Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech following the Formation of New Government
In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets, Abi al-Qassim Mohammad bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.
Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you all.
Today I wanted to speak early following the announcement of the formation of the Lebanese government and address Lebanese affairs. I am speaking ahead of the celebrations that we will be observing on Wednesday, God willing. Because of the nature of the occasion there may not be enough time during the festival for some of the details that I want to speak about tonight. God willing, I will try not to take up too much time.
First, of course, I will be talking about government affairs. We will first discuses what we think should be. How we will deal with the new government. And we also call on the rest of the political factions and concerned parties in this government and invite them to adopt this form and this way of dealing with things.
After nearly nine months of discussions, debates and arguments in the country, the government was formed. First, we need calm at this stage. The first thing we demand from ourselves and the rest of the political factions is some calm. Let us take a breath. Because immediately after the formation of the government, we went directly into media debates and political confrontations while straining the domestic atmosphere.
How will we enter the government and what will we do within the government.
First, stay away from debates and confrontations in the media and seek cool the atmosphere for greater convergence and internal dialogue.
Secondly, there is no doubt that this government has great responsibilities. At the same time what I call for is calm and not to go into debates. The political factions, especially some of the influential ones in the current government, must acknowledge some of the concerns or fears of many parties domestically. This is not limited to one particular political party or certain figures.
Because the nature of the files that I will discuss and ones that this government will have to address, carry a high degree of importance and sensitivity, especially with respect to some economic and financial issues. They will have an effect for decades to come. Therefore, there are segments of people today who have not spoken. But there is no doubt that people live between a sense of fear and hope. There are hopes for addressing these issues. But there are also concerns that the choses course of action might not take the right, proper and suitable direction. Some exaggerate at times and talk about dangerous aspects of the choses course of action.
In any case, the political factions, especially those taking part in the government, must understand that it is normal to have concerns or be cautious at times. These feelings should exist. They should be dealt with positively and not negatively.
We should not attack concern but try to address it.
Third: There is no doubt that the government and the forces taking part in it must set priorities for its work during the coming stage.
I think it is a top priority if we go back to the speeches that all Lebanese made before the formation of the government. These speeches stated in the past few months, warning that if we do not form a government, the country would head to economic and financial collapse.
Now, regardless of the discourse and expressions used on the subject, how big is this subject? But there is a consensus that there is a financial and economic threat. Thus, this must certainly be an absolute priority based on what was said before the election.
Therefore, the government has to tell the Lebanese people, the parliament and, first and foremost, tell itself how it will prevent this collapse and how it will fortify the financial and economic situation in the country.
Of course, there are plans, projects and ideas to so. They will be discussed. In the forefront of the steps of fortification, in our opinion and I would like to renew our commitment to this tonight, is the fight against corruption and financial waste. Fighting corruption and financial waste. Of course, there was a problem in this government as the Ministry of Combating Corruption was abolished. You know this kind of discussions. We were not part to it. We heard that there was a ministry of so and so for such affairs. We were not aware of this. In any case, combating corruption should be the responsibility of the government as a whole. We must have an anti-corruption government and not a Ministry of Combating Corruption, regardless of whether abolishing it was right or wrong.
Combating corruption and financial waste is a first and necessary step and imperative to prevent the deterioration of the financial and economic situation, or if we were to exaggerate, the financial and economic collapse. The real indicator for the seriousness of the government in dealing with the financial and economic repercussions or the collapse is: Will it fight corruption and financial waste and seriously stop the waste or will it continue down the same path?
From the beginning of the road, the intentions of this government and the various political factions participating in it will be unveiled. We all say we will fight corruption and stop financial waste. What is important is the action, the practice and the decisions that will be taken by this government.
In addition to this broad title, our call tonight is on the second title, which is the people’s standard of living file. If anyone wants to take the country into political debates, there is no problem. All of us have platforms, pens and speakers. We can spend ten or twenty years arguing. We have been in political arguments since 2005. This will not do anything at the current stage.
I am not saying that no one should engage in political arguments. People are free to talk about what they want. But what I am saying is that the forces taking part in the government should put people’s files, the standard of living files, the social, economic and environmental files – files whose titles are known – into action and see how we can address this subject with the required degree of seriousness.
