On November the 1st, Hezbollah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah made his third televised appearance since the outbreak of the recent Lebanese uprising, to speak about the slogans of the protesters and the insults thrown by them, while expounding upon his party's outlook on the upcoming period and on the formation of a new government.
Nasrallah began his speech on the Lebanese uprising declaring that there have been positives emerging since the outbreak of the protests which could be built upon. However, the Secretary-General also chose to focus on criticizing the insults and swear-words featured in the protests and which are directed at certain symbols of the regime. He declared: "Whoever insults is guilty; so too is anyone who provided a platform for this matter - indeed, some media outlets incited it – especially when the insults and offensive words are directed at their “honored possessions” [female family members.]"
Despite the fact that the chants of the protesters have been directed at all the political class, under the slogan of "All of them means all of them", Nasrallah implied that these insults were directed against one specific faction.
He added: "All of these insults have created a form of anger on the streets, and what has prevented the situation from escalating to clashes is foresight and awareness, which many Lebanese in various regions displayed." The Secretary-General continued: "All of those who want chaos and clashes in the street and between the political factions must be confronted with patience, and for us not to fulfil their desire whatever the psychological pressures. Some people will claim that I am making threats. I am saying that those who want to express their opinions have the right to do so, but must rise above insulting people, using swear-words and inciting against others."
Nasrallah: "Whoever curses is guilty; so too is anyone who provided a platform for disseminating curses - indeed, some media outlets incited it – especially when the insults and offensive words are directed at their honour (female members of the family).
Hezbollah’s Nasrallah called for forming a sovereign government with ministers who do not reach out to the US embassy – affirming that the Lebanese people have enough great minds to exit their crisis.
Nasrallah proceeded to accuse those who chanted insults as being premediated and "not spontaneous" in nature, instead saying that they planned to incite violence: "Don't those who are insulted have a family and supporters who are provoked by it? I am saying that there are those who wanted to provoke the opposite side to create internal fighting because everyone has their weapons, and what was sought was that the street becomes inflamed and rages with conflict." He continued: "With a lot of patience, awareness and discipline the Lebanese were able to circumvent falling into what some people wanted from chaos and infighting. There are clear indicators of this, not least the huge amount of insults and swear-words. This was not a spontaneous matter."
Nasrallah continued: "It is not permitted for someone to push others into the protest movement using sectarian mottos, the movement has shown that it has demands that are cross-sectarian." Additionally, he accused those who called for the downfall of state institutions as not being able to offer an alternative to fill the void.
Nasrallah continued his commentary on the protests, stating that he appreciates and respects those who want to continue protesting, so long as it was "with integrity and cross-sectarian." He affirmed that Hezbollah has not aimed to either disperse the protests or control it; instead, he called on his supporters to withdraw from the streets out of fear that their presence may cause issues on the ground. Ultimately, Nasrallah once again warned against the protests taking Lebanon to a vacuum in governance and chaos.
On Hariri's Resignation?
As for Hariri's resignation, Nasrallah affirmed that a caretaker government, or any previous or future government, should not be described as "Hezbollah's government" – making clear that Hezbollah was not the possessor of the strongest influence in the government, as it was not in charge of any major ministries, and stating that those who claim otherwise seek to place the responsibility for government failures at the feet of Hezbollah.
Nasrallah added that he was not for the resignation of Sa'ad al-Hariri's government, adding that Hariri had reasons for resigning that "we do not want to discuss" – noting that it stopped Hariri's reform plan which was going to address the calls of the people.
Nasrallah added that Hezbollah was always with reforms which could find serious solutions for the people, including a general amnesty which many have been awaiting.
The Anticipated Government
Nasrallah called on the Lebanese people to make sure that a governance vacuum does not occur, and for a new government to be formed soon, declaring: "[The government] listens to the voice of the people and is putting forward programs to answer [their grievances] under the title of 'restoring trust', as the government must propose all of the elements and ingredients that imply trust, seriousness in work and transparency; without clarity, honesty and transparency we will not reach a solution in the country."
Nasrallah called for the Lebanese to look past everything in favor of the national interest, and for a dialogue between all political parties and blocs including the protest movement. Furthermore, he cited the role of the United States in preventing Lebanon from exiting the current situation. He also called for a sovereign government composed of patriotic elements, who do not contact or reach out to the US embassy – affirming that the Lebanese people have enough great minds, experiences, human resources and creativity which will help them exit the crisis.