Interview of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah by Sami Kleib in the programme 'The Game of Nations' on Al-Mayadeen TV, January 3, 2018 (Excerpts)
[...] Sami Kleib: At the end of the first part of our interview, we concluded on two points. In the first point, you said that the events in Iran will have no consequences and are over, and in the second point we evoked, the most dangerous, is that Trump and Israel are pushing the region towards a big war, and in case this war would be triggered, the Resistance Axis is preparing and has to be prepared. And I ask Your Eminence, are you really worried and concerned that this war happens? Because I understand from your comments that the war is (a real) possibility, they will perhaps trigger it, and that you (are certain to) be victorious in this war.
Hassan Nasrallah: Listen, regarding the possibility of war, it is real. As for the degree of probability, we cannot rule it out, not even for a moment. Because with such a mentality, such an administration... And whatever they say, it's not just Trump, but the Vice-President, the whole of this administration, their vision... You see how some approached the cause of Al-Quds. He approached it with a religious point of view! These things are related to...
If you read the statements of the USAmericans and even the Israelis, you see he wants an Armageddon; he prepares a (real) Armageddon and heads towards it with force. We know their mentality.
Sami Kleib: They are supported by Christian Zionists.
Hassan Nasrallah: Anyway, we need to keep our eyes riveted on this possibility, because after they destroyed the negotiation process, what they call the peace process, what are the remaing choices? Where do they want to bring the region (if not to war)? This is why I say it is a real possibility. I do not say more than that. Because to say more than that, we need evidence, and we would worry people. That is true. But it would not be fair for any of us to enjoin people to be reassured, with Trump and Netanyahu, with all these madmen, and to say that the region could not be better, that there is nothing to fear, that peace is guaranteed. Where do we see this? There is absolutely no indication in that direction. That's why we must speak of permanent possibility (of war).
Here, the only possibility is enough, from the point of view of rationality and responsibility, to push us to take action. Namely we must prepare, organize, strengthen our front, our Axis, our men, our situation and our capabilities, because (war) may happen (from one day to the other). If it does not happen, we will have lost nothing. We will be reinforced. And if it happens, we will be ready to face it.
Sami Kleib: Eminent Sayed, so you get prepared with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine? This is your (Resistance) Axis now?
Hassan Nasrallah: Basically, yes. Naturally, we also consider included in the Axis, because it is not necessarily only a military axis, all personalities, movements, parties and forces in the Arab and Muslim worlds that support this path. We consider them as part of the (Resistance) Axis. But the main military forces on the front are those we just mentioned.
But let me add the Yemeni element. The Yemeni element that is currently agressed and attacked. When I announced that in the next war, there will not be tens but hundreds of thousands (of fighters joining us), if you remember, after only a few days, Sayed Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, in a live speech, announced that he was ready, and that jihadists Yemeni forces were ready to participate in this war (against Israel).
I'll even tell you more than that. Through the constant contact between us in one way or another, I received a letter directly after my speech, and before Sayed Abdel-Malik al-Houthi announced this position on TV, informing me that they were ready, in case of war, to send forces by the tens of thousands if we needed it, tens of thousands of fighters, even if the Saudi-American war against them continues. Yemen today, what is known as the Yemeni army and the popular forces who are fighting, are fully at our side in the Resistance Axis and the Resistance Front. And besides, it's one of the reasons for the war against Yemen.
Sami Kleib: That is true. Eminent Sayed, so that it is not said right after this interview (as is often the case) that you exaggerated in your statements, and how (Hezbollah) could be victorious in this war (to come against Israel) while there are powerful States, NATO, the possibility of a world war, and yet you affirm that you will enter (occupied Palestine) beyond Galilee in the next war if it occurs. Can we imagine reasonably that Hezbollah fighters will invade Galilee and beyond?
Hassan Nasrallah: If a great war happens... Now, the question of Galilee is distinct, it is an issue that was mentioned in the past, and we have always made clear that the basic position (announced to) Resistance fighters is "Be prepared for the day when the Resistance leaders might ask you to enter the Galilee or free the Galilee."
In terms of going beyond Galilee, this is related to the general idea of which we are speaking. If a major war occurs in the region, anything can happen.
Sami Kleib: Why are you certain of being victorious, Eminent Sayed? Why this certainty? Does it come from God, from the Invisible (world)? Or is there some real field data?
