July 26, 2006
Special Dispatch No. 1213

Lebanese Druze Leader Walid Jumblatt on Al-Arabiya TV: Do Lebanese Really Agree That the Battle of the [Islamic] Nation Should Be Launched From Lebanon?; I Was First to Warn of the Iranian-Syrian Alliance; I Have the Right to Challenge Nasrallah's Heroism

The following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on July 20, 2006 [1].

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Walid Jumblatt: "Hassan Nasrallah made the decision to go to war without consulting anyone."

[...]

"Today, the Lebanese state has become a kind of Red Cross. If tomorrow a cease-fire is reached - even if the state is represented formally on the issue of the prisoners - the Lebanese state would still be incapable of [fulfilling] all its plans - to spread its sovereignty to South Lebanon and to the refugee camps, and especially with regard to the weapons outside the refugee camps."

[...]

"A cease-fire between who? [Israel] and the Lebanese state? Will Hizbullah recognize the Lebanese state?"

[...]

"Will the weapons of Hizbullah be incorporated into the defensive system of the Lebanese army, and I emphasize the word 'defensive?' Or will there be a cease-fire, and then the first article on the agenda will be that we should liberate the prisoners. Then he will say to you: 'We want to liberate the Shab'a Farms, and I need to keep my weapons in order to liberate Shab'a.' Then he will tell you that we should implement Resolution 194 - the return of the refugees to Palestine. In such a case, Lebanon will become an open battlefield for the Syrian and Iranian regimes."

[...]

Interviewer: "Nasrallah also said he was fighting for the sake of the nation."

[...]

Walid Jumblatt: "No one empowered him to fight from Lebanon for the sake of the nation."

[...]

"If Syrian patronage over Lebanon is restored, we will have a dictatorship, like the Syrian and Iranian regimes."

[...]

"The question should be directed at Hassan [Nasrallah], and at the Syrians and Iranians with their agenda: Do they really want a Lebanese state, or do they want an open battlefield, which would serve Iran's nuclear interests and expansionist goals in the Gulf? As for Syria, it benefits when Lebanon turns into rubble. The poorer the Lebanese people gets, the more it is destroyed, the more the elite emigrate. How does [Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad] manage to rule Syria? Through poverty. He rules it through power and intelligence agencies. He rules a people that is wretched, imprisoned. He wants to do the same to Lebanon, because he envies us. He envies our pluralism, our vitality, our culture, and our free press. What did he do to the Syrian intellectuals? He imprisoned them. Why? Because they had the courage to say: 'Let's make some changes.'"

[...]

"Is there really a Lebanese consensus that the battle of the [Islamic] nation should be launched from Lebanon? Do all we Lebanese really agree with the words of that 'hero' from afar, the head of the Iranian Shura Council, who said that from Lebanon, from Meis Al-Jabal and 'Ayta Al-Sha'b, we will set out to liberate Palestine in its entirety, inch by inch? I have no objection, but why Lebanon alone? Why is there a disengagement agreement in the occupied Syrian land of the Golan? How come 4-5 million Israeli and foreign tourists come to the Golan? How come no bullet has been fired in the Golan since 1974?"

[...]

"I believe that the first person to warn against the Iranian-Syrian alliance was me, Walid Jumblatt. I tried to warn Saudi Arabia and Egypt about the dangers. I traveled to America as well. I did not ask the Americans to topple the Syrian regime. Not at all. I asked for a change of behavior - but one cannot change the behavior of a terrorist regime."

[...]

Interviewer: "Hassan Nasrallah is considered a hero by the Arab peoples."

Walid Jumblatt: "Great, so he's a hero. But I'd like to challenge this heroism of his. I have the right to challenge it, because my country is in flames. Besides, we did not agree... We agreed on an agenda with regard to Palestine. If the agenda changes, that will be another matter. The agenda with regard to Palestine, on which we agreed, includes the establishment of a [Palestinian] state alongside Israel, the right of return, Jerusalem as the capital, the demolition of the wall of humiliation, and the dismantling of the settlements. This is our agenda at this point in time. In his political speeches, [Nasrallah] says: 'I do not recognize the state of Israel, and I want to set out from South Lebanon to liberate Palestine in its entirety.' This is what he is doing. If this is his agenda, I have the right to oppose it."


[1] For other MEMRI dispatches on the current Middle East crisis please see:

Special Dispatch No. 1212, "Iranian President Ahmadinejad on IRINN TV: 'Lebanon is the Scene of an Historic Test, Which Will Determine the Future of Humanity,'" July 26, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1752.htm.

Special Dispatch No. 1211, "Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah: I Told Lebanese Political Leaders We Would Abduct Israeli Soldiers," July 25, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1751.htm.

Inquiry & Analysis No. 289, "The Middle East Crisis - Local, Regional, and Global; Conventional and Nuclear (2): The War in the Perception of Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah," July 24, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1750.htm ;

Inquiry & Analysis No. 288, "The Middle East Crisis - Local, Regional, and Global; Conventional and Nuclear: The War in the Perception of Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah," July 21, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1748.htm ;

Special Dispatch No. 1208, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (5): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 18, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1746.htm ;

Special Dispatch No. 1207, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (4): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 17, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1745.htm ;

Special Dispatch No. 1206, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (3): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 14, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1744.htm ;

Special Dispatch No. 1205, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (2): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 14, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1743.htm ;

Special Dispatch No. 1204, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders: Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 13, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1742.htm.


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