Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah military leader for over 30 years, gave his first public video-link address since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks after prayers on Friday.
He did not give the expected “Call To Arms,” for a inflaming rallying cry to the death even though he stated that his followers had a “duty to respond” to Israel’s bombings in Gaza, and that a potential escalation was possible and realistic.
The speech was ratcheted up with his anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and anti-American rhetoric and insults, as expected, but it was not a declaration of war.
The video was shown across Lebanon at several sites.
The largest outside site was in southern Beirut, Hezbollah’s stronghold, where thousands gathered waving Hezbollah and Palestinian flags and posters brandishing Nasrallah’s face. Some even waved Iran’s flag in adulation because Iran is Hezbollah’s main supporter.
The Muslim cleric had not appeared in a large public gathering since 2011 because of security.
Today, Nasrallah ranted, raved, and boasted, but fell short with more of a wait and see twisted with lies, deflection, name-calling, convoluted narratives facts and one startling lie that can be proven with irrefutable evidence.
The timbre of Nessar message was not nearly as provocative as it was expected to be among diplomatically circles, or as fearful afterwards for Lebanese anticipating in advance that he may drag the country into a war with Israel.
The majority of Lebanese have no desire to go to war with Israel. They remember only too well the last war with Israel in 2006 and have not fully recovered economically and their government today is reeling from dysfunction.
Hezbollah had not only hyped Nasrallah’s address as a “major announcement,” but in the scheme of things, it could be described as anger and bold language, but in the end, Nasrallah called for an end to the war, and for the U.S. to end it.
He used specific words for purposes of indoctrinating his audience and proved to be disingenuous by claiming lies specifically pertaining to the Oct. 7 attacks.
The Hezbollah leader asserted that the Israeli-Hamas conflict was restricted only to the plight of Palestinians. That appeared to be the cleric’s attempt perhaps to dismiss any connection to the talks between Saudi Arabia and Israel’s newly established diplomatic ties and the attacks.
Calling the Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7 an “earthquake”, Nasrallah once again repeated his old adage that Israel is “more fragile than a spider’s web.”
He said Israel’s objective to get rid of Hamas once and for all was impossible.
“Is there anyone with a brain in his head who would have such a goal?” he asked.
Nasrallah compared the current conflict to the 2006 Israel war with Lebanon, which is hardly plausible. Lebanon cannot afford it economically for starters and having two American carriers off its shores is a clear reminder of deterrence.
“The end of this battle will be Gaza’s victory, and the defeat of this enemy,” he declared seemingly in reference to Israel.
As to America, “Your interests, your soldiers, your fleets” will be the biggest victims in a regional war.” Again, just political palaver.
By the time Nasrallah finished his nearly two hours message, he made it clear that he wanted the Gaza conflict to end and a victory for Hamas.
Hezbollah’s Shite Muslims are part of the “Axis of Resistance,” along with Hamas’ Sunni Muslims, Yemen’s Houthi, Iran’s Ayatollah and his regime, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and a myriad of other militias consisting of Afghan, Bahraini, Iraqi, and Pakistani fighters.
Nasrallah noted the attacks on US bases from the Axis of Resistance partners. He hailed the efforts of Iraqi paramilitaries, who have struck US bases in Iraq and Syria, and Yemen’s Houthi movement, which has fired rockets and drones at Israel.
Nasrallah started off his speech slowly and built up to that crescendo at the end and circled around again calling for ending the Gaza conflict.
In the beginning, he gratefully praised all the Palestinians “martyrs” and all those who lost their lives while the flags waved in the wind across the public audience. The optics clearly were staged.
He Insisted his followers have “a duty to respond to Israel’s attack on Gaza,” but, again it was not as fired-up as some had expected.
He warned of an escalation on the Lebanese border with Israel, but for those who understand history, the chances of a full blown war between Israel and Hezbollah are at this point.
But, with generalities, Nasrallah was outspoken.
“On our front, all options are open” as he threatened with swagger that “our forces are ready.”
He had harsh words for America.
“We are not scared of you…you send us messages, but we do not fear you…if you think you have large military weapons - we have large weapons…,” warned Nasrallah.
“All possibilities are open to us and really depends upon what Israel does,” he said.
Hezbollah is “ready and is prepared in coming days,” but it was clear that Nasrallah is reluctant to get in on all out war at this time. He may calibrate at the border but full engagement war was not his message.