In this regard and based on previous experiences, we are talking about solutions some of which are essential and expensive. We have not received a vote of confidence. The government has not yet received a vote of confidence. But we are still discussing the ministerial statement. From now, I would like tell everyone, all our partners in the government: “People should be patient with each other. They should discuss things. One should not think that people should follow him just because he has developed a project or a plan. Whoever he is. I do not mean anyone in specific. Honestly, I do not have anyone in mind. Because it is possible that each one of us thinks in this way. Each one of us might have developed a plan and prepared it. Tomorrow, I am going to the cabinet with my plan. You should follow me on this. If you don’t, then we will accuse each other of disruption, hindrance and having regional and international backers. We, then, pin things on conferences. Then we go to Venezuela, to a intermediate-range missile treaty and Russia and the US.”
No, from the very beginning, we are really in agreement that there is a big problem in the country that needs a solution. If we continue putting our personal interests first, we will not find a solution. If we put the interests of the leaders and parties first, we will not find a solution. If we put the interests of sects or areas first, we will not find a solution. We have to look at all of the people’s interests. All of our interests are linked to each other. It is hard to separate these interests from one another especially when we are talking about the environment, electricity, water, jobs, production, agricultural, industry and the export sectors as well as everything else.
We have to be sincere. Scientifically, we have to consider these facts, these problems and the country’s available capabilities. Let us discuss with each other ways to find a solution. Let us take our time. If we wanted to reach solutions that have a great impact on people's lives and their future as well as financial, social and economic effects on their lives, it is worth the time. Thus, I call for more study.
Of course, in the cabinet sometimes things happen for example, a regular item is passed, someone wants to travel, accepting a gift, all done before 48 hours, and a long, broad plan involving hundreds of millions of dollars that is mentioned 48 hours before. All these should be included in a separate mechanism. People should not just go to the cabinet and vote Yes or No. In our opinion, the cabinet should become a real cabinet, a council that takes real decisions, a council where ministers study and discuss for one, two or three hours, a council where the material is distributed one, two or three weeks before, a council where the ministers study issues with their deputies, parties, leaders, experts and research centers. It is necessary to develop fundamental and drastic medium to long-term solutions.
Hence, study is required. Therefore, we have to be patient with each other. To be frank, no one should resort to intimidation. Not us nor anyone else. We will not intimidate anyone. And no one should intimidate us. If there is a problem with the files, we should study and engage in discussions. Even in the cabinet, if things reach immature levels, committees could be formed on the side. The political and partisan forces should engage in these discussions to reach the required and reassuring results.
It is better to look at the chosen course of action on the basis of consensus, understanding and common convictions rather than resorting to predominance and an uncompromising language or the likes of these. Of course, I repeat and confirm that people should take chances. Thus, from now the political factions should make a decision. When we say we have to be patient with each other, this also includes being patient with each other in our speeches, in the media and when instructing those working on social media. Discussing main files and files related to people’s lives, fate, and livelihood under the pressure of social networking sites, intimidations, insults and sectarian incitement will not work. Let us not give people hope and make false promises. This is related to the people and the will of the political factions. Thus, people should be patient with each other. They should deal with one another on the basis of true partnership in the country. Minds should open up to each other, discuss, debate and look for solutions and be partners in making hard decisions.
There is a certain way that things work in Lebanon. Some people bear the loss, but you find that everyone wants the prize. Everyone must bear the responsibility of difficult decisions. If there is an achievement, everyone should take credit. If there is a failure, everyone should take responsibility. If we could not solve it, everyone has to take responsibility. Because in the end all people are paying the price and the whole country is paying the price. This is a main condition from now on.
