The Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, delivered a speech in which he revealed new details, never heard before, about the armed wing of Hezbollah, also exposing what he says is a plot to cause a civil war in Lebanon.
Last month, 7 Lebanese civilians were killed, and over 30 seriously wounded, after gunmen opened fire on unarmed protesters in the area of Tayouneh, located in the Lebanon’s Capital Beirut. The massacre began as members of the Lebanese Forces militia, controlled by its President/warlord Samir Geagea, opened fire on the demonstrators who were aligned with Hezbollah and the Amal movement.
In order to end the escalation, both Amal and Hezbollah released a joint statement in which they blamed the Christian group, condemned as fascists for their far-right activities, but called for calm and that their people not retaliate.
Although it was clear that the Lebanese Forces were involved in the killing, along with a member of the Lebanese army who shot an innocent civilian, not a single headline surfaced in mainstream Western media naming the group or its leader. Instead, they claimed that shooting just happened to start when Hezbollah protesters took to the streets, essentially victim blaming. This is especially shameful as one of the victims was a mother of five, Maryam Farhat, who was murdered in her own home.
Not only did the headlines in Western media — from the Guardian to Sky News — not see it worthy of mentioning in their headlines that a US-Saudi-Israeli backed fascist group caused the massacre, they released entire articles at the time with not a single mention of Samir Geagea, or his ‘Lebanese Forces’.
In response to this dangerous escalation, which could have resulted in civil war, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah responded with some very heavy worded threats.
He began by explaining his alliance with Lebanese President, Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, which represents the largest bloc of Maronite Christians in Lebanon. He stressed that Hezbollah had stepped away from offers to expand the power of Shia Muslims in Lebanon, which Hezbollah largely represents and is part of, in favor of allowing Christians to maintain power. He also offered examples in Syria of how Hezbollah lost countless fighters protecting the Christians of Syria from radical Takfiri extremists.
Hassan Nasrallah also pointed out that Samir Geagea’s ‘Lebanese Forces’ had backed Islamic extremist groups like al-Nussra Front [al-Qaeda in Syria] which were killing the country’s Christians. He stated that if Geagea’s allies won “there would be no Christians left in Syria”.
Although it was clear that he did not want a civil war and was fully aligned with Christians, vowing to protect them, he made it clear that Hezbollah is ready to defend itself and the country.
Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah confirmed that a meeting had taken place, in which Samir Geagea had stated he believed that Hezbollah was weaker than the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organisation], during the times of Bachir Gemayel [assassinated in 1982]. Gemayel was a commander of the Lebanese Forces, then armed wing of the Kataeb Party, responsible later for the Sabra and Shatila camp massacre of 3,500 Palestinians and Lebanese Shia’s, overseen by Israel.
Samir Geagea allegedly claimed, according to Nasrallah, that he had 15,000 militia men and stressed to his allies that the time to strike Hezbollah was now. Nasrallah responded to this with extreme sincerity in his voice, revealing never before told details about Hezbollah’s military capabilities.
The Hezbollah leader stated that the group has over 100,000 fully trained and fully armed fighters. He stressed that this number did not include their women, their specialty units, their numerous allied forces, their supporters and members, but instead just their military structure. “Our men will move the mountains” he said, telling Geagea to humble himself and “sit down boy”, threatening that if Hezbollah is given no other option, they are ready for a war.
To give a comparison, just to depict the strength of Lebanese Hezbollah, the Lebanese army itself only has 80,000 soldiers. This means that Hezbollah is, in numbers as well as weaponry and skill, much beyond the power of the Lebanese national army, if these claims are accurate. In 2006, when Hezbollah’s forces defeated Israel, they were estimated to only have had thousands of fighters, no more than 14,000, according to various estimates at the time. Inside of Lebanon, they are miles ahead of any other military force.
Hezbollah’s 100,000 plus men would constitute one of the strongest ground forces — if not the strongest — in the Middle East. This news is more than frightening for Israel. Additionally, if we were to add all of Hezbollah’s allies and local supporters who would join the fight, they could easily muster a force close to that of the Israeli military’s entire active duty personnel, numbering at around 170,000. Also, the majority of Israel’s army is composed of conscripts who are already suffering from major morale issues.
Importantly, Nasrallah also stated that the Lebanese Forces are existing currently with the purpose of creating a civil war in order to benefit Israel and the United States. It is likely that a foreign power could have given Samir Geagea the green light to confront Hezbollah, thinking that perhaps a long drawn out civil war would weaken Hezbollah enough to benefit the Israelis, but after Nasrallah’s speech they may now re-calculate their strategy.