‘US/Israel seek Lebanese civil war to derail a Hezbollah in its prime’: Kandil

October 18, 2021

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In light of the recent massacre of seven protesters and the wounding of dozens of others in a highly sensitive district of Beirut, senior political analyst Nasser Qandil argues that the US and Israel are seeking to drag Hezbollah into a new Lebanese civil war that would rob the movement from engaging in a decisive war with Israel while in its military prime.

Days ago, on the 14th of October, at least seven people were killed and 60 others injured after unknown gunmen attacked Hezbollah and Amal supporters as they passed through Beirut’s sensitive Tayyouneh district as part of an organised peaceful protest.

In a joint statement, Hezbollah and Amal said armed groups belonging to Samir Geagea’s Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) Party fired at the protesters from rooftops, aiming at their heads, in an attempt to drag Lebanon into a sectarian civil war.

The Tayyouneh district is historically an area of political and sectarian sensitivity, as a key site in the outbreak and development of Lebanon’s Civil War (1975-1990).

Source: NBN via Kalam Siyasi (YouTube)

Date: October 17, 2021

(Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations by contributing a small monthly amount here )

Transcript:

Nasser Qandil, Senior Lebanese Political Analyst:

I hear those that (say) ‘they believe Lebanon is a priority (for the US to target)’. Indeed (it is), from the very first day that a resistance (movement in Lebanon) was born, (a resistance) that defeated and humiliated Israel, Lebanon became an American priority, because Israel was – and will always remain – an American priority. (It is only if) the resistance (in Lebanon) is defeated, only then will Lebanon no longer be an American priority.
 
Back in 2007, I saw an image of (former PM) President Fouad Saniora with (former) President George W. Bush on the White House lawn, and the news said that the Prime Minister of Japan was (meanwhile) waiting in the hotel; Lebanon is not more important than Japan (for the US), and (former) President Fouad Saniora is not more important than the Prime Minister of Japan either, but the resistance (in Lebanon) is indeed more important than the US interests in Japan, because it threatens Israel’s security and poses an existential threat to Israel’s future. (Therefore,) as long as this reality (i.e. resistance being an existential threat to Israel) increases and grows, and the American concern about it grows (in light of the) idea of (a US) withdrawal from the (Middle East) region, (the US worries) how (it) will leave Israel (behind with the threat of) this reality. Consequently, (US) activity for creating security belts for Israel is accelerating.

(Yet) from whom (does the US want to protect Israel)? Iran will not start a war (against Israel) – let’s say things as they are – Syria will not start a war (on the level of) states. The spearhead that can turn any confrontation in (this) region (between it and) Israel into a war –

Host:

– (is) the resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) –

Qandil:

– is the resistance in Lebanon, which the Israelis say (about it) – and that’s not me saying it – the Israelis say, and the Americans (themselves) say that the surplus power that Hezbollah now has at the level of the expertise of its fighters (gained) from the Syrian war, (these fighters) who are more than 50,000 and that possess contemporary (and advanced) combat experience, and (at the level of) the kinds of weapons that it has, (this powerful position of Hezbollah) may not be seen again. (They believe that) five years later, Hezbollah may not have this readiness (for war) which they have today –


Host:

– Why (is that)?

Qandil:

Because five years later, the resistance (in Lebanon) might not possess weapons more advanced than the precision-guided missiles (it currently has), while the Americans and Israelis might possess a more developed (weapon by then), at least this (current favourable position for Hezbollah) is not guaranteed (in the future), (while) now it is guaranteed that (Hezbollah) is the superior (force today), and (their weapons) are the more powerful/effective weapons. (Hezbollah’s) elite fighters that have just came out of a war still have the same vitality, readiness, and (required) experience to enter a new war. Five years later (however, according to US calculations), this (elite force) would be out of the battlefield, and a new generation that does not have the experience of the (previous elite) would be on (front lines instead) –

Host:

– For this reason, they are working on suppressing this (generation of elites) and producing a new generation; the fifth-generation (perhaps)?

 
Qandil:

No, they consider – the Israelis consider – that Hezbollah is ready for a war (against them) now, for that, we must pass up (Hezbollah’s) opportunity of dragging us into a war which they have the legitimacy (to start). They believe that Hezbollah is on full readiness (to start) a war. I’m not adopting (these views), I’m describing the American-Israeli view; they say that the issue of (intercepting) the fuel ships (coming from Iran to Lebanon) gives Hezbollah the legitimacy to start a war if we intercept them –

Host:

– (This would) justify (starting a war against Israel).


Qandil:

–  (Hezbollah) would obtain the legitimacy (to start a war) but they –

Host:

– The (Israelis) don’t want to go to a war against (Hezbollah) because (Hezbollah) enjoys full readiness –

Qandil:

– Yes, (that’s the point), in their opinion (Hezbollah) is now (fully ready for a war) –

Host:

– five years later, will (Hezbollah) no longer be ready for a war (against Israel)?