But, if in the government, especially in the first stages where people should sit and discuss, we start to sow dissension among each other and accuse each other, I believe that it is not a promising start. It is a wrong beginning and we will not get anywhere. That is why we urge that this issue be taken into consideration. In any case, it should be clear that the issue related to the studies and decisions, regardless of the analyses that were conducted and the existing alliances in the government between the political forces, I believe that and according to my information, so far no one has applied anything related to the domestic files. This means that no one discussed anything with anybody. No one has agreed about anything with anybody. This is my information. At least this applies to us. Therefore, the matters are open. Matters in the government are not subjected to majority or minority or who has one third and who has half or who has half plus one and who has two thirds. The ministers who represent these political forces will sit and discuss when these file are presented to them. Hence, ideas might intersect. They might differ. They might contradict each other. This could happen between the closest of allies. We will be approaching this as normal. In any case, the political factions should discuss and engage in dialogue, either bilaterally, in a tripartite fashion or on the side, before the discussion reaches the government. In this case, we are saving the government and the country time. But we should not have a case where a group of political forces, no matter its size in the government, has previously agreed on all the domestic files and it is in the government and wants to impose its convictions on the rest of the political forces. At the very least, if there exist something like this and it is unclear to me, we are not part of it. We are open to all the discussions in all the files. Everything to us is subject to study and discussions.
The most important thing is that we act with loyalty, pragmatically and scientifically and see the interests of the country and decide what serves the country’s interests. We hope that we act on this basis, and also call on others to do so.
The second point is related to the Ministry of Health. I would like to delve into details. On the first day during the distribution of the ministries, it was said that the Ministry of Health’s minister will be named by Hezbollah. There was an argument in the country and internal debate in some of the media and at some social gatherings. We even had a side discussion. Anyway, the Americans had public positions as well as different internal positions. They were speaking in more than one discourse. They (the Americans) said that they had no objections as long as Hezbollah does not benefit from the health ministry to solve its own problems like the financial problems as they said. Another thing they (the Americans) said is that they do not accept, will prevent and will take measures against this. In any case, many different words from internal meetings were conveyed to us. But the public position was clear. Regarding the issue of the health ministry, I would like to clarify the following:
First, the minister whoever he is or whatever side named him, whether he is a member of a party or not, when he becomes a minister he becomes a minister for all the Lebanese. His ministry is the ministry for all Lebanese. And the Ministry of Health will absolutely be so.
The second point is that we really took into consideration this aspect. From the very beginning, our intention was to bring three party ministers. We started on this basis. Later, there were some discussions. To show to what extent we were realistic and positive and despite some constants, we were keen to have a possible, reasonable, and generous flexibility. In the course of deliberation, we reached the conclusion that the health minister can be nonpartisan. Of course, we concealed this subject except in some special councils. In fact, our brother Dr. Jamil, is not a party member and has never worked in the formations of Hezbollah. Of course, he is a brother, a friend, a confident, religious, trustworthy –without any hesitation – and competent, God willing. We have great hopes for him assuming responsibility.
In a more accurate expression, he is an independent figure and a close to us. He is not a member of the party. We preferred that the health minister not be a party member so that he is not restricted when creating relationships, moving, traveling and making calls. Here, we are putting the interest of the country above everything else. Otherwise, if we want to name a party member, there are doctors among our brothers in Baalbek-Hermel, in the south and in other areas. Even my brothers, who are not doctors, are also competent and suitable to run this ministry and take responsibility. But we listed a set of qualities in addition to trust and honesty.
We decided that we do not want to name a party member but rather an independent person, who is trustworthy and we trust him, to run the ministry. We chose him so that we do not limit the ministry and to avoid talk that ‘you see because got a minister from Hezbollah to run this ministry, there are negative fallouts.’ In any case, this is an experience. Let’s see where this experience will lead.
In the same context, a lot has been said about the health ministry. The Americans raised this subject the most. I would like to say regarding using the ministry’s capabilities and funds and take the opportunity to stress on a main idea we have spoken about in the past. We as Hezbollah, I have always said that we are an Islamic party and movement. We are religious people. I would like to say the following: regarding the state money, the money of the Lebanese state belongs to the state. It belongs to the Lebanese people. There is a legal responsibility toward this money, which makes it not permissible to dispose of the money outside the sphere of law. In addition, there is also a moral responsibility toward this money. This money is entrusted to the minister and the ministry as it is entrusted to the administration, the municipality and any state institution. To us, we have one more qualitative addition, which is a main thing. It is our religious and shari’ responsibility to God Almighty. We consider the state’s money for the state and the people’s money for the people. This is respectable money and it is not permissible in sharee'ah to dispose state funds outside the framework of the law. This is to us a religious obligation. Hence, in the health ministry or other ministries, whatever money belongs to the state. Whatever money is public money. This money should be spent on limited and allotted resources. It is not permissible for us, our minister, our administrator, our employees, our mayor or anyone who considers himself a religious person and belongs to our movement and path to spend this money outside these guidelines. Hence, truly we have additional guarantees for those who are worried or trying to worry others. This is with regard to personal guarantees.
