Marking 30th years on the establishment of the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation, which had the lion’s share in his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah tackled several local and regional issues.
His eminence began his speech by extending sincerest gratitude to “my esteemed brothers who have shouldered the responsibility of overseeing this center, as well as to all the brothers and sisters who have dedicated themselves to this center’s operation over the course of three decades,” believing that achievements were the result of ‘blessed collective efforts.’
“Hezbollah has been concerned with the livelihood of its people for the past 30 years, despite its significant involvement in resistance and the various challenges that existed at the time. Hezbollah has, from its inception, and continues to maintain a steadfast commitment to basing its operations on a foundation of scientific and technical expertise,” Hezbollah’s leader said.
“The Consultative Center has consistently served as the go-to resource for guidance and direction for our leadership, units, and diverse departments within Hezbollah. We have made it clear to our brothers that it is their duty to accurately represent our organization to the outside world, regardless of any challenges or unfavourable circumstances that may arise, rather than presenting a skewed or idealized version that may be more palatable,” he added.
Additionally, Sayyed Nasrallah said, the objective of this center is to provide insightful and constructive recommendations, perspectives, and alternatives that are grounded in the vast wealth of human and humanitarian experiences that have come before us. “It is essential that we tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise that exists within our community, by leveraging the intellectual and specialized capabilities of all individuals within it, in order to achieve our goals.”
He went on to say that Hezbollah in its efforts to find solutions for development, advancement and problem-solving, always strives to explore the full range of possibilities within the resources and capabilities that are readily available to it.
“The Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation serves as the vital link between us and the diverse pool of intellectual and visionary resources that we rely on to guide our actions. From the outset, our aim for this center was to establish it as an intellectually rigorous, analytical, evaluative, and visionary entity that is deeply engaged and attuned to the realities of the current situation on the ground,” Sayyed Nasrallah indicated.
“As the leadership of Hezbollah evaluated the name of the center that was to be established as a public and inclusive entity, catering to all segments of society, We selected a more general name in order to ease work and communication. The outputs produced by the center were always heavily invested in and utilized by Hezbollah, its institutions, and its affiliated organizations.”
“Who stands behind the Loyalty to Resistance parliamentary bloc in many studies, discussions, and observations?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered, then he answered: It’s the Consultative Center.
Economic Crisis in Lebanon Deepening
Turning to the Lebanese set of crises, Sayyed Nasrallah said: No one argues that the economic situation is perplexing in Lebanon, this matter is not exceptional for Lebanon. Rather, there are many countries threatened with collapse
“It is not permissible for us to despair, although there are attempts to spread hopelessness in the country, this is a perilous matter. It is not permissible to remain in a state of confusion, as was the case in the past years, and somewhere the competent authority must take the initiative to develop a vision to address the economic situation. On this basis, plans and programs can be drawn up based on a complete and elaborate vision.”
“Corruption was rooted deep in the state long time ago, if each sect presented its best thoughts and expertise to assume administrative responsibilities in the state, we would not have reached this stage. One of the most important causes of the crisis is the misconception of the economic vision in the 1990s and some corrupt and deceitful economic policies. Our positions on them were clear in Parliament, the first of which was the debt policy,” Hezbollah’s S.G. affirmed.
A more serious matter, Sayyed Nasrallah warned, was disrupting the production and making quick profits. “Thus, our economy has turned into a fragile one,” he said.
“Also, among the reasons are sectarian quotas, absence of sustainable development, repercussions of internal wars, reconstruction, and displacement file,” he added.
Lebanon under US Siege
Concerning the US blockade against Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah said: It is unfortunate that some people suggest that the blockade on Lebanon is not in place, as it is not only implemented by placing a battleship off the Lebanese coast, but also through the actions and attitudes of the American administration towards the Lebanese authority. The blockade is implemented through a variety of means, including preventing external assistance, grants, and loans from reaching Lebanon, as well as blocking the Lebanese government from accepting donations and investments, and from addressing the issue of Syrian refugees.