Hassan Nasrallah: As for God, the Invisible and the question of trust in God Almighty and the Exalted, and in His promise, this obviously has a fundamental place. But God Almighty, even when He assured (believers) of His help and His support, He set (material) conditions: "Prepare against (your enemies) all the forces you can." (Qur'an 8:60) And He said, "If you help (the cause of) Allah, He will support you." (Quran, 47:7) The second part (our own efforts on the ground) is fundamental.
Our reading of the Israeli enemy through all the experiences and all the wars is different. This enemy has no strength in himself. And it is possible to defeat him. That's the first point. This was an old debate but we ended it. No one can question the achievements of the Resistance in Lebanon and Palestine. One of the greatest achievements of the Resistance on the military, moral, cultural, psychological and political levels, is to have shattered the myth of the invincible Israeli army. (We have shown) that this army can be defeated.
And I'm going even further. Those who are capable of inflicting a defeat on ISIS and takfiri forces in Syria and Iraq are much more capable of defeating the Israeli army.
Sami Kleib: ISIS is more difficult (to defeat) than the Israeli army?
Hassan Nasrallah: Of course, there is no doubt about it. The Israeli army has only one point of strength, its aviation. But air force (alone) does not win the battle. As powerful as it may be, the air force cannot win the battle.
Sami Kleib: And the air force will weaken in the future (due to possible anti-aircraft capability of Hezbollah) ?
Hassan Nasrallah: It must weaken! The fight against takfiri forces is infinitely more difficult than the fight (against Israel). You see, there is a huge difference between the takfiri fighter and the Israeli officer and soldier. I am not exaggerating the strength (of takfiris), no. But I must be honest. When you take part in a battle in which hundreds of suicide bombers face you... I do not consider them martyrs. Hundreds of suicide bombers on a vehicle containing one or two tons of explosives, and they attack your brigade, your battalion or your positions. They are ready to die, without any limit. Regardless of the reasons that led them there (indoctrination, drugs...).
(Hezbollah and other forces fought) on this very dangerous front in Syria for 7 years, a little bit more than 3 years in Iraq, and we managed to inflict a defeat on ISIS, and I declare that it would have been possible to overcome them faster without the support and protection of ISIS by Americans. This must be reported. The Israeli army, Professor Sami, its soldiers, just to move forward, as we saw them in 2006, and also in the last battle in Gaza at Shuja'iya (2014), we saw how the Israeli elite troops were fighting: to move forward, their soldiers and officers must be preceded by armored vehicles, followed by war ambulances, yes, ambulances, and above them, there must be helicopters and air force. Without all that, they do not make a step forward. Such a soldier is defeated (beforehand), he is a coward who has no will to fight, despite all materials and capacity provided. We have seen this in Lebanon, Gaza, and it is this reality that is present inside occupied Palestine.
Today we are facing an Israeli army which got out of several defeats, and since 2006 they do nothing but equipping themselves, training, make maneuvers, again and again...
Sami Kleib: But you too.
Hassan Nasrallah: We don't deny it. But they have not solved their problem. Because their problem is not with tanks, planes and weapons. Their problem is men. The fundamental equation introduced by the Resistance, and in which the Resistance Axis has the upper hand today, in this battle, it's the human equation. I am one of those who sit at a table and say that 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, because the result is 3, I am using (indisputable) field data.
Today, for example, one of the most important strengths, we need people to know, one of our key strengths in the great battle (on preparation) against the Zionists is that currently, there are hundreds of thousands of fighters ready to fight this battle without any limits.
Sami Kleib: Shooting down airplanes?
Hassan Nasrallah: You keep questioning me about (the ability to) shoot down planes.
Sami Kleib: But this is the equation...
Hassan Nasrallah: (There are hundreds of thousands) of aspirants to martyrdom (ready to fight Israel). You see, in the past - when we met with various Resistance movements, we talked about the past - one Yemeni youth would join such Palestinian faction, as would a young Tunisian, Algerian, Egyptian.
Today we no longer speak of (some) young people coming from here or there. We're talking about real forces, military and jihadists formations who fought on different grounds, who took part in the most difficult battles, who are not afraid, who are extremely experienced, who trust in God and in themselves. Today they are present in the Resistance Axis.
