The Syria Times e-newspaper is indeed honored to republish H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad‘s landmark address to the Syrian journalists at Journalists Union 4th Conference :Al-Umawyeen Conference Palace, Damascus: August 15, 2006 .
Ladies and gentlemen members of the fourth general conference of the Journalists Union, Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me pleasure to meet you at the opening of the proceedings of your 4th conference and to express my appreciation to you and through you to the honest and honorable journalists who have been fighting a media battle no less ferocious and dangerous than the battles fought by your brothers on the fields of honour and dignity. Your battle aims at preserving the intellect and the spirit of the nation and protecting its identity and heritage against the systematic invasion which violates its dignity, tears apart it unity, distorts its cause, and strikes at its will to resist by promoting a culture of defeatism, submission and blind adherence to agendas set by the enemy and those who support it and promote its projects.
I am glad to meet you in this new Middle East, new in the sense that we understand and the shape we want, although it is not complete yet. It is new with the achievements of the Resistance; new in that it drew clear lines between the different forces; new in uncovering the games and conspiracies and lifting their masks and fake terminology in an unprecedented manner. This is the new Middle East which Syria has been promoting again and again as the only hope for Arabs if they are to have a place under the sun in the political and material sense. You all know that it was not easy for us to convince many people of our vision of the future. We had to wait for the future to become the present and to speak for itself. Today facts speak for themselves, not only as we imagined them in the past but in a clearer and more expressive manner.
We meet today when the Middle East they aspire to and which is based on submission, humiliation and on depriving peoples of their identities and their rights, has become an illusion. It has actually turned into a popular uprising throughout the Arab world, an uprising which is ban-Arab by nature, characterized by dignity and the rejection of all pretexts and excuses for keeping us submissive so that we are killed in silence in the same way that sacrifices used to be offered in the past to avoid the wrath of the gods. But offering sacrifices in the past was considered a form of wisdom. So, are we supposed to adhere to that wisdom today? And does wisdom have a meaning if it was separated from courage? If we are supposed to follow the lead of the invasion of Iraq, the invasion which reminds us of humanity’s past, I believe that this kind of wisdom is still a valid testimony to the fact that some of our Arab sages still adhere to that wisdom today. For wisdom to exist, it has to be coupled with courage in order to give the people the stability necessary to make people wise. But when fear exists, there is no place for fake wisdom which leads those who possess it to defeat and humiliation under the mask of wisdom. In our present Arab world, we might achieve victory under another false assumption which is adventure or recklessness. If wisdom has come to mean defeat and humiliation in the lexicon of some Arabs, it is natural to find in their lexicon that victory is equal to adventure and recklessness In order not get ourselves absorbed in theoretical discourse, let us ask ourselves about what we have achieved by being unwisely, irrationally and recklessly led by some of our supposed Arab sages for many past decades. We have achieved a great deal, but against our interests. Le us take the peace process as an example; and let us ask whether it has succeeded or failed. We have been talking repeatedly recently about the failure of the peace process. And all this talk about the failure and death of the peace process is absolutely true; but it is more accurate to say that the Arabs are the ones who failed in the peace process when they did not understand the meaning of making peace a strategic choice. They did not distinguish between making peace a strategic choice and making it the only choice. When there is a certain strategic choice, it does not mean that there are not other strategic choices, or there are not other tactical, if not necessarily strategic, choices.
Throughout the peace process, we the Arabs, have adopted the only choice for peace and abandoned all the other choices. We then replaced the spirit of the only choice with the choice of cheap or free peace. Under this choice we offer everything to Israel and get very little in return. In real fact, and in practice, we have offered a great deal, and some of us offered everything, and got nothing in return. That is why we see the Palestinians paying the price now, and that is why Syria refused, through its vision, to abandon any of its rights. When we say that we have made peace our strategic choice, it does not mean that we have cancelled the other choices. On the contrary, the more illusive the realization of peace becomes, the more important and necessary other ways and methods become in order to regain our rights. On the other hand, we in Syria have stressed this choice, the peace choice, from the very beginning of the peace process, but we adhered to the choice of resistance as long as peace has not been realized, particularly that the assumed partner in peace does not believe in this theory in the first place and has given us one evidence after another in confirmation of this fact. If we leave aside the many massacres perpetrated by Israel against the Arabs and other evidence, there is a clear evidence stated clearly by former Israel prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir at the beginning of the peace process when he said in 1991 that they will make the process last for ten years, which means that peace will not be achieved. That is what happened.
