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Qasim interviewed by Al-Manar on telecom, airport camera issues

Mideast Wire


On May 5, the Hezbollah affiliated Al-Manar Television carried an interview with Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Shaykh Na'im Qasim, by Anchorwoman Batul Ayyub Na'im: "...Here are the forces of the authority in Lebanon declaring to the public what they used to do secretly in terms of collusion against Hezbollah, which reached its peak in the July 2006 war. Under the slogan of "if you are not ashamed, do whatever you want," those previously convicted shared roles and opened the weak files all at one time.

"Thus, they have pounced down on the telecommunications network of the resistance because it disturbs the Israeli military plans. Any other talk about undermining the foundations of the state is a throwing of dust in the eyes. As for the charge of spying on runway 17, it is a ridiculous charge that can deceive no one. What is next? In whose interest is striking at civil peace in the country?

"Who can convince the masses of the resistance, who suppress their anger and tolerate one insult after another, that partnership is still possible with a team that declares hostility to them without shame and works day and night to weaken them merely because the other party has not thus far comprehended the idea that its partner should have an entity and an opinion that should be respected and still insists on dealing with it as a second class citizen?

"Dear viewers, the question is no longer why, for the answer has become clear. However, what is the secret behind the timing of this? What is being prepared for the future stage and which coincides with US President George Bush's tour of the region? Has internal dialogue gone without return, and if it takes place, then what is its agenda? What will Hezbollah and the opposition do to face the new challenges?

"What is the secret behind the timing of the campaign against Hezbollah at this stage, taking into consideration that this campaign targeted Hezbollah at the beginning and then abated, then it targeted Speaker Nabih Birri and then abated, and later targeted General Awn and cast doubts on the Christians' support for him and then abated, and now the campaign is focused directly and files were opened all at one time against Hezbollah?"

"I believe that we will save the viewers much time when we say if you want to know what the authority team has you should ask what do the Americans have. We should always go back to the main party that steers the political action of the 14 March team, and which draws the practical steps at every stage. I will begin with the US State Department's annual report on terrorism, which was published by many Lebanese newspapers."

"...So, the Americans consider that one of the knots is that Hezbollah is present in Lebanon and that it is strong in its presence, opposition, masses, and support for it. At the same time, the Lebanese authority is unable to meet the requirements of the US plan. Based on this, we find that the authority's group acts in accordance with US signals on the need to act. What happened now, however, is that Junblatt, who, until recently, used to act calmly and give positive signs regarding dialogue, which Speaker Birri called for, has changed all of a sudden and turned to the other direction.

"This is due to two main reasons. The first reason is that it has become clear that the pro-government forces do not want dialogue. All newspapers and all analysts now say that the side that has thus far foiled dialogue are the pro-government forces, something which put them in a predicament, and therefore, they should find a way out of this predicament. The second! reason is that there ar e US signals on the need for a certain move by the pro-government forces in Lebanon. As we know, US officials have told Walid Junblatt that there will be no regional war against Iran, Syria, or Lebanon.

"Consequently, based on this, he understood that the circumstances necessitate that the pro-government forces should put their house in order in the way it deems appropriate, taking into consideration that the Americans provide political support, but they do not have any other means of support. Junblatt's last move was annoying to them. Therefore, he wanted to make up for the defect that took place, and thus, he created this clamour, which has something to do with the airport road's camera or telecommunications.

"...This is because Deputy Walid Junblatt has a history in this world. Any time, they want to target Hezbollah, they ask him to do so. We will be mistaken if we imagine that Walid Junblatt always acts by himself. Some times, there are requirements that Walid Junblatt should meet. Furthermore, there are bills that he should pay in return for the money he receives, for the political position he assumes, for protecting the future of his relationship with the Americans, and for the promises made to him. So, he does not act spontaneously all the time. Some times, we will be unfair to Walid Junblatt, especially since he is actually less than a tool in many cases."

"...The issue of the airport and the airport camera is a very trivial issue. This is because it would be enough for any citizen to drink a cup of coffee on the roof of his house in Al-Awza'i, Aramawn, Al-Shuwayfat, or in the entire area of the periphery of Burj al-Barajinah, which are close to the wall of the airport, to see everything at the airport. Based on this, the camera will not be of any help in any way in taking pictures, taking into consideration that it is a camera designated for security affairs related to the reconstruction issue. Furthermore, this is an open airport. If anyone accesses Google, he will be able to see everything in the airport in detail."

"...In our opinion, the airport issue began immediately after the Israeli aggression and not now. In order to remind the viewers of this, I say that the implementation of Resolution 1701 should have begun on 14 August 2006 and the Beirut Airport did not open until 7 September.