Qandil:

That’s (the US and Israel’s) reading of the matter, that they must avoid (going to a war against Hezbollah) during the (next) five years –

Host:

– So, for the next five years, the (preferred US-Israeli war is the war –

Qandil: 

– a Lebanese civil war –

Host:

– that (seems to be) brewing today. They would distract (Hezbollah) with internal (affairs and issues) –

Qandil:

– Exactly!

Host:

– They’re betting (their hopes on Hezbollah’s loss of) this readiness five years later –

Qandil:

– Exactly! (Hezbollah, according to their perception,) will be drained and have lost the moral high ground (that it enjoys today), and that’s a very significant matter; Hezbollah (is) a pure force (i.e. committed to morals/ethics etc) no matter how hard they try to slander it –

Host:

– The balance of power will change too.

Qandil:

– (but) when (Hezbollah) takes part in the civil war ‘game’, it’ll no longer be the same (party) it was, it will turn into a local militia (fighting) with (other) local militias. Even the majesty of (Hezbollah’s) power will erode by (its very participation in) the civil war, as it is different from wars that we’re familiar with, (such as) wars against Israel and other (enemies threatening Lebanon). Consequently, (dragging Hezbollah into a civil war) is necessary for the erosion of its moral and material strength. Therefore, the American-Israeli decision, after their failure in turning the October 17 (2019 protests) into a revolution against Hezbollah (under the false pretext that it is the party) responsible for the (Lebanese) economic crisis and the prohibition of cash flow into Lebanon – after this failure – the alternative (plan) is (exploiting) the (Beirut) Port (explosion) investigation case and triggering the Christian street with militia formations to lure Hezbollah into a civil war –

Host:

–  And (Hezbollah) will not be tempted (by this incitement).

Qandil:

Until now…

Host:

Those are dangerous words! What (do you mean by) ‘until now’?

Qandil:

Let me explain to you –

Host:

Why (would they be lured into a civil war)?

Qandil:

(In) my opinion, there is always a limit to which leaderships can control the (rage) of the public, and those who know the history of wars would understand this idea; we are currently before – there are opinions that have begun to emerge among the Shias –

Host:

– ‘Why didn’t we continue (the fight in Tayyouneh), we would’ve beat them up…’

Qandil:

(Yes, and talk such as) ‘we always adopt stances of chivalry, we get slaughtered and killed, and you (leaderships) tell us (to be) patient and endure (the harm that is targeting us); they did (the same) to us in Khaldeh, and Badaro as well, and tomorrow they’ll (attack us for the) third and fourth time’ –

Host:

– And (they attacked Shias) in…I forgot what’s the name of the town, near the Lebanese borders…

Qandil:

Yes, in southern (Lebanon), in Chouaya.

Host:

Yes, (I meant) Chouaya.

Qandil:

If we reach a moment where – God forbid – the focal point that is supposed to deal with (a certain attack) is one of the (Shia) tribes (in Lebanon), and the Amal and Hezbollah leaderships fail to control them, and (if the events take place) in an area in which control is not organized (by certain political leaderships); an area in which, if a tribe was attacked, and the people respond (to the attack) – I’m giving scenarios (as an example) –

Host:

– So, the scheme to create a civil will remain (a major threat today) –

Qandil:

In 1975, Imam Musa al-Sadr (may God reveal his whereabouts), why did he go to the town of al-Qaa? Because the problem was made up there (in al-Qaa) such that the people of the (Shia) tribes would attack al-Qaa; a problem was made up (to drag Shia) tribes ( in a war against Christians), so (Imam al-Sadr) had to go and sit in the church and say ‘I would defend this church with my ‘amāmah (turban) and jubbah (gown)’, because he felt that the target (of the made up events) was to trigger a response (from Shia tribes in that region).

Okay, so Mr (Nabih) Berri would do it once (i.e. call people to control their rage and follow the orders of the leadership), his eminence Sayyed (Hassan Nasrallah) would do it too, (but) if the scheme (of dragging Lebanese people into a civil war) is ongoing, if there’s no general national climate that would react to this threat (with wisdom) and (take the necessary) steps at that level, if (we keep acting upon) the prevailing mentality in security, judiciary, and political (affairs in Lebanon) that is the mentality of ‘Abu Melhem’ (i.e. a TV character that’s referred to in Lebanese culture to denote a person who proposes reconciliation and peaceful solutions in all dispute) to (resolve issues) with courtesy, using (words like) ‘disputes’  (to describe severe problems), and (calling for) controlling a situation (whenever an issue arises) –

Host:

– (falling into a civil war) would be inevitable (in that case)? –

Qandil:

(We) will then be in (grave) danger (of falling into a civil war) – in my opinion – we will be in (grave) danger.

R

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