With regard to the practical guarantees, I would like to reassure you that all of the ministry’s funds, what is spent on it and what is given to it will be open to the government, inspection, the audit bureau, the public and the media. There will be maximum possible transparency. What we care about is to present a clear, bright and transparent experience. More than this, I would like to tell you that we will seek to contribute to the success of the health ministry with the money we receive as donations and aid. Because in fact when this ministry succeeds, the country succeeds and we succeed with it. So this should not be a matter of concern at all. And the experience is what is going to matter – it is not important what I'm saying now. The performance, behavior and practice will determine the credibility of what I am promising now and what I'm saying now. Of course, our beloved brother, friend and minister, health minister, will be [managing] directly and we will be with him helping him to achieve this.
We do not have any projects or trade. We do not want anything. We do not want anything at all. And maybe at the time of the current ministry of health, if we wanted to open a hospital, we might postpone it so that no one accuse us – near or far. We have a humanitarian, popular and national worry. We have the issue of hospitalization that concerns all Lebanese – whether public hospitals or private ones. Now, I do not want to promise and say that we are committed to that, God willing, that no problems will happen at hospital gates. But this is one of the priorities that the minister and everyone will work on. The government will help him with this so that this humanitarian file, allow me to stress on it “ugly”, to be addressed – for someone to die at the hospital gate.
This is one of the first priorities, one of the most obvious, one of the simplest things that must be the priority of the minister. In general, the hospitalization file is also the most important file. We will cooperate and work on it, even if someone wanted to fight over it. God willing, there will be no battles. But we are ready to embark on it with full transparency, honesty and loyalty, to reduce the cost of medicine for the state and the people, the citizen, and to facilitate people’s access to medicine, especially medicines for chronic and difficult diseases.
Therefore, the health ministry project is not complicated. What are we going to with the Ministry of Health! I think this does not require much discussion and philosophy. Plans and things are very clear. But we need seriousness, loyalty and participation as well as follow up.
There is a point here that I would like to add because I spoke with the minister of health and also concerns our brothers and our people in the Bekaa region in general and in Baalbek-Hermel in particular. I told the minister that we, as a party, hold the responsibility with you because we suggested you or we named you. Brother, we want you to be a health minister. The ministers and deputies are expected to perform a lot of the social responsibilities here in the country, like traditions. Tomorrow, over there in the region he has to express his condolences, congratulate those who got married, attend celebrations and participate others. Why is the minister not here? Why did the minister not come? Here there is reconciliation between two tribes and the minister did not come. You are exempt from all these. I hope the people of the region pardon the health minister from all this. Leave him; Condolences, congratulations, reconciliations, celebrations, openings, visits and meetings. Thank God, in these matters our brothers the deputies are always present. In any case, even during the parliamentary elections they used to make fun of our deputies. It is not a joke. It is a positive trait. In any case, in all the events they were present. This is one of the great pluses. Let this minister do his job, a minister to serve the people. Let him serve the people. Of course, he will go to the [Bekaa] region. He will go weekly. He will welcome the people and listen to the problems they have with his ministry. Let us not occupy him with things not concerned with his ministry. He will go and will be present. That is very natural. He has to take care of all the areas. It is natural that the deprived areas are the priority, the Bekaa, Baalbak-Hermel and Akkar. They are the priority. There is no discussing it. This does not only concern the minister of health. It should be a priority of all the ministries. We will say this once and it will be over, God willing, and people will go by their business. All eyes are going to be wide open on the health minister. All eyes will be on us. This is why I am talking. All eyes are going to be wide open on us, on every detail that will take place in any hospital, at any hospital gate, with any medicine or pharmacy. This is because Hezbollah’s name is there. That is why his [the health minister] priority should be being present in the ministry and on the ground. We expect from him to be on the ground, in all the areas, in all the hospitals and with all the people, God willing.
