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This year, as every year, Quds Day was observed by the pro-Iranian Shi'ite militias in Iraq, and marked by processions and rallies throughout the country, during which American and Israeli flags were burned. Quds Day, which was established by the Ayatollahs regime in Iran in 1979, is always celebrated on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, which this year fell on May 7.
A Quds Day rally held by the Hizbullah Brigades in Basrah (Source: Telegram.me/centerkaf, May 7, 2021)
A Quds Day rally held by the Hizbullah Brigades in Babil (Source: Telegram.me/centerkaf, May 7, 2021)
As they do every year, the leaders of the militias delivered speeches and published statements condemning Israel and its policies. Harsh criticism and condemnation were also aimed at the Arab regimes which have lately normalized their relations with Israel, starting with the UAE. Several of the militia leaders used the event to threaten attacks on American interests in Iraq.
These leaders also exploited the growing tension and confrontations that have broken out in Jerusalem over the past weeks between Israelis and Palestinians in the context of the Ramadan holiday, and the anticipated intention to evict Palestinian residents from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, to urge their supporters to take action.
Qais Al-Khaz'ali: No American Soldier Will Be Safe From The Weapons Of The Resistance
In a harsh speech delivered on May 5, 2021, by Qais Al-Khaz'ali, secretary-general of Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq, on the occasion of Quds Day, he said: "Despite all the efforts of the U.S. and those behind it – states, lobbies and secret and visible organizations and lobbies – to enable the existence of the [Zionist] entity by means of total military support and economic support… and the efforts to weaken the Islamic peoples and states… the axis of resistance… is making progress and achieving victory after victory on every front."
Alongside what he describes as the achievements of Iran, the Houthis, the Palestinian factions and Hizbullah-Lebanon, Al-Khaz'ali stresses the achievements of the Iraqi people and adds that "the Zionists are more aware than others of its [the Iraqi people's] power because they know for certain that the end of their imaginary state and their oppressive entity will be in the hands of Allah's people, and especially in the hands of the people of this country."
Al-Khaz'ali notes that the sole purpose of the presence of the American military forces in Iraq is to protect the security of Israel and emphasizes that "the Islamic resistance factions in Iraq have decided to compel the American forces to leave [Iraq]… this is a final decision… the members of the Iraqi resistance have the full right to force the American occupation to withdraw from its land… they are carrying out their brave operations against the American bases. Please note – this quantity and quality of operations does not at all reflect the true ability of the resistance factions… the Islamic resistance factions have sufficient manpower and sufficient amounts and quality of weapons to attack the entire American presence in every place in Iraq, so that there will not be a single American soldier who will be safe from the weapons of the resistance…
"I rest assured that the liberation of all the land of Iraq from the American occupation will bring Jerusalem and its liberation closer…"
Hizbullah Brigades: We Are Entitled To Take Revenge On The U.S. For Its Support Of Israel
The Hizbullah Brigades also used the events as an opportunity to threaten the U.S. interests in the region. A statement issued on May 9 reads: "The brutal desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the criminal harm done to the Palestinian people during the blessed month of Ramadan confirm the true character of the usurping entity [Israel] and its aggressive policy. This character and this policy are the result of the support [this entity] receives from the criminal U.S. administration, which is the main supporter of this terrorist base.
"It is America's military and political support for the [Zionist] entity that causes [this entity] to employ such excessive aggression against innocent people and to expel the [real] owners of the land. By vetoing U.N. resolutions condemning the Zionists' crimes, the U.S. shields them and prompts them to continue their rapacious policy against the Palestinian people. All this proves that the [Zionist] entity is a criminal tool used by the U.S. to carry out its despicable policy and to undermine the security of the region.
"The Arab and Islamic peoples continue to oppose every attempt to normalize relations with the Zionists and grant them legitimacy. This is in contrast to [the behavior of] some treasonous regimes, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. All the free peoples have the right to take revenge on the U.S. and target its interests in order to deter it from supporting the Israeli occupation. Moreover, they are entitled to help their brothers in Palestine to liberate all their lands and holy sites from the American-Zionist enemy."
Several days earlier, ahead of Quds Day, marked this year on May 7, the Hizbullah Brigades issued another statement, in which it denied Israel's right to exist, and criticized Arab regimes which are normalizing their relations with it, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The statement adds that the Iraqi people will play a significant role in liberating Palestine "from the river to the sea."
It reads: "We have [always] believed and we continue to believe that the Americans understand no language other than force. The conflict between the liberation movements and [the Americans] or their agents constitutes clear proof that an honorable state can exist only after expelling all the indications of evil and after the free peoples take back their rights, as happened in Iran and is now happening in Afghanistan and Yemen.
"The American military presence has not succeeded, and will not succeed in protecting its own people, not to mention its allies in the region like the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE or the Zionist entity."
The statement also claims that the aim of the American military presence in Iraq is to compel normalization with Israel, which is an issue that is totally rejected in Iraq. It further asserts "the absolute belief that its [i.e. Israel's] existence in occupied Palestine is not legitimate."
The statement continues: "We in the Islamic resistance Hizbullah Brigades, in accordance with the steadfast positions of our people regarding the Palestinian issue throughout history, believe that our cherished people will fulfill a major role on every level in the resistance to the entity which oppresses Jerusalem, and will play a part along with the free people across the world in supporting Palestine until the liberation of all the stolen land from the river to the sea."