Today, and fifteen years later, peace has not been achieved. Before the peace process, Israel used to say that Israel wanted peace while Arabs wanted war. It was a surprise for them that Arabs accepted to get involved in the peace process. That is why they reacted by making this public statement. But the received Arab wisdom used to be that we have to close our eyes in order to corner Israel before the international community, which has been reduced into a few states which support Israel, ignoring and neglecting the rest of the world which mostly supports our causes. The result was that we have become embarrassed in front of our Arab people. We lost our respect and credibility in front of our friends and enemies alike. This was the Arab responsibility for the failure of the peace process. But what about the responsibility of others, with the exception, of course, of Israel and the United States.
The whole world got interested in the Middle East after the 1973 war. They focused all their attention on our region and started to talk about peace. This continued until we started the peace process in Madrid. This went, of course, through different stages. When most countries of the world were assured that the peace process has been launched through negotiations, they handed the whole process over to the United States, which remained the sole sponsor of this process. It, in turn, handed the process over to Israel. So, every proposal made to the Arabs during that period was either and Israeli proposal or a proposal approved by the Israelis. When most countries realized that the Arabs have dropped the real choice for peace and replaced it with a peace at the pleasure of Israel and the United States, they turned their back on the peace process and on us. Only today, during these battles, they remembered the peace process and remembered us. Of course we have to exclude Israel and the United States from this category, because Israel is an enemy, and as I said, does not want peace. Peace requires that Israel return the occupied land and return the usurped rights, while it is an enemy which was built on the bases of aggression and expansion.
We have always said that the United States is necessary and essential for the peace process based on its position as a superpower and through its relations with different parties. But it is not any United States. This administration adopts the principle of preemptive war that is absolutely contradictory to the principle of peace. Six years on with this administration, and there is no peace . Consequently, we do not expect peace soon or in the foreseeable future. We ask here, have they remembered us lately because of the death and destruction Israeli terrorism has caused in Lebanon? Of course not. There have been years of killing and destruction against the Palestinians, yet we have not heard of initiatives, solutions and extensive activity at the UN Security Council as is the case today. Have they moved because they are afraid of chaos or because of their concern for the security of the region which concerns them directly? The region’s security is a sufficient cause for them to move, but the region has been on the verge of an explosion for years, and they have not moved. So, why did they move at this stage? The fact of the matter is that they move only when Israel is in pain. And Israel is never in pain except when we have power.
This means, in the final analysis, that the world does not care about our interests, feelings and rights except when we are powerful. Otherwise, they would not do anything. They push us towards peace with what they say, but push us towards war with what they do. Here, the countries concerned with the peace process, and they are mostly European, are responsible for what is happening. We might wonder what motivates some officials in these countries to send messages and make statements concerning an ill prisoner. They are so concerned for the medical condition of this prisoner. What nobility! What humanity! What greatness! We might ask as well, where are these same officials concerning the massacres perpetrated in Lebanon? All those women, children and elderly people, and all this destruction and we have not heard anything from them, no messages, no protests, with the exception of some timid statements. I say that this has struck at the heart of their credibility. This means that there are other objectives for these messages. We know these objectives, but things have now become very clear. We might also ask that French official with burning enthusiasm, particularly concerning Syria, is he going to call for an international investigation committee to investigate the massacre of Qana, not to mention the other massacres, as he called for an investigation into the assassination of prime minister Hariri? Is the reason here that in the first case the suspect was Syria, and this is sufficient motive and justification, and in the second the suspect is Israel, and nothing should be done. Or is it that the children of Qana and other poor people do not deserve this official’s attention?
