and the Israeli war did not achieve its aims. The July war at that time did not target only Hezbollah. It was also aimed at bringing about a radical change in the country and in the region. Did Rice not say the war of Lebanon is the birth pangs of a new Middle East?
"They wanted to change the region through the war on Lebanon, but they failed. This war toppled generals and political figures. Olmert is struggling to keep his position. His ministers from Kadima and other than Kadima are daily talking about their failure and about the strength of Hezbollah after the war. Therefore, if anyone is today wagering on a new Israeli war or a new Israeli aggression to bring about internal political changes in his interest, he will be completely mistaken.
Prospect of Israeli attack in Lebanon exaggerated
"Today I do not want to repeat what I said on the 14 August anniversary, but I would like to stress to you that a large part of the talk about an Israeli aggression is mere exaggeration. Some events are also taking place perhaps for the purpose of exaggeration so that it will be said that these events may give the Israelis a pretext to attack Lebanon. We know the Israelis. When they want to commit an aggression against Lebanon, they will not need a pretext because the whole world regrettably supports them. They can also create a pretext. Was there anything on the borders in 1982?
"There was nothing. An attempt was made to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London. The PLO was accused of the attempt and Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. If Israel wants to commit an aggression one day, it can carry out any security operation abroad - and not necessarily on the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine - against an ambassador, diplomat, consul, or Israeli group, and then say Hezbollah or any other side in Lebanon is responsible.
"It will then follow this with an aggression against Lebanon. This is not the issue. The issue is that if Israel wants to commit an aggression against Lebanon this time, it has to have a thousand apprehensions. Yes, as I said in the past, I will repeat and stress on the Day of 'Ashoura, God willing, that the dreams, delusions, and fantasies of all those who are wagering on Israel after the July war and all of those who are wagering on Israel in Lebanon and the region have miserable, failed, and wrong options.
"A third thing was said. They said: "Be patient until April or May when the situation in Lebanon and the region changes." One of the things they talked about was the need to expedite the formation of the international tribunal. We are for any tribunal that reveals the truth and both identifies and punishes the assassins of former Prime Minister Martyr Rafiq al-Hariri, but we were always afraid of the political exploitation of this tribunal. A few days ago, French President Sarkozy mentioned this in Cairo. This was also said to this group here. It was asked to be patient. There is now rush. The public prosecutor has been appointed. The place has been rented. The budget is being secured. The names of judges are being circulated. The tribunal will have been formed by April and will then start summoning people. The situation of Syria will be difficult because accusations are levelled at it without an investigation.
"The international tribunal will be used [by the United States] to put pressure on many Lebanese political parties . Therefore, by April or May we will find that main parties in the opposition will be busy with themselves, Syria will be busy with itself, and the people will be seeking shelter and safety, so the 14 March group can do what it wants. This was also said. These are also bets. Counting on them in a situation like the Lebanese situation will be wrong.
"The first victim of the politicization of the international tribunal if they are planning to work in this way in April and May will be the truth all the Lebanese are calling for. We called for knowing the truth when we took to the streets on 8 March and when they took to the streets on 14 March. The Lebanese were unanimous about the need to reveal and know the truth, but a politicized tribunal will not uncover the truth or the assassins. The court will be used to serve the suspicious US plans in the region.
"We will speak when we reach that day. Why do you think the opposition parties - Syria can speak for itself - will collapse, weaken, or hesitate? We will see on that day. We will know from the behaviour of the new prosecutor and the international tribunal if work is judicial or political. In the light of this, the people will make a decision on how to act. None can force anyone else to surrender or yield when there is political exploitation.
"The group was told changes will occur in the region. These might take place in Palestine, which will certainly influence Lebanon, Syria, and all of us. They told them there is Iran and there is the possibility of an attack on Lebanon and there is an international tribunal. I tell them: Let us, we the Lebanese, get together now and tonight so that we can think of the interests of this country calmly. Do not prepare yourselves for an attack on me because this makes no difference to me.
"I would like to tell you that all wagers on the outside world, on the behaviour of this outside world, or on regional developments will be useless. I am in a challenge with you. I say regional changes will not be in your interest but in our interest. It is in your interest now to reach agreement with the opposition if you are waiting for changes on the regional level in particular and the international level in general. Today, the opportunity is still open. It is called the Arab initiative. We welcomed the Arab initiative.
"Tomorrow, the Arab League secretary general will come to Lebanon. I welcome him again. The Arab foreign ministers worked hard, came up with an initiative, and asked the secretary general to implement it. The text is clear. The one who reads Arabic, understands Arabic, and knows logic, rhetoric, and grammar, will find that the text has only one meaning. But sometimes the cameleer may have one intention, the camel may have another, and the load may still have another. Some ministers may have another intention but the text they have is different.
"I do not want to publicly explain the text now, but the initiative is still valid. I call on the Arab officials to extend serious assistance to Lebanon and to make sure that the Arab initiative is not a waste of time on the Lebanese level. It is hoped that the Arab initiative is not meant to put pressure on the opposition. Some of the ideas we heard are the same ideas expressed by the French and others - ideas which did not succeed. The Arabs are required to come and help Lebanon and not put pressure on one team. It was said there is an appeal to Syria to help persuade its allies to accept the Arab initiative.