With regard to this subject, I think that there should be no domestic or local concern at all. This is not a ministry for a party, not a ministry for a sect and not a ministry for an area. This is a ministry for all the Lebanese people. The experience, God willing, will prove that the ministry will be in the service of all Lebanese, regardless of their political affiliations, differences, alliances, rivalries and so on. Because this is the duty of the minister. He is entrusted and responsible for all Lebanese in this position.
The third point is regarding the ministry. I want to draw the attention of the Lebanese political forces and the media. Pay attention to what Netanyahu has been saying for the past two days. He has been saying that this is a Hezbollah government and inciting the Americans and the Europeans against the Lebanese government. He will also provoke the Gulf states against the Lebanese government, taking into consideration the friendships. Therefore keep in mind, I am not saying now that those who describe the government in this way are Netanyahu. No. Mind you, Netanyahu started saying from now that this is a Hezbollah government and is preparing for consequences. This is not just an accusation. Some inside Lebanon might perceive this as a Hezbollah government. According to Hezbollah and me, if you give someone a reputation of power and pride, why would he get sad? Should I get sad when you tell me this is a Hezbollah government! First of all this is not true. This is a wrong description. It is also a lie when you know that this is not the truth and you describe it with a false description. This is a lie in the moral sense. It is a false description and insisting on it. This is a lie. It is telling lies to people. It is the opposite of the truth. The current government is not a Hezbollah government. There are political forces and movements whose presence in the government is greater than our presence – their quantitative and qualitative presence, the number of their ministers and ministries, etc. the correct description is that this government is made up of a group of political forces in Lebanon. One of these forces is Hezbollah. I am not denying this. I also admit our presence in this government. The new presence is more influential and more fundamental than ever before. God willing, it will be more influential and more fundamental than ever before. Our discussions, presence, voting and interventions will be stronger than ever before. But all this does not mean that it is a Hezbollah government.
Let me tell you why it is not in your interest to say a Hezbollah government. It is for your sake not ours. We have a lot of enmities. We do not deny that. Our position in Syria is clear. With regard to Iraq, our position is clear. With regard to the Islamic Republic of Iran, our position is clear. With regard to the US, our position is clear. With regard to the Saudi aggression against Yemen, our position is clear. On Bahrain, our position is clear. We have enmities over our positions, and we have accepted them. So when you tell the world this is a Hezbollah government, you are bringing consequences on the country it does not need. It is the for example the same when someone tell us to distance ourselves and name things with their true names. I am saying this is because some in Lebanon would just say it out of spite for political rivalry and for political incitement. Others would say it to get paid by some Gulf countries. They consider that if they attacked Hezbollah and the government and said that this is a Hezbollah government that they re achieving their goals. They are hurting the country. As for us, we are not being hurt by anything. From now until tomorrow at the Cabinet’s table, you can say this is a Hezbollah government as much as you like. I will even give president and the parliament speaker the yellow flag as a present. We do not have a problem in this matter. But this is not in the interest of the country or the government. It is not an interest to bring more pressure on Lebanon as a result of this internal political silliness.
The government is for all the participants. We are a part of the participants. Of course, all participants must take responsibility. We will take responsibility as partners, from a position of being entrusted. We also take responsibility in bearing the consequences. To be very clear, we will do so inside and outside the cabinet.
This is another point said from the beginning. Let us see in the ministerial statement or in the confidence session what they will call it. A government of what? You can surely call it what you want, but it is not a Hezbollah government. There is no interest for the country for you to call this government with the name that Netanyahu deliberately used just because of some arguments. He knew and had an objective for calling it that.
I still have one point and then a conclusion on the domestic affairs. Of course, God willing, in the coming two days we also have a dear anniversary for us in Hezbollah. It is the anniversary of February 6, 2006, regardless of the other events that took place on February 6. It is the anniversary of the signing of the understanding between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement. During that day, His Excellency, General Michel Aoun was still the head of the movement and I was the representative of Hezbollah. We met in Mar Mikhael Church at the entrance of Beirut’s southern suburb [Dahye] and signed the 2006 understanding. We still believe that this understanding was a very important step. We can even say it is a historic step at the internal level. It paved the road for a complete stage. One of this stage’s great and positive results and aspects is the great national stance in 2006, including the popular solidarity, the openness of the regions to each other, the openness of the people to each other and the partnership in facing the July aggression and thwarting the serious objectives that the aggression wanted to achieve. We also continued with each other.
