Naharnet

Nasrallah: U.S. Backing IS, Wants a Collaborator in Baabda Palace

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday accused the United States of backing the terrorist Islamic State group in eastern Syria, as he noted that “the Americans are dismayed by President Michel Aoun because they want a collaborator in the Baabda Palace.”

“The battle in Syria's Badia region, Deir Ezzor, Mayadeen, al-Boukamal and the Syrian-Iraqi border was inevitable and it is still inevitable because Daesh (IS) will only end through its complete eradication,” said Nasrallah in a televised address commemorating slain Hizbullah commander Ali al-Asheq and slain Hizbullah fighter Mohammed Nassereddine.

“Daesh was recently ousted from a lot of cities and towns, and if anyone believes that the battle must stop before reaching the Syrian-Iraqi border, I tell them that Daesh would attack again and would wage wars and battles because this is its only project,” Nasrallah warned.

He added: “Daesh has recently tried to regain the initiative, and had it not been for the heroic confrontations that the Syrian army and resistance fighters fought, it would have been possible for the battle to take another course.”

Hizbullah's chief warned that IS is plotting to “return to all the areas it has lost in Syria” and even to the outskirts of the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

“It is a tumor that should be eradicated,” he underlined.

Accusing Washington of assisting IS militants, Nasrallah charged that “the Americans are trying to prevent and delay the battle against Daesh.”

“The U.S. only helps when its allies are the ones who would seize control of the liberated areas,” he said, referring to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces militia and its campaign to seize the IS-held city of Raqa.

Recalling the Lebanese Army's recent anti-IS offensive on Lebanon's eastern border, Nasrallah said “the U.S. did not want the presence of Daesh on Lebanon's border to end.”

“They pressed the Lebanese state and army, halting military assistance for a while,” he added.

Turning to the issue of the looming new U.S. sanctions on Hizbullah, Nasrallah said the measures “will certainly affect Lebanon's economy.”

“We back the official Lebanese effort that is trying to protect the economy,” he added.

Nasrallah however stressed that the sanctions “will not change anything” in Hizbullah's “course and stance.”

Nasrallah also responded to remarks voiced earlier in the day by firebrand Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan.

“Al-Sabhan's statement is a positive development because it acknowledges that sanctions are not the solution. He also admitted that Hizbullah is a major regional force that can only be confronted through a strict international coalition and this means that seeking Lebanese alliances to confront Hizbullah is something ineffective,” Nasrallah said.

“Regional peace and security can be achieved when Saudi Arabia stops backing Wahhabist groups... Saudi Arabia is preventing security and peace in Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq and Pakistan,” Nasrallah added.

“Hizbullah is one of the factors that are achieving regional peace and security, which are being threatened by Saudi Arabia, Israel and America,” he went on to say.

Al-Sabhan had earlier tweeted that the expected U.S. sanctions on Hizbullah are a “good” step.

“U.S. sanctions against the terrorist militia in Lebanon would be good, but the solution is to form a strict international coalition to confront it and those who work with it, in order to achieve regional security and peace,” al-Sabhan said.

Nasrallah also responded to recent remarks attributed to Ed Royce, the U.S. lawmaker behind two new anti-Hizbullah bills that the U.S. Congress is debating.

“Michel Aoun is definitely not an agent of Hizbullah, but what bothers the Americans is that they want a president who is an agent for them and who is subservient to the U.S. Embassy in Awkar,” Nasrallah said.

“Aoun represents a popular majority in Lebanon and is a real national guarantee and whatever the Americans say will change nothing,” Nasrallah emphasized.

As for the domestic situations, Hizbullah's chief said: “We want security, peace and stability. We want the elections to be held on time, we want the continuation of political dialogue and we want the government to do its job. We want it to address the financial crisis and to implement the new wage scale.”

“The hand that will be extended to harm this country will be cut off regardless where it may come from. Those who conspire against this country will only face failure,” Nasrallah warned.


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