The Lebanese Resistance Brigades: We Are Ready to Defend Lebanon
By Latifa Al-Husseini
Beirut – Three years before the liberation of southern Lebanon, a group of patriots became determined to support the Islamic resistance. The epic operation of Jabal al-Rafi aroused a sense of enthusiasm and courage about fighting the aggressors until their expulsion.
Forty days after the martyrdom of Sayyed Hadi Nasrallah, the Lebanese Resistance Brigades [the Saraya] was born to oppose the occupation. As the battles raged, the Saraya fought shoulder to shoulder with the Mujahideen of Hezbollah.
In 2000, the [“Israeli”] occupation was defeated in what its officers would later describe as “Israel’s” longest war. Members of the Saray built up their experiences and continued their maneuvers and training. They defended the resistance internally, supporting it in the July 2006 aggression and in its battles against the Takfirists.
The faithfulness and persistence they showed for the past 23 years was reciprocated with a full embrace from Hezbollah’s Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, especially when he met with one thousand of their men just over two years ago.
Today, the Saray is preparing to participate in defending Lebanon in any future war. This is a firm promise from its leader. According to him, the fighters of this military formation will hurt the enemies in the promised battle, and their capabilities enable them to achieve this.
Al-Ahed News interviewed the leader of the Lebanese Resistance Brigades on the fourteenth anniversary of the July 2006 aggression and the defeat of the enemy.
Below is the full transcript of the interview:
What were the conditions for establishing the Lebanese Resistance Brigades?
In 1997, calls poured in to the leadership of the Islamic Resistance after the martyrdom of Sayyed Hadi Hassan Nasrallah in the Jabal al-Rafi operation in the Iqlim [al-Tuffah]. There was a great drive among the Lebanese youth to join the ranks of the resistance fighters. So, 40 days after Sayyed Hadi’s martyrdom, Hezbollah SG Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announced the establishment of a military formation called: the Lebanese Resistance Brigades. It would serve to combat the ‘Israeli’ occupation.
That’s when the percentage of those seeking to enlist under the banner of this formation grew. The leadership of the resistance met and approved this framework. Shortly thereafter, the training of groups of young Lebanese men commenced on Lebanese territory within special mechanisms and disciplines to prevent any infiltrations. This was essential because the success of the resistance's operations relied on secrecy and the ability of its men to act covertly.
Four months after its establishment, the Brigades had participated in numerous military operations against the occupation. This would continue until the liberation of southern Lebanon. It attacked “Israeli” positions in full formations and under the supervision of the resistance.
At that point, we felt great compassion from the Lebanese people, which translated into many new recruits. The resistance apparatus absorbed and trained them in workshops that lasted months to produce combat cadres that could participate and attain victory. Indeed, the Resistance Brigades had the honor of fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Islamic Resistance to liberate the south.
What are the most prominent battles fought by the Brigades?
The Saraya launched many attacks on enemy positions in the south, such as Haddatha, al-Tiri, and Jezzine. Its operations varied from artillery fire to storming “Israeli” positions, in addition to joint operations with the Islamic Resistance, which included an exchange of roles. It has so far launched 200 operations of all kinds.
What about the members of the Resistance Brigades? Can we talk about their numbers?
Now, the Resistance Brigades include thousands of Lebanese youth eager to defend their homeland and liberate the remainder of its territory.
Can we say that the level of readiness of the Resistance Brigades in terms of weapons and equipment is adequate?
Members of the Saraya undergo numerous military exercises and courses and in large numbers. During the Takfiri attack on Lebanon, groups of the Saraya participated in operations that took place along the Eastern mountain range. These groups had special combat positions and artillery shelters at the border with Syria.
The Resistance Brigades is fully equipped, enabling its fighters to carry out any mission assigned to them within the defense mechanisms that the resistance command put in place in any future war.
The advantage of the Resistance Brigades is that it includes elements from different sects. Are these people obligated to adhere to religious disciplines such as those followed in the Islamic Resistance?
At the start, the idea of launching this formation was to absorb the Lebanese youth who wanted to participate with Hezbollah in resisting the occupation without adhering to the party’s intellectual and ideological principles. Rather, these Lebanese have a common national value which is loyalty to the cause of defending their country, lifting injustice, and fighting the occupation.
It does not matter what their own religious beliefs are. The overarching cause leads to a kind of solidarity and cohesion among the members of the Brigades. We have individuals who adhere to their faith and practice their rites with full freedom, and we work to provide the appropriate atmosphere for that. After all, the aim is to resist outside the realm of religious and sectarian backgrounds. They look up to Sayyed Nasrallah as a role model and always await his directions.
By the way, the Secretary General of Hezbollah met in person almost a thousand members of the Resistance Brigades, including group and faction leaders, more than two years ago. The meeting at that time was unique. Members of the Saraya sensed His Eminence’s fatherliness and his complete embrace of them.
On that day, Sayyed Nasrallah addressed them by saying: "You, my children ... each one of you is Hadi Hassan Nasrallah.” The meeting was a mixture of tears, passion, emotions, and love.
These groups looked exactly like the Islamic Resistance groups – very similar to their morals. They became one of the key factors in Lebanon's strength.
After the liberation in the year 2000, the 2006 July war, and the defeat of Takfiri terrorists in 2017, can we say that the mission of the Resistance Brigades is now confined to the internal arena as some say?
The Saraya is being attacked by a local, regional, and global campaign similar to the one Hezbollah is being subjected to. It is a psychological war. The youth from the Saraya come from reputable sectors of the Lebanese fabric, and therefore they are always being attacked due to internal problems. The aim is to tarnish their image and strike the spirit of the Lebanese resistance fighter.
The young men of the Saraya are deployed along the Lebanese borders with Palestine, and they have their camps and points. They also support the Lebanese society. They have recently taken part in distributing food and sterilization aid in various regions – from Akkar to Arqoub, from Naqura to Ras Baalbeck and al-Qaa amid the coronavirus pandemic without distinguishing between supporters and opponents.
Some are asking how can a Lebanese person join the Brigades?
There are mechanisms, of course. Any citizen can contact the official of their area. There are some measures that are taken at the level of discipline and organization. He then undergoes a trial period, after which he moves onto the preparation stage.
The important thing for those who wish to join the Brigades is that they believe in the goals of the resistance. They must be able to carry out the duties required of them within the framework of the resistance and be committed to its national project and liberation. They must also have a good reputation and not belong to any party.
Are members of the Resistance Brigades paid salaries?
We do not have full-time employees or employees that get paid in this formation. They are treated the same way the members of the general mobilization of Hezbollah are. We provide some social assistance or health facilities to some brothers who sometimes go through critical social conditions. We try to stand by them during difficult days as much as possible.
As for the six martyrs of the Saraya, their families are fully taken care of.
In your opinion, how do the Zionists view the formation of the Resistance Brigades?
The enemy watches us and takes into account the ability and movement of the resistance in other environments, which is a significant concern for it.