Sami Kleib: Very good. Everything you say is very promising. But one might argue, Eminent Sayed, that you affirm pompously that you will defeat Israel, invade it and cross borders, but Israel bombs you in Syria, and you do absolutely nothing in return, you have not retaliated. What is the reason?
Hassan Nasrallah: It is in the interest of preparing for the Great (upcoming) War.
Sami Kleib: That is to say ?
Hassan Nasrallah: First, at the point where things are, we all care not to be led to an escalation in a particular place, unless one has no choice. In Syria, Israel strikes some things. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail, they do not succeed every time. This is are details I will not evoke. But they have not succeeded nor will they succeed in preventing - Israel knows it, I do not reveal a secret here - the capacity, the means and the preparation of the Resistance in Lebanon to increase. This is something we need to endure until further notice, I'm not saying we will tolerate (these attacks) indefinitely. (We patient) until further notice, in the interest of the general strategic objective (ISIS defeat and preparation for the great war against Israel). And that's what I called the rules of engagement.
Sami Kleib: Very good. You warned me that you will not enter into details, but let me ask a question. The Israeli strikes positions, warehouses or factories of Hezbollah's weapons or missiles did not prevent weapons from reaching Hezbollah? This is what you mean?
Hassan Nasrallah: They have not prevented it and will not prevent it. And they know it very well. I do not tell you a secret here, even if it is perhaps the first time that I say it to the media. But the Israelis themselves know it.
Sami Kleib: There is also a last front (I would like to mention) with your permission before we address the Syrian issue, Eminent Sayed, and it is the front of southern Syria. Much has been said about it, and Israelis are very worried, namely that Hezbollah and Iran, of course with the help and support of the Syrian army who also fought for 7 years, are preparing for Resistance near the border, from the Golan to the entire length of the southern border. Is it true? Is there any new Resistance against Israel at the Syrian-Palestinian border?
Hassan Nasrallah: You see, it is once again somethingthat it's better not (to) speak about.Ultimately...
Sami Kleib: It's a mute interview (withoutrevelations), Eminent Sayed.
Hassan Nasrallah: This is because you insist on difficult (secret) issues. The enemy is quite right to worry, I tell him he's right to worry. Because in the end, what happened in the Syrian south, it is a major experiment that is now a possibility for Syrian youth and the Syrian army. The army as a national army and Syrian youth. Because you know that in Syria it is not only the army that fights. Those that Syrian media refer to as the Allied forces, they are Syrian Popular formations composed of young people from villages, cities and regions, each in his area, Aleppo youth in Aleppo, those of Deraa in Deraa, those of Hama in Hama, those of Homs in Homs, etc., those of Suweida in Suweida, etc., they fought in their provinces. These young people have gained a great and valuable experience, especially on the southern front. Because the nature of the fighting on the southern front was sometimes classic warfare, sometimes guerrilla warfare, on both sides. Concretely, this has created a human structure, at the level of thinking, experience, preparation, which can be assembled in 24 hours. It is not necessary that an effective (permanent) formation exists.
Our very presence in the Syrian south, for reasons related to the nature of the ongoing battle in Syria, wherever we find ourselves, it is natural that Israel be worried, because there is a visceral opposition between us and the Israelis. This is why the Israelis are worried about anything that can happen in southern Syria, and they work, they push, they try to take advantage of US pressure, they try to talk with Russia, they try to threaten, frighten, they yell, so that there is no Resistance and no resistant in the Syrian south. But so far they have not succeeded.
So it happened, there is a presence of the Resistance, from what I understand from your words, there are resistant cells ready for any coming war against Israel.
Hassan Nasrallah: The Resistance is present in the south of Syria, and anyway, it's a normal thing on the defensive side, and Syria has the right to have this Resistance present at her service, if it is attacked, and it also has the right, at any time, to make the decision to resort to popular Resistance to liberate the Golan (from the Israeli occupation). And if you remember well, in the last years before the events in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad had referred clearly and explicitly to it, stating that they may eventually opt for this choice. And it is a logical and natural choice that is greatly feared Israel. Israel is very afraid of that.
Hassan Nasrallah: The Popular Resistance mentioned by President Bashar al-Assad was Syrian.
Sami Kleib: Yes.
Hassan Nasrallah: But now, from what I understand from Your Eminence, there is both a Syrian and non-Syrian Popular Resistance on the southern front.
Sami Kleib: Yes. [...]