The understanding evolved into cooperation and cooperation evolved into an alliance in many areas. We understand each other more. The way we read some things is similar. In some things, the door of discussion was and is always open like we used to in 2006. I repeat and say that understanding and alliance between two sides do not make them one party or one institution. They remain two. They might have different ways of thinking, different basis and different points of departure. Some objectives might be the same. Some are different, naturally. But the important thing is the spirit of trust, rapprochement, friendship, understanding and willingness to cooperate. We bear each other. The Lebanese people’s problem is that they get angry at each other quickly. The media and social networking sites only make it worse. We should bear each other and converse with one another. If someone annoyed us, the other should be patient and repel, by [means of] what is best, [their] evil. This manner is what we need in the different Lebanese political forces.
Today, we believe that this understanding, this cooperation and this alliance is part of our alliances, which we hope that, God willing, will be wider, stronger and bigger. We were keen on having real alliances. This does not mean the ally of my ally’s ally kind of thing. But in any case, this is the country's difficulties and complexities.
As we stand before the anniversary of the February 6, 2006 understanding, we again congratulate the leaders and the supporters [of the two parties] on this occasion. We affirm our commitment to this understanding and its development. We will develop it in quantity and quality and also expand it to include the widest possible political and popular strata in the country. We will build great hopes on it, including security, stability and the most important and profound internal peace. In God’s will there be continuity and longevity. Of course, I know that there are internal bodies that were always keen on ending this issue and make it fail. When any disagreement – simple or even a big one – happens, they put fuel on fire. They would say that the alliance is over; the two allies separated and had a disagreement. This is like what happens between us and our other allies especially between us and the Amal movement. When a disagreement over a slight issue takes place, you find some sides – I don’t want to mention from where – working on pouring fuel on fire. They make things bigger than they seem at the time when the relationship between mal and Hezbollah is deeper, stronger and stronger than any inconsistencies, problems or variations that happen here and there.
The same thing when it comes to the Free Patriotic Movement. I also think that there are international and regional parties. When we find our enemies or some of our enemies, at the very least, keen to dismantle these coalitions and alliances, we are keener to hold on to, maintain and preserve them.
Finally, God willing, on Wednesday we will mark the 40th anniversary of the blessed victory of the Islamic Revolution by the leadership of Imam Khomeini. This revolution changed the region and transported the world from one stage to the next. It was a historic turning point for us. This anniversary is very precious and dear to us. God willing, we will talk more about this subject on Wednesday. It is related to the fate of our region. It has to do with the fate of Palestine. It has to do with the fate of the resistance. It has to do with the fate of the existing conflict in the region. It is related to the fate of our nation, our civilization, our history, our culture and our existence.
We have not celebrated the victory of the revolution for a long while. We were satisfied with the ceremony held by the Embassy of the Islamic Republic in Beirut in which the embassy invited officials, diplomats, parties and scholars. But we consider the forty-year mark to be an important milestone, especially given the challenge from the Great Satan which is America. It remains the Great Satan to us. It was said when the Shah left and the Imam triumphed that this revolution will hold for two or thee months and then fail. Six months later, it was said the revolution will fail. It then gave the revolution one year and said it will fail. It then pushed for a war and bet that it will fail. There was also Bolton’s last prophecy. He was expecting to celebrate Christmas and New Years in Tehran. But he was disappointed.
Forty years have passed since this revolution. It created great achievements and major transformations in the region. We consider ourselves the first to be involved in this victory and this event. Therefore, we celebrate it.
I also want to invite all our friends and loved ones. Of course, we will not tell the people of the Bekaa and the people of the south to attend. But for our brothers and our people in the southern suburbs of Beirut, God willing, we are expecting from them a fit and worthy attendance, one worthy of the greatness, importance and history of this great victory that was achieved 40 years ago.