BEIRUT — In a speech marking the 6th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah renewed his support Wednesday for the regime of embattled Syrian President Assad and praised the three generals killed in a bombing in Damascus, describing them as comrades-in-arms to the resistance party.
|Supporters wave Hizbullah and Syrian regime flags as Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses thousands of supporters by video during the sixth anniversary of Israel-Hizbullah war, in Haret Hreik, Beirut, July 18, 2012. REUTERS/Sharif Karim|
Nasrallah referred directly to the top Syrian officials who were killed, Defense Minister Daoud Rajha and his deputy Assef Shawkat. "When Gaza had nothing to eat Syria sent missiles and food. Rajha and Shawkat symbolize the Syria which helped the resistance in Palestine. While other Arab regimes blocked the transfer of food and donations to Gaza, it was Syria that sent food and weapons to Gaza and took a chance. This is the Syria of Bashar Assad, this is the Syria of the martyr leaders. We denounce this blow which only serves the interests of the enemy."
The Hizbullah chief placed the Syrian crisis within the context of what he described as a long-term policy by the U.S. and Israel to strip Arab states of real military capabilities. “They just want a police force,” he said, noting that one of the U.S. military’s first acts in Iraq following the conquest of Baghdad was to disband the military. He said this plan served only to protect Israel at all costs. He warned Israel against staging "a first strike" in any future attack on Lebanon, vowing that Israel would get "a big surprise" from Hizbullah.
Nasrallah reiterated Hizbullah's support for a strong Lebanese Army and called for genuine national consensus on boosting the Army's military capabilities.
"In order to confront internal and external threats, there is one point of national consensus on strengthening the Lebanese Army as an institution defending the country. But is there really a national consensus on this? I doubt it," he said."What weakens the Army these days most is accusing it of confessionalism and sectarianism, infiltrating it by groups and casting doubts about its patriotism and neutrality on national issues even though it has proved its neutrality," he added.