We are convinced that the natural way to achieve peace is through negotiations. But when this option fails, or when it is not available in the first place, resistance, in its different forms, is the alternative for restoring rights. Resistance is not necessarily or exclusively armed, it could be cultural or political or might take different forms of rejection. So, supporting resistance aims at achieving peace not war through deterring against aggression. If this does not work, it might be through war in order to liberate the land. Resistance is not contradictory to peace or an alternative for it. In our circumstances at least, it is necessary for the achievement of peace. Otherwise, the result will be that we will lose the battle of war and the battle for peace, particularly that Israel and those who stand behind it have shifted completely to adopting the military option based on preemptive war, while we the Arabs have remained in our place discoursing and negotiating with ourselves convinced of a promised peace with an illusory party which prepares itself on a daily basis for its next aggression on the Arabs . This subject of resistance and its importance has been under long discussions for over a decade now with foreign and Arab officials, and in the stage that preceded liberating the largest part of the Lebanese territories in 2000 we used to get into discussions with Arab and foreign officials about this issue. Of course, it did not surprise us that foreigners were not able to understand our logic, but in our deliberations with Arabs, which is of interest to us, we used to tell them that this resistance will liberate Lebanon and they, I mean some of them of course, used to answer that it is more like cat scratching. In 2000 Lebanon was liberated thanks to the resistance, which proved they were wrong and we were right. After 2000 once again we started to have the same kind of discussion as we, Arabs, are fond of repeating history with all its details without advancement sometimes. The same discussion took place by exerting pressure on Syrian with regard to the same issue. Our answer was that the resistance is a deterrent to any Israeli aggression, a logic which they once again rejected. Now the most recent battles prove the same logic. They were wrong and we were right, which means a double mistake in mathematical terms. If we want to calculate the result of previous discussions regarding other subjects starting by terrorism and going through the war on Iraq and Iran, we would have scored a big number of mistakes.
The latest developments in Lebanon have proven the validity of that logic. As aggression against Lebanon is not mainly linked to the abduction of the two soldiers; rather it was pre-planned before with the objective of regaining balance to the Israeli scheme that went under several relapses such as the defeat of the Israeli army before the resistance strikes and its withdrawal in 2000 and the failure of its allies in Lebanon in carrying out the missions that were delegated to them during the past short period of time. As for the abduction, it was for them a mere justification to start this aggression before the world. However, the result was more failure experienced by Israel, its allies and its masters and more steadfastness of the national forces that support the resistance, which made the concept of resistance more rooted in the minds and hearts of hundreds of millions in the Arab and Islamic region. Everyone knows now that the plan was prepared in advance and many wrote about the fact that this plan, of the war, has been set years before. In the Western and Arab media it is said that the Israelis have been well-prepared for these battles and it is also said that the scheme took its final shape last June and it was expected to be implemented next fall. Some say that considerations were made about the tourism season, but of course it is not possible that Israel would worry about the season of tourism, may be they would worry about the interest of their agents in Lebanon.
This reminds us of what I said in my speech before the Parliament on March 5th, 2005 that what is happening now is the same that happened on the 17th of May. Many of the young generation do not recall what took place in the real 17th of May, 1983 where there were Lebanese forces that worked as agents for Israel before the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Those forces failed in their plans of hitting the joint Palestinian-Lebanese resistance, so they started to incite and call Israel to save them by waging a war. Indeed the war took place with the objective of hitting the resistance and having Lebanon join the Israeli convoy. 17th of May failed. Today, the same repercussions have taken place: Lebanese groups fail in achieving their pro-Israeli scheme; so they incite Israel to come militarily in order to save them from the predicament and hit the resistance, therefore having Lebanon join the Israeli camp. In both incidents there is an Arabic coverage. That is why I stress the 17th of May incident. When a product fails in the world of business, it is reintroduced to the market under a new brand with certain superficial amendments. Similarly, and no matter what name we give to those groups whether we call them February or March forces, I would stress here that their product is that of May the 17th and this is an Israeli product. This will, naturally, invoke many attacks that you will hear on TV screens, which is helpful in assessing the use of this speech.
The more violent the attack, the better the speech, I think. Of course we will laugh a lot because there is a lot of political comedy now in the Lebanese political class. Now we can establish the correlation between resolutions 1559, 1780. and1701, the assassination of Hariri, and the last war on the one hand and the role of those Lebanese forcers and certain Arab forces on the other. The link has now become clear. You remember that two years ago or less than that before we used to say that resolution 1559 has nothing to do with the extension of President Lahoud’s term of office. It was quite difficult then to convince people of that. Now the same thing is happening once again. The war has nothing to do with the capture of the two soldiers and the whole world acknowledges this. Therefore, nothing has to do with anything. There is a pre-planned scheme and whoever fails to see this reality after all these events and clarity of matters must be suffering from a problem in their vision, what I mean here is the vision of the mind rather than of the eye.
