Nasrallah Makes Rare Appearance, Says Party’s Arsenal Growing in Numbers

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appeared in public for the first time since 2008 on Tuesday stressing that his party’s fighters and arsenal were growing in numbers despite the efforts to disarm the group.

"I wanted to be with you for a few minutes ... to renew our pledge and for the world to hear us," Nasrallah said after he walked among the crowds with his bodyguards clearing the way for him to reach the stage in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

His public appearance, he said, was a message to those who believe they can "threaten us.”

Nasrallah then left the podium, telling tens of thousands of supporters he will reappear in few minutes on a giant screen for a longer speech.

The secretary-general last appeared in public in July 2008, on the occasion of the release of five Lebanese prisoners by Israel as part of a prisoner swap.

Later Nasrallah said via video link that his fighters and arsenal were growing in numbers and the party members were being better trained.

“Those trying to disarm Hizbullah are serving Israel and are seeking through dialogue to achieve what Israel had failed to accomplish for 33 days,” he said about the Jewish state’s July 2006 aggression on Lebanon.

The real security problem in the country is the arms found in the hands of all Lebanese, he told his supporters.

He stressed the army-people-resistance equation to confront the alleged spying of the CIA, Israel’s spying devices planted in Lebanon and the Israeli violations.

No plots and wars whether political or psychological would be able to target the resistance, the black turbaned cleric said.

“The real threat to this nation and all its governments is the American-Israeli project and the U.S. administration no matter who its president is,” he told the crowds.

Nasrallah urged his supporters to confront the alleged efforts to stir strife through awareness, saying: “We stress on civil peace and the need to overcome any discord.”

He also called for consolidating government work and announced support for the Change and Reform bloc’s demands for Premier Najib Miqati to assume his responsibilities.

“Justice comes through opening the file of false witnesses” in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s Feb. 2005 assassination, he reiterated. Last week, Nasrallah said Miqati should put the issue on the cabinet agenda and later refer it to the Higher Judicial Council.

The false witnesses have reportedly misled investigators probing Hariri’s murder.

Turning to Arab issues, he said: “We stress not to deal with the internal situation as an isolated island … Lebanon is strongly linked to the developments in the region.”

He accused the U.S. administration of resorting to sectarian strife to revive its plan to transform the Middle East after its failure to implement the project several years ago.

Nasrallah reiterated his support for the Syrian regime while saying that his party backs reform and efforts to eradicate corruption in the neighboring country.

He stressed, however, that “some people want to destroy Syria,” they reject dialogue and they seek to “compensate their loss in Iraq.”

The Hizbullah chief accused the West of seeking to bring a new regime in Syria that would be disloyal to Arabs.

On Iraq, he said the Americans were defeated there. “They had the objective to control it and establish bases for dozens of years but the resistance and the high cost of occupation forced them to withdraw.”

“We congratulate the Iraqi people for defeating the biggest army in the world,” Nasrallah said.

But he warned that the Arab people, who are busy with their internal problems, should be aware of an Israeli attempt to target Jerusalem.

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