“Returning to the vision that has been adopted by misguided policies, particularly that the region is moving towards resolving the conflict with the Zionist entity, that led us to the status co nowadays.”
Sayyed Nasrallah also delved into the fact that the economic situation is being employed as means to normalize ties with the Zionist entity. In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah warned that whoever wants to put in place new economic policies must not build a vision at the expense of a settlement in the region, assuring that there is no two-state solution, especially in light of the new corrupt and terrorist government in ‘Israel’.
“There is no settlement with Syria, too. What happened in Syria is one of the attempts to come up with a political regime that gives the Golan Heights to the Zionist entity.”
He also insisted on working on an economy plan that provides food security and does not rely on foreign aid and assistance.
“The situation in the region is heading towards more tension: No settlements, no peace, and all of this will be reflected in our region,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.
“One of the means for strength is the issue of oil and gas, as it is a huge wealth in the sea of Lebanon,” His eminence said, assuring that today, the European decision is decisive to dispense with Russian gas, as its priority is the Mediterranean wealth, because costs are lower. Therefore, he said, we have to search for companies to benefit from our national wealth.
“We definitely have oil in our land, and our facts say that politics have forced it to stop, and the same is true in Palestine and Syria, as there is exploration and extraction of oil near our borders.”
Abounding Strengths in Lebanon
Other than security with Sayyed Nasrallah enumerated as a strength to the country, he said that expatriates are also one of its main strengths, calling them “the most important financial source for the livelihood of the Lebanese.”
“There are great hopes and points of strength. Lebanese are able to rise, they need the will, the right plan, and seriousness in action. Expatriates are exposed today to danger, harassment, and aggression by the USA through putting merchants and rich personalities on sanctions lists on unjust charges. This needs a follow-up by the state, which unfortunately ‘does nothing’,” he said.
Ending up the part of economic blockade, Sayyed Nasrallah once again called on Lebanon to ‘look to the East’: “We must have the courage and willingness to sacrifice in the face of sanctions and in accepting donations, and we must have the audacity to say to the Chinese, “Go ahead.” Why are countries in the world allowed to invest with China while Lebanon is forbidden from doing so?”
Referring to the refugees file, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “We need courage in dealing with the Syrian displaced file, and stop the racism accusations. This is a crisis from which all the Lebanese suffer, and we can find a decent solution for them.”
Many people speculate that if Lebanon says it is outside the conflict with “Israel”, then everything will be resolved, his eminence noted. “I invite you to observe the situation in Egypt, the first country that made peace with the Israeli enemy,” he said, referring to the economic crisis that Egypt is suffering from despite its normalization of ties with the Zionist entity.
“Egypt has the best relations with the US and Saudi Arabia, and it is with the International Monetary Fund. What situation is Egypt in?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered.
It’s worth noting that Egypt’s external debt is expected to bypass $200 billion by early next year, an almost 400 percent increase since 2016.
In a report issued yesterday, the Financial Times said that last year, Cairo was forced to go to the IMF for the fourth time in six years. Even before that $3bn loan was secured in October, Egypt was the fund’s second biggest debtor after Argentina.
Strong, Independent President
In this context, Hezbollah’s secretary general warned that the next six years are crucial for Lebanon. “If we continue in the same way, the country is on the verge of collapse.”
To this level, Sayyed Nasrallah sarcastically said “We want a president who, if the Americans blow on him, wouldn’t flutter from the Baabda Palace to the Mediterranean,” hinting at a strong president who’s able to withstand US pressure.
“We want a brave president who is ready for sacrifice and who is not concerned with the American threats,” he said in other words, pledging patience among people as though Lebanon needs a president with a certain calibre.
Since President Michel Aoun left the Baabda Palace in October 30, 11 parliamentary sessions have been held to elect a new president, but none bore fruit due to lack of consensus.