Therefore, this resistance is essential in as much as it is natural and legitimate. Its legitimacy stems from the fact that the Israeli aggressions have not stopped since 2000 taking the form of the almost daily violation of Lebanese air space by Israeli warplanes. Add to this that Israel is still occupying part of the Lebanese territories and still keeps Lebanese prisoners who have been in Israeli jails for a long time. As for why this resistance is essential, let us just think of the direct achievements of the latest battles on the ground. The greatest achievement of those battles is that they came as a national response to the cowardly propositions that have been circulated through our region especially after the Iraq invasion. What made them more glorious is the reaction of the Arab people in general which was marked by being a purely pan-Arab response to the abominable, seditious propositions that we have heard recently and to those who stand behind them. As though these people are saying to them, “we are Arab and this is our resistance and those who do not support it are against us”. This means that the national feeling is still there and has not been weakened as some might claim. On the contrary, this feeling is at its peak now, thus exceeding all the destructive thoughts that suspicious parties with well-known ends are seeking to market among Arab citizens.
The glorious battles fought by the resistance with rare faith and competence have proven a number of facts: The first is that military force, no matter how great, produces defeat when it does not have faith and morals, and when it is not based on legitimate rights and principled policy. The second is that the resistance that has faith, determination and steadfastness and that encompasses the vision, principles and goals of the people and is encompassed and adopted by them produces victory. In this case the victory of the heavy-armed enemy does not exceed being a destruction of stones and killing of civilians. And as every occupation is an immoral act, then it is doomed to, and must, fail and meet defeat. Israel is the best example here. Military force is not everything and the destructive force of weapons is not everything. The only thing Israel possesses is the destructive force at the military level and some other factors at the international level, but at the same time it possesses a very big force; namely the weakness of the Arabs, both morally and physically. When we decide to overcome this gap, a decision that we ourselves can make, there is no doubt that the balance is in our favour. Hence the third fact that stresses the limitation of the Israeli force despite its superiority. This limitation is determined by the intensity of our faith, steadfastness and will to fight, which must enhance our self-confidence and erase all traces of psychological defeat fostered by the enemy’s propaganda that sees the battle as being settled in advance in the interest of Israel or that defeat is the destiny of Arabs. This fact has to further motivate Israel to consider the future results of its terrorist policy against Arabs. Here we can draw a comparison between what took place in between the 1982 war 24 years ago and the last war in Lebanon a few days ago. In 1982 Israel started its war or land invasion of Lebanon on the 6th of June where it reached Ba’abda that overlooks Beirut on June 13th, i.e. on the seventh day Israel was very close to Beirut. Then they resumed the process of encircling and occupying Beirut.
Today, after five weeks almost, Israel is still struggling and suffering to occupy several hundreds of meters here and several hundreds of meters there, and they are trying to reach the closest point to the Litani River, which is only six kilo meters, yet they fail. And I am sure that had there been a spring or a stream of the Litani on the Palestinian-Lebanese borders, they would have put their feet in the water and said, “we have reached the Litani!”. They have become the subject of sarcasm and lost the credibility which they have never enjoyed before. They say, “we have occupied a site”, then they say, “we have bombed the site”. It is supposed to happen in the opposite way. This is common sense that we first bomb a site then occupy it. Anyhow, what is the difference between the first war and the second? In 1982 the technical gap between Israel and the opposite Palestinian-Lebanese side in military assets was smaller than the gap today. Israel’s force has doubled several times during this time and there is a big gap between it and that of the resistance today. But the difference is the will to fight. In fact, in 1982 there were tough Palestinian and Lebanese fighters who fought in the real sense of the word. But this is not enough as certain leaderships did not enjoy the will to fight at all in 1982, while now the will to fight is there in the base and at the top and there is a popular embracing of this resistance that helped it succeed.
This is a major difference that we have to know about the two wars. One of the other positive sides of this war is that it has completely uncovered the Arab situation. Of course if we asked any Arab citizen about the Arab situation before this war, they will say that it is bad, which is true. But Arab citizens used to see the Arab situation under makeup. Now they see it as it is in reality without any cosmetics. This war prevented the use of such cosmetics as it classified positions in a clear way. There was no room for half solutions in such a war where it unveiled half men, or people with half positions as it unveiled all late positions, i.e. those who were waiting to see where the scale of strength will settle have fallen along with their positions. This is one of the very important qualities of this battle. For all the above mentioned reasons, this battle has been considered by Israel a matter of life or death, because it makes Israel lose its dignity and its moral influence on us, thus losing its historic role which it was created for and its mission for the West. That is why, they have started working hard to make up for their military defeat and failure in achieving their objectives on the ground by means of any political, international achievement that justifies the survival of Israel and its role before its citizens, leaders, and allies.
