Hezbollah's Nasrallah: Lebanese government has 'no control' over us

Nasrallah ridiculed Defense Minister Gantz, saying he "doesn't dare to step towards Gaza...he does he threaten to reach Beirut?"

A Hezbollah flag and a poster depicting Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah are pictured along a street, near Sidon, Lebanon July 7, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/ALI HASHISHO)
A Hezbollah flag and a poster depicting Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah are pictured along a street, near Sidon, Lebanon July 7, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALI HASHISHO)

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned that the Lebanese government does not control the movement's operations against Israel, stressing that "whoever promises the Americans that the resistance will do nothing is deceiving them and deceiving themselves," during a speech on Wednesday.

The speech came as US President Joe Biden arrived in Israel for an official visit to the region and a day after the 16th anniversary of the start of the Second Lebanon War.

The Hezbollah leader also ridiculed recent threats made by Defense Minister Benny Gantz against the terrorist movement, saying "Gantz does not dare to step towards the besieged Gaza [Strip]...how does he threaten to reach Sidon and Beirut?"

Nasrallah claimed that the Second Lebanon War led to "the overthrow of the American project in the new Middle East," adding that after invading Afghanistan and Iraq after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the US intended to "eliminate the Islamic resistance in Palestine and Lebanon" and isolate Iran to let Israel "become the master in the Middle East."

Nasrallah also referenced reports that the US and Israel are working to form a regional security alliance, saying "the coming days will show whether there will be an 'Arab NATO' or not."

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and US President Joe Biden attend a briefing on the Israel's Iron Dome and Iron Beam Air Defense Systems at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel, July 13, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/POOL)Defense Minister Benny Gantz and US President Joe Biden attend a briefing on the Israel's Iron Dome and Iron Beam Air Defense Systems at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel, July 13, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/POOL)

"America today is different from the America of 2003 and 2006. The elderly American president is an image of America that has entered the aging stage, as its presence in the world arena has greatly declined, and it holds the highest rates of inflation," added Nasrallah.

The Hezbollah leader pointed to Biden's statements that he is a Zionist and that "you do not have to be a Jew to be a Zionist," complaining that the president's statements about the two-state solution "are only pleasantries."

Natural gas and oil woes

Nasrallah additionally stated that Biden had come to the region to persuade Gulf states to export larger quantities of oil and gas due to sanctions blocking the import of Russian oil and gas to Europe. 

Nasrallah referred to ongoing indirect maritime demarcation talks between Israel and Lebanon, expressing dissatisfaction with how they're being conducted currently. His statements come just over a week after Hezbollah launched a total of four drones toward the Karish natural gas rig in two separate incidents. The drones were shot down and did not pose a threat to the gas rig, according to the IDF.

"The resistance is the only force that Lebanon possesses to obtain its right to oil and gas to extract and sell them," said Nasrallah, stressing that the only way for Lebanon to get out of its current crisis is to extract oil and gas. Nasrallah added that a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would not solve the crisis and will only serve as a debt.

The Hezbollah leader called on Lebanon to obstruct the extraction of gas from Israeli waters and thus prevent it from being sold to Europe which is under stress to obtain gas supplies due to sanctions placed against Russia. Nasrallah warned that Lebanon only has two months to act because Israel is talking about extracting gas from the Karish rig in September.

"If the goal is to prevent Lebanon from extracting oil and gas, no one will be able to extract gas and oil or sell gas and oil," warned the Hezbollah leader, stressing that the movement will attack all the gas fields and rigs along Israel's coast if Lebanon isn't permitted to extract gas.

"The enemy has a weak point, which is its need for oil and gas from the Zionist entity, and Lebanon's strength is its resistance, which can obstruct and prevent this, and if Lebanon goes to negotiations, it needs its own strength, and the resistance is the only strength of this country," added the leader of the terrorist movement.

Nasrallah advised Lebanese officials to tell American officials that the government has "no control" over Hezbollah and that the movement is "not joking." The Hezbollah leader added that the movement does not "consider the American mediator a mediator, but rather a party that pressures Lebanon in the interest of the Israelis."

Hezbollah's drones

Nasrallah lauded the launch of three unarmed reconnaissance drones toward the Karish gas rig, saying that this is the first time three drones were launched toward Israel at once. He added that the movement was ok with launching the drones despite knowing that they would be shot down because they want the workers in the area to "know that this area is not safe."

The Hezbollah leader lashed out at Lebanese officials and citizens who complained that there was no agreement on the launching of drones toward the Karish gas rig earlier this month, saying "What agreement?? We did not agree with anyone and we will not promise anyone, and whoever promises the Americans that the resistance will do nothing is deceiving them and deceiving themselves."

Nasrallah stressed that while Hezbollah stands behind the state on the issue of demarcation, that does not mean that it stands behind the state on the issue of "putting pressure on the enemy."

"We are serious and that this file is essential and we will go through our options and do what is necessary," warned Nasrallah, adding that the movement has various capabilities on land, at sea and in the air and that everything will be presented in "the appropriate size, time and form."

"This message has reached the enemy and the evidence is the Israeli reaction on the ground, in addition to the contacts that reached the Lebanese state and us," said the movement's leader, warning that the threats are not "psychological warfare."

"If you do not give us our rights and allow companies to operate, we are going to overturn the region."

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah

"For us, this is the only way to save our country," said Nasrallah. "Let us, for once, be on one stance and listen to the Americans and the Israelis, and say that if you do not give us our rights and allow companies to operate, we are going to overturn the region...To go to war is more honorable than what the enemy wants for us."

Lebanese officials express optimism over demarcation talks

Last week, Lebanese President Michel Aoun stated that a solution regarding the maritime border demarcation negotiations with Israel would be reached soon, saying "I believe that we have reached an understanding with the Americans who are mediators between us and Israel," according to Lebanese media.

"The results of the demarcation will be positive for the benefit of both parties, and if the atmosphere was not positive, we would not have followed the negotiation process," added Aoun.

Lebanese officials have expressed outrage at Hezbollah's launching of drones toward the gas field, stressing that the country is committed to avoiding provocations during negotiations.

"Lebanon considers that any action outside the framework of the state's responsibility and the diplomatic context in which the negotiations are happening is unacceptable and exposes (Lebanon) to unnecessary risks," a statement by the office of Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati office said on Monday.