"I, too, call on the rest of the Arab countries to persuade their allies in Lebanon to accept the spirit of the Arab initiative on which we agree and in which there is no victor or vanquished although we may differ over its interpretation or text.
"We heard the French foreign minister two days ago threaten to internationalize the Lebanese issue. We ask Minister Kouchner to be patient with us a bit. He said he loves Lebanon but it seems that some love kills. The Arab initiative should not be a step on the way of internationalizing the crisis. Second, internationalization will not benefit Lebanon. What is internationalization? Is it something other than getting a Security Council resolution? What can the international community impose on us?
"In Lebanon there is a will and there are national and independent forces and there is a majority of Lebanese people with vision and certain interest. The entire world cannot impose on us anything that conflicts with our interests. Therefore, none should put pressure on us through the notion of internationalization or the bringing together of the international community. I will today say what I said behind closed doors because everything leaks.
"Let me say it to help the Arab initiative and Arab mediator reach a solution. If someone proposed the Arab initiative to put pressure on the opposition, this will not be useful. If someone wrote the Arab initiative to hold the opposition or a certain party in Lebanon responsible for failure, I will then tell him not to waste his time. This is what I said to Mr Amr Mousa. I am saying it to you in my own words so that it will not reach you distorted.
"I will say again now that I told the Arab League secretary that if pursuing the Arab initiative is only meant to say one day who in Lebanon is responsible for failure, you can then blame me and Hezbollah and you can tomorrow say that the pro-government group accepted the initiative but the opposition did not. What was presented was what the pro-government group rather than the Arab initiative demanded. I told him he could say that all opposition forces accepted it but there is one called Hasan Nasrollah in Hezbollah who is responsible for foiling the Arab initiative.
"I will accept that. I told him: You do not have to trouble yourself and this is the end of the line. I tell the Lebanese officials today that there is no need for the pro-government group to hold the opposition responsible for foiling the initiative, or the opposition to hold the pro-government group responsible. There is no need to fill the pages of newspapers and spend hours talking about this issue and thus exhaust the Lebanese. The opposition says the other side is responsible for foiling the Arab initiative and the other side says the opposite. If you are looking for someone to blame, go ahead and blame us. I told him why. I am not saying this only to defend myself. I told him this does not frighten us.
"The ones who carried on their shoulders the July war, which came upon an international decision by the international community and the eight industrialized nations with the approval of some Arab brothers and the whole world, did not shake or fear. Not a single heart, foot, or hand trembled. They are ready to bear any responsibility or consequence anyone in this world wants to put on us. The issue should not be one of who we want to hold responsible for failure. This is shameful. This wastes the Lebanese people's time.
"What we are looking for is having a serious initiative. When the secretary general comes tomorrow, we hope there will be a serious and real effort. We hope that time will not be wasted and that no attempt will be made to embarrass or put pressure on a certain side. Finally, I want to tell the Lebanese people: Yes, we want to assume that from now and until May big changes will take place in the region as Bush promised us.
"Bush and the US Administration want to keep the current government of Prime Minister Senyourah in power or reproduce a government similar to it following the election of the president that would follow and agree with the entire US plan in the region. Lebanon and Palestine are targeted by the US plan in the region and it is an extremely dangerous plan.
"I want to tell Muslims and Christians that the Americans are not concerned about Muslims or Christians in Lebanon. They are concerned about the interests of Israel and the strength and supremacy of Israel, and the oil and arms market at the expense of the sectarian, religious, partisan, ethnic, and regional conflicts in the region. All these are details for the Americans. Today, we the Lebanese renew the invitation to dialogue. There is a clear and authorized representative for the opposition.
"The others are required to sit with him and hold negotiations with him. What is required is dialogue and understanding. What is required is reaching results. Yes, we accepted the principle of no victor and no vanquished, so let us sit to see how we can interpret it. Finally, my advice to the other side is: If you are wagering on Lebanese changes, then you are mistaken. By this I mean if you expect a change in the will of the opposition and its steadfastness, cohesion, and strength, you will then be mistaken. If you are wagering on changes in the regional situation, you will then be much mistaken.
"Therefore, let us wager on each other and let us, away from any regional or international changes, join hands and reach agreement. Let us cooperate, let us make concessions to each other, and let us try to reach a settlement internally. This is what rescues the country and addresses the country's crises and makes us rebuild and strengthen our country so that it can confront the repercussions of any regional or international developments that may take place in the region.
"This is what I wanted to say tonight calmly, clearly, and in detail. Tomorrow they might say I am frightening people. I am not frightening them. I am saying there are events and there are possibilities for which we have to be prepared. The will of the Americans is not the final will. Does this will come from heaven? No. You and we broke this will in July-August 2006 and we can break this will as long as we have the will and determination. We are capable of standing firm, confronting [attacks], and achieving victory, God willing. We are capable of preventing anybody in this world from imposing on our country and people what is not in keeping with its interests, dignity, fate, and future."