As usual, the only outlet for them is the Security Council which the USA has transformed from a council to preserve security into one that destroys it by issuing a resolution that responds to the demands of Israel and saves it from its predicament at the expense of Lebanon, paving the way for further division and instability. If we go back to the Security Council resolutions issued in the past two years, i.e. resolutions 1559, 1860 and 1701, and those concerning Darfur for instance, among other resolutions, we would completely comprehend where the Security Council is heading to. It is heading towards interfering in the domestic affairs of member countries and creating turbulence. Some people say the Security Council is impotent, and this is not true. The Security Council was impotent when there was an international balance. Had the Security Council been impotent at present, the United States would not have relied on it to harm different places around the world. The truth is that the rest of the world, or perhaps most of it, has become impotent before the Security Council. We used to say “the international community”. The international community is a group of countries, some of which are members of the Security Council, and some are their allies outside the Security Council. They fight us with or without the Security Council resolutions, which means they will fight us anyway. Yet the Security Council resolutions give them more freedom to move in this fight. On the other hand, our weakness lies in the fact that when we speak of the Security Council -some people in the Arab World and in the world at large say this is a Security Council resolution, or this is what the Security Council wants- as if it were a council with a divine power, or as if its resolutions were sacred or revealed by God, and indeed this is dangerous.
Therefore, the solution, as I said at earlier stages when I talked about resolution 1559 at Damascus University, is that the national decision is always higher than any international decision even if this led to fight and war. We do not have another option. This is what we recently expressed to whoever contacted us, to whomever we contacted and to everybody we met during the hostilities. We said that any resolution to be issued by the Security Council, whether under Chapter VII or any other chapter, will either not be implemented or will lead to instability if they try to implement it by force and against the will of the countries of the region, and in the case of Lebanon outside the Lebanese consensus. In such a case the situation will be different for the Security Council. That is when all the countries decide that the national decision is the higher, we wouldn’t feel afraid of the Security Council because it reflects the balance of powers and we decide to be weak. Whereas when we decide to be strong, this balance will change with or without resolutions. So, we shouldn’t waste time and speak of a good or bad resolution in light of this international balance.
Here I will move away from the diplomatic expressions used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as in its recent statement, to say that there is a bad resolution, a worse resolution, and a less bad resolution as far as this resolution has to do with Israel and the Arabs. And as far as the United States is the antagonist and the arbitrator at the same time, the assessments will be like this. But does this mean that resolution 1701 doesn’t have any positive elements at all? No. It does have positive elements. The most important element for us is to stop the war, stop destroying Lebanon and stop killing innocent civilians, kids, women, the elderly and others. This is an essential goal for the Arabs, Lebanon and Syria, and I believe for many countries and peoples around the world. Yet, experience has taught us that positivity covers the form and negativity covers the content. This is the only problem with this resolution. It held the Resistance Movement accountable. I don’t want to go through the details, but this point is one of the striking and stark facts which we cannot accept. Naturally, who should be held accountable? I’m not expressing a position here, but for everybody, even outside the Arab and Muslim region, Israel is the party who should be held accountable. We still have to say that those who encouraged Israel to attack Lebanon, stood by and supported it should be held accountable as well.
The May 17 Group is responsible for the destruction, massacres and the war from A to Z. Hence come resolution 1701 as a political lift for this group, aiming of course at granting Israel political gains that it failed to achieve by military means. The resolution came also as an international political lift, but why international? Because there isn’t anymore a national lift that can lift these people, and thus they were forced to find an international one. They will use this lift to start attacking the resistance, and we have already seen that. Before the blood of the victims dried, before anything else, and even before the displaced headed back to their villages, the May 17 Group members started to talk about disarming the Resistance Movement. This means that one of their future tasks after the war failed is saving the current Israeli government and Israel’s domestic front either through making a sedition in Lebanon, and consequently transferring the political fight from inside Israel to inside Lebanon, or through the possibility of disarming the resistance. But I tell those people that they have failed and that their fall is looming. The battles have also proved that Arabs’ words have no weight or importance in international forums. It has been rare that we, Arabs, agree on something from A to Z, but we achieved that in the Beirut meeting and an Arab delegation, representing all the Arab countries without exception, flied to New York to face rejection and neglect. Of course this neglect wasn’t directed at the delegation members but rather at those who stand behind it, i.e. the Arab countries. Indeed, it was the situation on the ground, and the steadfastness of the Lebanese people and of the resistance and not the Arab political performance which modified the previous draft resolution into the current formula, which is less bad. This is an important fact we should comprehend. In all these matters we have come to the conclusion that relying on the international situation doesn’t yield fruitful results. As Arabs, if we do not search for points of strength, then we have no weight or political performance, and all this talking is mere illusions.