An all out conflict would be an all out loss of lasting suffering and he knows it. Admittedly, Hezbollah is at war with Israel launching rockets into Israel on the border, tying up Israeli forces there, but the threats of escalation are very different than declaring war on Israel at this time.
At the beginning of the address, Nasrallah played on the heart strings of those who have lost their lives - Palestinians and Hezbollah militants who have been engaged with Israel calling them dead “martyrs of Hezbollah and those martyrs defending against Israel and the hands of Zionists also in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Acknowledging the families members of Palestinians and Lebanese “martyrs,” he said they were grateful to them and cited a verse from the Koran in the name of Allah for the families, and reminded his audience that Allah says “those who sacrifice will go to Heaven.”
“Prophets and others are waiting for them. Neither Americans or Zionist will take them. Family members are fighting this war on this earth
ethically, morally and spiritually against the Zionists. It is the best way to fight..for God that everyone should know…” he asserted.
The cleric rambled on how martyrs have given their loved ones to their God.
“That is our real force, which is our belief and duty in believing in our cause for the prepared unlimited sacrifice for all the respect for nation and people of Gaza,” Nasrallah stated.
The martyrs gave everything for the “resistance of Palestine,” he added.
“We have to send our gratitude to those who supported the effort internationally - Iraqi and Yemeni forces who have participated in this war,” said the cleric.
In referring to Hamas’ launch of Operation "Al-Aqsa Flood on Oct. 7, he said, “We have to clarify the suffering of Palestinians for last few years particularly with this [Israeli] cabinet very right-wing,” and referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayu as the “stupid minister.”
He reminded his audience specifically of the “thousand of prisoners in Israel” where “human rights is bad” and called attention to the “courts in Jerusalem,” seemingly because the judicial system convicted them.
“The last few weeks reverted to the siege on Gaza for the last 20 years with two million living in a small area and having a hard life with the latest dangers in West Bank, killing and arresting our people daily,” he said as if justifying the horrific Hamas terrorist attacks, which included rapes, murders, torture and even burning of babies alive and tossing grenades on children.
He cried out that there is “no United Nations, Arab League, European Union to ask” when the “politics of the enemy was persecution. This Zionist entity needs to open all these human cases,” and “open the case of Palestine to the whole world from the beginning.”
He characterized Hamas’ attacks as the “greatest operation on the Oct 7” and praised Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades as “great and sacred operation implemented by Palestinians one hundred percent,” negating any connection with Hezbollah and Iran.
By pointing out that Hamas alone took action on Oct. 7 without the support of other terrorist groups, he said the attack “made this operation very successful.” He characterized the battle as the “resistance movement.”
“There is no negative side to this operation. Could not do any other way. Hamas proved right for the battle,” he exclaimed. “A Perfect battle,” he added. “Those who ask for Hezbollah to enter a full battle with the enemy will find what is done so far is “modest,” he boasted.
Nasrallah is not the only voice in Lebanon but he represents the stronghold of Hezbollah in Beirut, and wants to come across as the voice of the Middle East.
But, the kicker was Nasrallah’s denial of reality.
“Hamas did not kill on Oct.7,” Nasrallah claimed. “It was Israelis who killed on Oct. 7.”
His objective was a ceasefire and a Hamas/Palestinians victory.
Could this change in a heartbeat?
Nasrallah has 100,000 Hezbollah under him as the man who tactically moves the military and funding. Hezbollah has an arsenal of 150,000 rockets, which can reach anywhere inside Israel, but the U.S. could take out Hezbollah’s rockets.
The comparison between now and the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah hardly seems plausible because if an escalation were to occur in 2023, it would really be between Israel and Lebanon, and the configuration of the U.S. in the mix in 2023 with two carriers sitting in the Mediterranean changes the game although it would put U.S. in a difficult position with Lebanon. The U.S. is a friend of Lebanon, but not a friend of Hezbollah.
Nasrallah’s address denoted a reluctance on his part to take the fight to the next step for the time being.
He was passionately angry but seemed frustrating mentioning the destruction of mosques, churches, schools and hospital as if he knows he is limited.
His plea that U.S. is the only country in the world to end this war was before he pleaded for the international community to end it.
Nasrallah missed him mark because he showed himself for what he is calling Hamas’ operation “perfect,” when in the end, Hamas not only committed the atrocities on Oct. 7, but they filmed their actions, and there is no getting around the barbarism of not only burning babies alive but filming the scenes and posting the images online.
Hamas incriminated themselves with a level of macabre, known only to have been perfected by ISIS before them.
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