Q: In the culture of the resistance and Hizbullah, the Takfiri threat and the “Israeli” threat are correlated. When you talk about Syria in light of what “Israel” hides, that might mean that the Takfiri threat comes before the “Israeli” threat.
A: To me, the Takfiri threat does not come before. Rather, they are alike- and, more precisely- they coincide; for we can’t say that the Takfiri threat is postponed. The Takfiri threat was always a threat; yet, according to us and to our square, it was postponed.
For example, in Iraq, it was an actual threat. Ayman Zawahiri says that they staged 4000 martyrdom operations -as he says in his own words – in Iraq. More than 3900 operations were not against the Americans. Suppose that 100 operations were against the Americans – and I don’t suppose that the number of anti-American operations would be that much – then the larger number would be against Shiites, Sunnites, Christians, Kurds, and the other components of the Iraqi people.
Ask the Jamaa Islamia in Lebanon (which is the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood), about their brethren in Iraq- the Iraqi Islamic Party (which is the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood). I have met with their leaderships and they told me that most of the leaderships and cadres of the Iraqi Islamic Party were killed by Al-Qaeda and Salafis through assassination operations.
Moreover, Al-Qaeda also killed a great number of Sunnite and Shiite scholars. Perhaps it even killed more Sunnite that Shiite leaders.
The Takfiri threat led to a catastrophe in Iraq. What is the problem now in Iraq? Explosions and suicide attacks.
What is the problem in Afghanistan? Who killed the senior Afghani Jihad leaders? The Islamic movements are proud of the Afghani Jihad for defeating the Soviet Union.
Ahmad Shah Masoud was killed through a suicide attack carried out by Al-Qaeda under the pretext of being a military leader. What about president Rabbani who was playing the role of the sheikh of reconciliation between Taliban and the Afghani regime? They killed him, too.
They are a true and a serious threat in Pakistan and Somalia. They pose a threat wherever they are. However, in Lebanon, they were not a direct threat at the beginning. Now, they pose a direct threat. When I talk about Lebanon, I mean Lebanon and Syria as the Lebanese-Syrian file is one.
Thus, we view this threat as a true, actual, and daily threat just like the “Israeli” threat is true, actual, and daily.
The “Israeli” threat is an existential threat. The “Israelis” now are deterred; however, they once had the aspirations to take our land from us and ‘throw us out’, and this still is their project for the future. These Takfiri groups also pose an existential threat.
In 2006, all the givens indicates that one of the goals of the war then was to achieve a demographic change in the entire country. These Takfiri groups think in this very mentality; it is this very mentality: exterminating the other.
Thus, I do not place the Takfiri threat before the “Israeli” threat. However, today, I say that there are two true, serious, grave existential threats, and they must be confronted accordingly. “Israel” is not a threat to us only; it is a threat to the entire region. The Takfiri trend is a threat to the entire region, too.
Q: What is your evaluation of the magnitude of this trend in Syria and Lebanon?
A: No one has information on this issue. Some regional states have information, but they are incomplete because every state facilitated either its citizens, or by offering foreign help.
The Europeans have figures because every state knows the number of its citizens through surveys. However, who counts those who came from the Arab world? There are no precise numbers. However, they may be assessed at tens of thousands of non-Syrian foreigners.
Q: Is there an incubating environment for those in Lebanon since they overt in Syria?
A: Even in Syria, it is being realized with time that they don’t have an incubating environment there. In the entire Arab and Islamic world and even when talking about Sunnite Muslims, they do not tolerate this fanaticism and extremism- this is peculiar to the general Sunnite disposition. I doubt in the existence of an incubating environment. Well, when these groups are employed in a particular atmosphere, things get mixed up- as what happened in Syria. When the various states adopted these groups, their only concern was who would hold arms and fight the regime in Syria; they did not care whether they were from Al-Qaeda or a Salafi, or from the Muslim Brotherhood, or a Sufi, or a nationalist, or a secular- they had no problem in that.
Q: Can we say that they made use of the existence of this regime in Syria to recruit and mobilize them?
A: That is easy; a pretext may be found anywhere. When the people of such a mentality differ with you, if you are an Alawi, they say they are fighting the Nusayris; if you are a Shiite, they would say, they are fighting the Rafida; if you are a Sunnite, they would say they are fighting the disbelieving tyrant.
It is easy for them to accuse others of apostasy and atheism. Now, the “Islamic State of Iraq and Levant” [ISIL] accused the “Islamic Front” of apostasy and atheism, and vice versa. Both groups belong to the same intellect, the same sect, the same path, and the same organization.
It is always easy to find a pretext always in whatever square.
I am waiting for the role of the Arab regimes in this perspective. I believe that the latest Saudi stance is very helpful because this mentality is from there, it is financed there, and the fatwas are issued there. So, if the fountainhead- for several, different reasons-took a stand, at last: to stop the flow of money, change the fatwas, and change the media and religious speeches, that would make a major change.
In my viewpoint, the Sunnite atmosphere is not an incubating environment for the Takfiri groups. Even in Lebanon, the scale of these small groups in the Sunnite milieu is very limited. In case elections were carried out, their true scale would be revealed. However, these groups were employed. Some exploited these groups, financed them, protected them, opened media outlets for them, and employed them in order to achieve definite goals. Thus, these groups are now living in a state of utmost concern because of the Saudi stance and its repercussions on the stance in Lebanon. So, if these groups really had a popular incubating environment, then we must have worried.
This Takfiri trend has no future in the Arab world because it does not have a project.
Q: Without mentioning names- when the regime in any state is changed, what would the people be seeking?
A: They would be seeking justice, fighting illiteracy, providing food, addressing the crisis of unemployment as well as providing security. The same applies to the national stance; they would be seeking an acceptable national stance – so as not to say an advanced stance.
This trend does not have any project or answers. Thus, I decisively say that this trend does not have a wide existence in the Islamic world apart from the regional and international employment and investment. They do not have an incubating environment, and they do not have a future because they do not have a project.
Sayyed Nasrallah: Palestine is Our Cause, Resistance is Not Sectarian
Q: What was the aim of the speech, “We, Shiites, do not give up Palestine?”
A: This speech had two messages: The message was to the Shiites, themselves, whom some try to terrorize and provoke, and to preoccupy in more than one Islamic and Arab country as well as targeting them with explosions and suicide attacks, and to change the ‘identity’ of the enemy according to them.
Thus consequently, they are trying to keep them away from Palestine and the Palestinian cause. Moreover, they are trying to find psychological barriers between them and Palestine, the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian cause.
The other message is to all those who want to keep this section of the Arab and Islamic world away from the Palestinian cause. It is to those who want to tell us: You have nothing to do with Palestine; Palestine and the Palestinian cause are the cause for a particular section of people or for a particular sect in the Islamic nation.
We want to tell them via this message: Accuse us of whatever you want. Depict us as you like. The genocides taking place in some place in the Islamic world will never prevent us from remaining concerned with the Palestinian cause which we defend and are committed to.
It is a message that goes in both directions: it is directed to the Shiites direction as well as to the general public. I believe that this is still an important message which must be asserted.
My word does not have a sectarian or a factional background. The resistance in Lebanon never once acted or talked with a sectarian background.
Source: As-Safir newspaper