In my belief, the real battle has just started but not in military terms. After the uncovering of the post-war positions, the real battle has just started in Lebanon. But we all listened to the speech of Hizballah’s Secretary General, Mr. Hasan Nassrullah, who answered them. He who reads the messages understands the content. We believe that not only the Syrians but also all the Arab people stand by the resistance completely and unequivocally. In military terms, the resistance achieved victory, whereas Israel, by all military standards, was defeated, not at the end of the war but rather from the very beginning of it. Yet wars bring woes and Lebanon paid a big price, material and humanitarian. Arabs, therefore, must stand by Lebanon to build what was destroyed. Yet, the question is: will the blood of the martyrs and civilians be lost without any gain? As a bottom line, we have to change the military victory into a political victory, at least in the peace process.
The early results of the battles at the political level were the talk about the necessity of realizing peace and returning lands and rights to their owners. To this effect, we, as Arabs, have been consulted on the issue, even after such a long time. This means that part of this issue has come to lie in our hands now, but only a small part. This is of course thanks to the resistance. Hence, standing by and supporting the resistance will help us possess the bigger part of the peace file, which in turn will make the concerned countries take our opinion and interests into account. In other words, resistance and peace constitute one pillar rather than two pillars, and he who supports part of it has to support the other part. Whereas those who claim to have the experience and vision for peace, here we are… come and show us your achievements in the field of resistance. Apart from that, any experience is incomplete to learn from. And as we are living an exceptional and historic period, there is no room for courtesies, bargains or settlements. Rather, we have to speak frankly: We, in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, still have occupied lands; this means we are the ones concerned with war and peace. In the fist place we want from our Arab brothers to stand with us, and we welcome anyone who wants to do so but only through our vision and evaluation of our interests. We were the ones who suffered in war and in peace negotiations in the last decades. As for those who do not share our vision, we only ask them to stand aside so that we do what we have to do, and we won’t ask anyone to fight with us or for us. I say this because every time there is turbulence, we come to hear an X official saying, “Why did they drag us into this?” Nobody drags anyone into anything. The truth is that every country is responsible for itself.
They didn’t of course say this to us; they said it to the resistance. But as a general principle, everyone is responsible for his own country. Yet as a bottom line, they must not adopt the vision of the enemy towards our issues, and their roles shouldn’t be at the expense of our interests. We say this because anyone never had experience in war is not entitled to assume the role of a guide or instructor in peace. Resistance today will shape the political direction of tomorrow, and the position towards it today is what will determine the roles to be played tomorrow. In other words, the era of political opportunism and political intrusion has come to an end, especially after these battles. If anyone wants to play a role for domestic reasons at the expense of our issues, this is rejected. And if anyone wants to play a role in order to appease the West, this is also rejected. We, in Syria, haven’t yet decided to display our cause in the international market or any other market for purchase. I don’t think that the Palestinians either, after Oslo, Wye River, and Wye Plantation, among other names, have decided to sell their cause, nor do we see such a thing in Lebanon.
In the next stage, the role of the resistance will be basic at the Arab level. I don’t mean the Lebanese resistance but rather resistance as a concept that has hugely spread, especially recently. But let’s take the role resistance in Lebanon played in the last meeting of the Arab Foreign Ministers. Three weeks before this meeting, the ministers met in Cairo in a climate similar to the climate that preceded the U.S. invasion of Iraq: An almost absolute division among Arab countries. But suddenly, and within three weeks, and knowing that the ministers were not replaced nor the governments were reshuffled, we come to unanimous agreement. But on what did we agree? Or rather why? The reason is the Lebanese consensus. The essence of this Lebanese consensus is the stand of the resistance. Had the resistance said, “we won’t accept these points” or “we have reservations on this or that point”, the ministers’ meeting wouldn’t mean anything or even take place. Even if it took place and the resistance said after it, “we reject your ideas”, the meeting would have failed and everything would have failed with it. This is only one role of the resistance. Still there is a bigger role that will be part of the domestic situation in the Arab countries. We all, as Arab officials, want our countries to be stable, but such stability cannot be realized or continued under the constant contradiction between the official stands and the public stands. This contradiction has reached its peak in the present era. Most of the Arab people have clearly and almost completely, as there is nothing absolute, taken the side of the resistance and challenged us as officials. They challenged the silence of some of us and the bias of others and decided to move into this direction.