"A discussion on this issue took place for three weeks, and the reason is that Israel and the US Administration insisted that there should be an international supervision of the airport and international security agencies and that the airport should be purged of those loyal to Hezbollah and the opposition in a way that those who serve on the airport road will belong to one side, provided that there should be intensified security reinforcements in its periphery and on its road, in order to accept to open the airport."

"...At the time, we rejected this logic, and based on experience, it has actually become clear that the road to the airport is normal, no problem took place over the entire past period, and the airport is run by the security forces and the officials in charge of it. And there was no accident at the airport or the airport road. Even this French they spoke about, the accident took place in the heart of Harat Hurayk, but they insisted on saying that it took place on the airport road in their statement. This accident took place in the heart of Harat Hurayk and we have all pictures and details of this."

"...In fact, we wonder why they open this file in this way and at this stage. If they think that this is one of the ways of internationalization and that this is the first step towards internationalization, we say that we totally reject this. The airport is in a normal situation in the care of the competent security forces and the state. Consequently, no one should encroach on it and we do not accept any encroachment on it.

"...The airport or Lebanon is not a ranch for Walid Junblatt or for anyone else... We ask the Lebanese judiciary: Will it summon the persons who leaked the defence minister's document to Walid Junblatt? We also ask: Can any state that respects itself accept that its daily, normal, and ordinary actions to be so exciting in a way that makes the people tense?

"I believe that the example that we have seen makes us feel that no one can trust a state that is being run with the mentality of Walid Junblatt, especially since this state will turn into a ranch or a wooden shed. This is totally rejected. Walid Junblatt cannot drag the country to where he wants. He knows full well that whatever he does, he has limits. Yes, he is successful at hopping up and down in the media and at making soap bubbles which will vanish quickly, but he cannot make a step forward in his plan that serves the US-Israeli plans.

"...Each of these two issues has its requirements and channels. The internationalization issue is rejected. Any security changes or any other measures have their normal and ordinary channels. However, for this to take place under certain political circumstances and in a tyrannical way that seeks to take revenge on some persons, groups, sides, or to attack a large bloc in the country, is rejected.

"...Raising the issue of the airport and the airport camera is a worthless issue. There is a political decision to shed light on the airport in order to divert attention from the internal situation to create a new problem in the country. After they failed to convince the public opinion that right is on their side and after the opposition exposed them when it showed that it wants a solution and when it has frequently presented various solutions, they sought to create a side problem and to exaggerate an issue which is very ordinary.

"Even the report of the army's intelligence on the incident said that it suspected something, but it did not say more than this. Walid Junblatt spoke about rockets and rocket launchers, and said words like perhaps, probably, they can, and possible.

"If we count how many times he used the word perhaps, we will come up with a full scenario. There is a political objective that seeks to shed light on another issue. Let the authority team in Lebanon admit that they have sustained a devastating failure and that they have been exposed to their people, and therefore, this attempt to divert people's attention will be of no use to them.

"...What is required from the pro-government team in Lebanon is to accomplish a plan; namely, consolidating the US trusteeship and preventing partnership. The opposition in Lebanon is required to stand fast in order to prevent this foreign trusteeship until the other team is convinced that it cannot run the country's affairs except through cooperation. So, the role of the opposition is one of steadfastness... Our preparations are very excellent.

"It is true that there is media tension, but things in the field, God willing, are under full control to deter any Israeli aggression. All this talk will not change the equation. We should be patient until this period ends, taking into consideration that there is a period of vacuum, which they want to fill with the attempts to preoccupy us with empty and worthless struggle. We will correct the pointing ! of the compass at resisting Israel on the one hand, and on the other hand, at calling on them to elect a president of the republ ic based on the package we will agree on.

"...If there is a Lebanese party, which is the group of the authority and the pro-government, wants to use the army to settle accounts, it will then involve the country in a serious problem. This means that they will not be able to settle accounts or reach results. However, they will cause further destruction and backwardness in the country. Leave the security agencies alone, let them do their work, let them conduct their investigations, and let them follow up on their files in order to continue to be an object of trust by all sides. Do not use them as a tool. I say that the military establishment and the judiciary should follow up on the leaks that took place in order to put an end to such issues.

"...The security explosions in the country - if the men of law who are endowed with a critical mind who speak in the news media every day and who master everything; the law, politics, agriculture, and everything - if they have evidence, then let them give it to the International Court so as to hold a session soon. Brammertz and others say that they do not have adequate evidence to start trial. So, if they have facts then let them give it these facts.

"...As for the violations that took place in the suburb, there should be some kind of fairness so as to ask why what is happening is happening....We call for following up on all violations in accordance with the law one hundred per cent. On the contrary, we support anyone who implements the law.

"...We should take into consideration any piece of information that can serve the current investigations by the competent officials. We heard reports issued by the Israelis, and these reports mentioned names and included evidence. We examine these reports seriously... I am satisfied with being objective and say that we examine these reports. We will not make a judgment merely because we heard a report.

"We will see where these reports will lead to. In our statement, we said that we will take these reports seriously and we will examine them our way and based on the facts that we have in order to achieve results, taking into consideration that we want to eventually achieve results, and we do not want to accuse anyone arbitrarily. So, the issue is still under study and we have not reached results yet to announce them to the people.

"...Over the past period, we said that we do not want to talk about the telecommunication network, taking into consideration that we considered this network as a part of the secret activity of the resistance, and therefore, there is no need to engage into quarrelsomeness. This has continued to be the case until Minister Hamadah moved and entrusted his ministry teams to pursue every laid line anywhere and to draw this line on a map.

"They have also drawn maps for some places where they expect telecommunications to be in them. They have distributed these maps to several sides. Several persons at the ministry, some politicians, and some states have copies of these maps. The pretext is that they object to this Hezbollah telecommunication network.

"For your information, when we were allies with Walid Junblatt, he knew of and supported the telecommunication network because he considered it as an indivisible part of the right of resistance. When the issue of telecommunication was raised by the ministry, our envoy went and met with the officials in charge of security in the country; the intelligence director and the internal security director general, and explained to them the nature of these telecommunications.

"They have clearly been aware of the fact that this network is in harmony with the issue of resistance. Even the report Junblatt distributed to others and which have the heading of the official committee says: 'However, we were not able, for very strict security reasons due to Hezbollah's monitoring of any vehicle moving in the aforementioned area, to make sure of the continued activity towards the areas of Kasrawan or its current extensions at the dividing line between Al-Biqa and Kasrawan.' The report says w e were not able to make sure, so how this became confirmed?"

"...I would like to say that we will today clearly reveal the telecommunication issue for the last time, God willing, and let anyone understands what he wants from this. The telecommunication network is an internal network to enable the resistance men to talk to each other and to their leaders in a way to prevent the enemy from listening to these calls and to protect the security of the resistance men and their free movement. Even the Winograd report admitted that one of their problems was that through listening, they couldn't obtain adequate results to make them understand what was happening due to this internal telecommunication network.

"Based on this, I say that the telecommunication network of the resistance is the twin of the arms of the resistance. The one who aims his arrows at the telecommunication network is aiming his arrows at the arms. In other words, he says do not fight Israel. He should understand where he should place himself. Eventually,! this is a part of protection. Furthermore, this internal telecommunication network, which is a wire network, does not exist in Bilad Jubayl, Kasrawan, Junyah, or the north. It is restricted to the places which we believe the resistance is present in them or directly serve the resistance men.

"Here, I would like to ask: In whose interest is the distribution of the map on which they have put marks? I reassure them that these marks are inaccurate and they will not be able to obtain accurate marks. However, is this not a way of informing and serving Israel? How can the telecommunication network harm them? Why they are upset of it?"

"...It has nothing to do with the state's network. The side that jams the state's telecommunications is Israel. This happens when the Israeli ships and aircraft cross the territorial waters or the aircraft violate the airspace. The Lebanese state announced more than once that all the telephone communications, the cellular and the civil phones, were jammed and the reason is Israel."

"...Hezbollah's telecommunication network is a part of the resistance weapons. Neither the Council of Ministers nor anyone else can deprive us of the right to defend ourselves and our country. This is a plan of which we take care, taking into consideration that Lebanon is in danger and we are in danger, and consequently, we have the right to defend ourselves and to prepare all means of defence. We will prepare them, we will continue to do so, and we will be in a better position day by day in the face of the Israeli plan, whether some sides like it or not.

"...It is neither a warning nor a threat. They know that the issue of resistance is related to the dangers posed to Lebanon and to the future of Lebanon.

"...[Question] Samir Ja'ja today told you that the resistance or Hezbollah do not have a legitimate or illegitimate authorization from the Lebanese people to defend Lebanon, and that this is the responsibility of the Lebanese state and is not the responsibility of the resistance.

"...Let the Lebanese state come to defend the resistance and Lebanon and to take its measures to prevent the Israeli aircraft. And we promise him to agree with the Lebanese state on a defence strategy that can find an appropriate solution to all problems and concerns... No one can tell someone whose land and honour are being violated and who is being attacked do not defend yourself.

"What kind of harm Samir Ja'ja is suffering from? Who is harming him? Throughout his life, he has been working against Lebanon and against the interests of Lebanon. We know that he embarked on a bitter experience against Lebanon. It is true that this is something of the past, but it is the past that made us pay a price, the past that allowed Israel to enter the country, and the past the killed people based on their identity.

"...God willing, we will take the appropriate measures in order to foil this effect. However, what Hamadah, Junblatt, and their team have announced was an attempt to harm the resistance. We are, of course, not easy, and the resistance pinpoints the problem and tries to find a solution to it. The telecommunication network, however, will not only continue, but wherever we find that the resistance is necessary, the telecommunication network will be there.

"However, they should not scare the people in the north, in the mountain, or Kasrawan. We do not have any activity there to have a telecommunication network there. We are satisfied with the political support these pure and good areas provide to us. Praise be to God, this does exist with the existence of honest forces that struggle, like General Awn, Franjiyah, and those with them.

"...Deputy Walid Junblatt reached the point where he called for expelling the Iranian ambassador from Lebanon and for preventing the Iranian planes from taking off from or landing at the Beirut Airport. The 14 March statement has also described the Iranian ambassador as the high commissioner who seeks to expand the state of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"...The Iranian ambassador is the ambassador of a respected state. Its name is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which supported Lebanon. Neither Walid Junblatt nor those who are with him can do this, taking into consideration that the Iranian ambassador considers himself as a representative of his country in a state that respects him. The people of this state respect him and respect his state. As for saying that something is passing through the airport, Walid Junblatt knows what he brings through the airport.

"He also knows the cars that pass without inspection, which belong to him and to others. We do not have anything to hide or to cover. The airport is open and everyone knows what is happening in it. Practically speaking, Iran is providing Lebanon with all that is good. It is a respected state and its ambassador has a respected status. We do not want to engage into vituperations on this issue."

"...The issue of internationalization is rejected in the sense to have international forces come to take control of the country. This is not allowed and they cannot do this. However, taking everything to the UN Security Council, they are already taking everything to the UN Security Council. The UN Security Council has issued several resolutions. We tell them that such kind of action is useless.

"You have tried to involve the UN Security Council in this and to instigate all states against us. You will not be able to achieve anything in Lebanon, taking into consideration that we, the Lebanese, should reach understanding with each other. The opposition's popular representation is large and it constitutes the majority in representing the people. No one can deny this and they should deal with this file."

"... Resolution 1701 is clear. It neither needs explanation nor amendment. Consequently, throughout the past period, their reports have been clear to the effect that the side that violates and attacks is Israel. There have been minor and limited incidents and the UNIFIL informed its command of them. We do not believe that there is anything that needs to be amended now. Consequently, the issue of doing whatever they want to do with us in Lebanon is out of the question. No one can make a decision on behalf of Lebanon.

"In light of this, I say that this is an attempt to draw further international pressure. Let me be more frank here. There is a stage called a vacuum stage. America is burdened with its problem in Iraq and it is burdened in Palestine and Afghanistan. It is exhausted and it cannot accomplish anything. America has never been involved in any problem and emerged from it successful. America believes that Lebanon should be satisfied at this stage with the government of Al-Sanyurah, no matter how long it may take, along with some political pressures by the internal tools.

"...I hope that there will be relaxation. Regrettably, however, all facts do not indicate a coming relaxation. The Americans are not ready to leave their group in Lebanon to move towards an agreement. They are satisfied with the existing situation and they are preoccupied with the region. Therefore, they do not believe that it is time to tackle the situation in Lebanon now. So, they want to leave the situation as it is instead of having a worse situation, based on their viewpoint. The authority group does not come up with solutions.

"They always evade giving an answer... The solution is clear. It includes three simple headings: A consensual president, and we agree that the consensual president is Brigadier General Sulayman; the national unity government based on the agreement that we reach; and the election law. There are no other issues. So, let us agree on this"

"...Practically, we believe that the pro-government team has not given a positive answer, has not announced its agreement on a declaration of intentions, and has not embarked on a solution.

"...For security considerations, I cannot answer this question clearly. However, I can say that Israel is tirelessly trying and planning continuously to carry out acts of a security nature against the resistance. We are aware of this and we have evidence and facts."

"... If anything is to be announced during Bush's visit, it will be negative for the Palestinians. It will not be positive and will not be in their interest. Consequently, this is not a step towards a solution, but this will complicate the solution. I do not believe that Bush has any solution in his quiver. Bush will either say that there will be no return for the refugees, something which means that he is complicating the situation; or say that there will be announcement of a purely Jewish state, something which also means that he is complicating the situation. Consequently, all this is an attempt to support Israel.

"I once said, and I will repeat this today for the viewers to think carefully of this; Israel has returned 60 years backward. It will today celebrate its return 60 years backward, why? This is because throughout the past period, Israel has been working to stifle resistance inside Palestine. It believed that after 1967, it has managed to prevent military actio n inside entire Palestine.

"However, in 1987, there was the first stone intifadah and then it abated and the resistance operations have almost become rare. As of 2000 until now, Palestine has been boiling with all its constituents. This means that what Israel did over 50-55 years has collapsed as of 2000 and until now." - Al-Manar, Lebanon



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