Therefore, I call upon all Arab officials to stand by their own people, and consequently stand by the resistance as people constitute the basis of stability which we are talking about and seeking to achieve, especially in these circumstances and after the war on Iraq and the schemes of partition of the region. Experience has taught us that the international hegemonic powers, upon which some people may rely, use officials and governments for their own interests against the interests of those same governments and sometimes in the interest of their enemies. Those powers even throw such officials in the first pit to appear after exploiting them to the utmost where they would have lost both internally and externally.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The last war was surrounded by many propositions which sometimes exceeded the limits of the acceptable, yet they were very close or identical with the limits of what is forbidden nationally and morally. This may suggest or refer to either dubious backgrounds or enormous ignorance with the facts of different things. Thus, it is wrong to yield in our evaluation of this war to narrow-minded visions which separate this confrontation from the general context of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the peace process and its relapses. This narrow-minded visions deal with the confrontation away from the evaluation of Western and American contents and what is happening in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon during the recent years. All these points confirm that this aggression was pre-prepared, and clarify that the aggression is an Israeli aggression in tools, but it is an American aggression in decision shared by certain Western countries. However, when others think that it is a reaction to the abduction of two soldiers, then this is an unprecedented silliness.
Most of these propositions were mentioned in certain writings and statements, like saying that the resistance should take permission from the government. In fact, resistance movements take a cover and legitimacy from the government and the people; they do not take permission from the government. If we assume that it will do so, the answer will obviously be that the circumstances are not suitable now; there will be no resistance if it wants to depend on the government. The word “adventurers” was mentioned; if the men of resistance were adventurers, then can we say that Yousif AlA’zma, Sultan Basha Al-Atrash, Hasan Al-Kharat, Ibrahim Hanano and sheikh Saleh Al-Ali are adventurers?! Can we say that Sa’ad Zaghlul in Egypt, Suleiman Al-Halabi, a Syrian, who killed the British High Commissioner in Egypt, and Joul Jammal, another Syrian, who exploded himself in a French ship and conducted the first martyrdom operation in the Arab region – are also adventurers?! If the situation is like this, then let us ask the education ministries in the Arab World to change the curricula and all these terminologies. Of course, this is not accepted. We always notice the discrimination in certain Western propositions which still exist against the Arabs; they say that the Israeli reaction is disproportionate and unbalanced which means that if Israel reacted according to a certain proportion, its aggression is accepted. They are not against the principle of aggression; they are against the volume of this aggression. There will come a day when they put us tables in which they specify what is accepted to be achieved by Israel regarding the killing and destruction in order not to be considered as surpassing the political, human, or moral aspects, or various international conventions.
It was also proposed that Israel has the right to defend itself as a reaction to the aggression committed by the resistance. Here we see the policy of double standards. If we implement the same idea by a mathematical equation on the Palestinians; if they want to react, so to what extent they have the right to destroy and kill in Israel?! If we practically implement this idea, nothing will remain in Israel. At any rate, what the recent events revealed regarding the interrogations of the agents network captured lately in Lebanon and linked this date to the positions of Mat 17th group before and after the aggression, confirm that this scheme – as I said before – is pre-prepared, and we divide it into three tracks: The first track is the resolution No. 1559, the assassination of prime minister Hariri, the pressures on Syria and the resistance for compliance. The second track is the failure of American occupation in Iraq. The third track is the burying of the peace process, switching to the military option in order to subjugate Arabs and as a natural result to absolve Israel of all its obligations towards Arabs. In front of this tragic reality, the resistance movements emerged in the Arab arena as a single solution to restore the usurped rights. After all what is being said, Israel should conclude something, but is seems that they are not analyzing; they did not analyze the resistance situation and power.
It seems that when a human being becomes very strong, he looses balance and can not see reality rationally and accurately. Israel has tried for decades to be part from this region through a scheme which was called in the past the Greater Middle East – I don’t know if it is the same as the New Middle East or with some modifications, but this proposition is an old one – where Israel is the dominant power in the Arab region and the Arabs are just money, slaves and satellites rotating in the Israeli orbit. They depended on a basic idea that each new Arab generation will accept Israel more than the previous one, and thus be more obedient. Therefore, it is an issue of time and time is on the side of Israel! Let us see the reality: if we assume that the time separating between two generations is 15-20 years, I consider myself representing the third generation which came after the occupation of Palestine. Now, part of the fourth generation is present with us in this hall and it represents the youth who have become politically mature. The fact that Israel should know is that each new generation will hate Israel more than the generation which preceded it. The word “hatred” is not a good one; we do not hate or encourage people to hate, but Israel did not leave room for any feeling but hatred. For example, we read about the massacre of Deir-Yasin and other massacres done by Israel against Arabs, but my generation and I lived and witnessed Sabra and Shatilla massacres and first Qana massacre, and now we are living the second Qana massacre. The fourth generation remembers the first Qana Massacre and the second Qana massacre. Children are asking now why these children are dying?! They get their awareness of life through the second Qana massacre. Therefore, Israel should know that time is not on its side. On the contrary, there will come a generation which is more determined on hitting Israel and avenging all actions it did in the past. At that time, Israeli children will pay the price. I would like to speak out of the reality we live in; if Israel wants to analyze, it should analyze the Arab-Israeli wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, the confrontations with the resistance in 1993, 1996, and the last war. If they analyze these wars, they will notice that these wars represent the four generations. They will notice that the Arab fighter has become more determined; these battles and wars reflect the Arab status towards Israel. Therefore, we say to them that you have experienced humiliation in the recent battles in Lebanon. Your weapons, warplanes, rockets and even your atomic bombs will not protect you in the future. Generations are developing and the future generations in the Arab world will be able to find the way to defeat Israel in a fiercer manner. Thus, the Israeli leadership should stop their foolishness and arrogant, and should know that it is in front of a historic juncture now; either to go towards the peace and returning rights or to go towards continuous instability until one of the future generations puts an end to this.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The heroic Lebanese national resistance has written with its blood and its people’s sacrifice an eternal epic in the history of the nation, destroyed the legend of the invincible army, buried under its feet the policy of surrender and humiliation and proved that the power of faith in land and homeland can defeat the power of armaments. I express may appreciation and admiration to the men of resistance; I salute with great reverence our noble martyrs and I salute the brotherly Lebanese people whose steadfastness was the incubator of this resistance. We say to those who accuse Syria that it stands by the resistance, and this accusation is not a new one at all. We say to those who accuse Syria that if standing by the resistance is a mortifying sin, then it is an honor and a source of pride for the Syrian people. This resistance is a badge of honour on the chest of each Arab citizen not only in Syria. By each drop of sweat, each drop of blood, each rocket that destroys a tank and by each Israeli soldier defeated in Lebanon, we consider that there is a badge of honour to be worn on the chest of Arab citizens. I would like to say to the Syrian Arab people that the word “proud” is not enough at all to express what a human being feels towards the greatness of your support to our Lebanese brothers. You were great when some persons wanted you to look small overwhelmed by malevolence.
But, the great people of Syria always surprises the adversary by what is not expected. You dealt a blow to those who wanted to create a division between Syria and Lebanon. You were magnificent in your comprehending the magnitude of the conspiracy, and you were very strong in your reaction towards this conspiracy. In brief, you were the beating heart of Arabism with every sense of the word regarding the heat that will rise and the meaning which will be more powerful when we liberate the Golan by our hands, will and determination. The destiny of Syria is to be proud of Arabism and to defend and maintain it because it is the only base for a bright and honorable future we build for our children. We have to implant in our hearts and minds that there is no place in this world but for the strong. Strength starts by the power of mind, will and faith and this is the base of resistance and the only way to achieve victory. However, waiting for others to solve our problems, keeping faith in the international community as an alternative to the faith in our abilities, and yielding our mentality to fear and our will to others, is not only the adverse of wisdom but absolute ignorance. I would like to repeat my salutations to the journalists and I wish your conference all success.
Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim