Hizbullah has recently renewed its anti-American rhetoric that blames the U.S. for all of Lebanon's problems. One reason for the escalation was remarks made by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf in which she called Hizbullah a "plague." These remarks drew furious responses from Hizbullah officials, chief of them the organization's secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, who stated that America, rather than Hizbullah, is the plague and curse afflicting Lebanon, "whose effects are felt even today and are evident in the economic situation, the living conditions and the economic collapse" in the country.
The second trigger for the escalation in Hizbullah's rhetoric was a November 9, 2022 report in the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar that the U.S. had refused to grant Lebanon a sanctions waiver to import free fuel from Iran. Iran made an offer in September to provide Lebanon with 600,000 tons of fuel, free of charge, to operate its power stations. In light of America's alleged refusal to allow this, Hizbullah held it responsible for Lebanon's severe energy crisis.
This report presents some of Hizbullah's recent statements attacking the U.S. in this context.
Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah: America Is The Plague That Afflicted Our Country; Hizbullah Is The One That Removed This Plague
Responding to Barbara Leaf, who referred to Hizbullah as a plague, Nasrallah stated, in a November 11 speech on the occasion of Martyrs Day, that the U.S. itself is the plague that afflicted Lebanon and is responsible for its current economic crisis. He said: "Let me address the remarks made several days ago by the official in charge of Lebanon and the region in the U.S. state department,[Barbara Leaf]. She outlined [several] tragic and severe scenarios for Lebanon's future… Describing scenarios that could lead to the elimination of Hizbullah, she used the English word 'plague,' and the [Arabic] translators were divided on how to translate it. Some said it should be translated as 'curse,' namely a curse named Hizbullah, while others translated it as 'plague' or 'epidemic.' [But] who is the curse, plague or epidemic?... We all remember the Israeli invasion in 1982 and what it did in Lebanon when it entered Beirut and most parts of the country. [Everyone remembers] what it has done to the Lebanese, the Palestinians, the Syrians and everyone else. It has perpetrated war crimes, destroyed, bombed and massacred. Is that not the case? And who was it that sponsored, protected, supported and financed [Israel as it did this]? It was the U.S. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was a curse and a plague, and we managed to overcome it. This curse and plague was, first and foremost, an American product… Made in USA…
"You, the U.S. administration, are the curse and the plague that arrived in our country, whereas we [Hizbullah] – who constitute the main branch of the resistance alongside our brethren, the other resistance movements and factions – we are the ones who lifted this curse and removed this American plague. [But] you kick it out the door and it comes back in through the window…
"Who was it that wanted [to create] chaos in Lebanon in 2019 [a reference to the protests that broke out across Lebanon in October 2019 against the economic crisis and government corruption in the country], having failed in its plan to [start] a civil war? It was you Americans… The [instigators of] the chaos in 2019 [i.e., the protestors], did they not demand the resignation of the government and the parliament? That means destroying the country. That is your curse, the American curse, the American plague and the American epidemic… The curse began back then [in 2019] and its effects are evident to this day, in the economic crisis, the living conditions, the economic and administrational collapse and the collapse of [Lebanon's] national currency. America's economic siege [on Lebanon] started at the same time and [also] persists to this day… The siege I am talking about is being imposed by [the Americans] sitting in Washington. It bans any country from investing in Lebanon, extending aid to it, or depositing funds in Lebanon's central bank… Worse, if any country in the world dares to come out against the American siege and extend aid to Lebanon, the Americans come and forbid the Lebanese state, the [Lebanese] government, to accept this aid. What do you call this? A curse and a plague…
"Looking at the region, [we see] an even greater catastrophe. Now that Syria has won the world war [against it], it is suffering terribly in terms of its economy and the living conditions [of its citizens]. What is the reason for this? The American Caesar Act… And who is responsible for the ongoing war in Yemen? Who is responsible for all the injustice in our region? Who is responsible for what is happening in Iran in the recent weeks... and in Palestine? It is the American plague…"
Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem: The U.S. Is Responsible For Lebanon's Crisis
As stated, the report that the U.S. had forbidden Lebanon to receive free fuel from Iran likewise sparked anti-American responses. Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem said at a November 9 memorial for a Hizbullah activist: "The U.S. is the reason for the Lebanese crisis. It is the one preventing Lebanon from receiving electricity [from Jordan via Syria] and accepting the Iranian grant [of fuel]." On November 12 Qassem tweeted: "Lebanon has been forbidden to accept a grant of 600,000 tons of Iranian fuel, worth some $350 million. This means depriving Lebanon of 5-6 hours of electricity a day for several months! #Curse the rapacious America."
Deputy Chair Of Hizbullah's Executive Committee: The U.S. Trying To Cause Lebanon's Collapse
Sheikh 'Ali Da'moush, the deputy chair of Hizbullah's Executive Committee, spoke in a similar vein at a Hizbullah Martyrs Day event on November 13. He said: "The main reason for the Lebanese people's suffering is the U.S. administration, which has placed Lebanon under [economic] siege. It is increasing the suffering of the Lebanese people and works to exacerbate the crises and the problems by preventing Lebanon from accepting aid and receiving electricity and gas. [It is also] preventing a solution to the problem of the [Syrian] refugees, interfering in Lebanon's internal affairs and trying to impose [the appointment of a Lebanese] president subordinate to its will.
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"The U.S. administration is now planning to bring about Lebanon's collapse [by] sparking disagreements and bringing the situation inside [the country] to an explosion that will destroy it. That is what U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs [Barbara Leaf] revealed when she spoke about a dangerous scenario in Lebanon that will cause the country to be completely destroyed and [then] rebuilt according to the interests of the U.S. and Israel. That means [that it will be built] without the resistance [Hizbullah], because the resistance poses a threat to Israel and gives Lebanon strength in the struggle against [Israel's] ambitions.
"The Lebanese must not forget that the one who supported the Israeli invasion that destroyed Lebanon in 1982, aided it, protected it, sponsored it and financed it, was the U.S., and that the weapons that killed the Lebanese and destroyed large parts of the country in 1993, 1996 and until 2006 were American weapons. We must also remember that the one who brought ISIS, and the [other] terrorists who accuse [fellow Muslims] of heresy, into our region and into Lebanon, and the one who bombed and killed in the Beqaa Valley, in the Dahiya and in Beirut, is the American administration. It was also the one who created the chaos [in Lebanon] and used its servants to spark discord in the country and to impose a siege on the Lebanese since 2019, and was a major reason for the economic and financial collapse and the plunge in living standards.
"[But] as long as we are armed with the spirit of the martyrs – their faith, knowledge, awareness, perception, courage, steadfastness, might, determination, will and readiness for struggle and sacrifice in defending our people and in preserving the honor and sovereignty of our country – the American administration will not mange to realize its plans, its goals and the catastrophic scenarios it is warning the Lebanese about. It will fail and will be disappointed, just like in all its previous attempts."
Head Of Hizbullah's Parliamentary Bloc: If It Weren't For The U.S. The Lebanese Could Have Had Power For 10 Hours A Day
Muhammad Ra'd, the head of Hizbullah's "Loyalty to the Resistance" bloc in the Lebanese parliament, said at a memorial in the town of Harouf on November 10: "The Americans have [now] said explicitly what they concealed when Iran first decided to provide Lebanon with a grant of fuel to meet the needs of the Lebanese people and hopefully activate the power plants for 10-12 hours a day. This grant comes from Iran, which rebels against the American tyrant, and the Americans have imposed sanctions on anyone dealing with Iran. That is the obstacle preventing the Lebanese government from accepting this grant… and that is why [the Lebanese] do not have power [at least] for 10 hours a day…"
Hizbullah's Parliamentary Bloc: The U.S. Will Continue Harming Lebanon If We Refuse To Obey It
Hizbullah's "Loyalty to the Resistance" bloc itself also attacked the U.S. following the Al-Akhbar report. A statement issued after the bloc's November 10 meeting said: "The U.S. administration insists on continuing its barbaric aggression against Lebanon and its people, and has declared, with the utmost arrogance, that accepting the Iranian fuel grant will expose Lebanon to American sanctions. We hereby present this [American] position to all the Lebanese people, so that they know which international element is thuggishly subjecting their country to a siege, and [so they know whose] officials are openly rebuking Lebanon and warning it that it will suffer more unless it submits to the policy of tyranny. We in Hizbullah firmly oppose the rationale of the American hegemony and control, condemn it, and reiterate our insistence that Lebanon exercise its sovereign right to determine its own interests… We hereby declare to our people that we will not agree to be patronized and dictated to by anyone…"
Hizbullah Supporters On Twitter: The Massacres, Crimes And Killing In Lebanon Are An American Curse
Following Nasrallah's speech, many Hizbullah supporters on Twitter likewise directed invective at the U.S., using hashtags like "America is the curse" and "MADE IN USA." Nasrallah's son Jawwad, for example, tweeted: "The massacres, crimes and killing in Lebanon are an American curse."
User Zainab Al-'Ali shared an image depicting the U.S. as Satan, with the hashtag "America is the curse."
User Hassan Fakhoury shared pictures of victims of attacks in Lebanon, and wrote: "The injustice suffered by honorable Lebanese is made in America. The Arabs have agreed on this since 1982… and in 2022 they still do. #MADE IN USA."
 For previous examples of this rhetoric, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1606 - Hizbullah Waging Campaign Against U.S. And Its Influence In Lebanon: 'We Know How To Hurt Them And Threaten Their Interests' – November 23, 2021.
 Speaking on November 4, 2022 at the Washington-based Wilson Center, Barbara Leaf said: "I'm mindful of the narrative in some parts of this town and elsewhere, that letting Lebanon collapse may somehow enable it to rebuild from the ashes, free of the plague that Hizbullah has represented for so many years. If only it were so simple…" Wilsoncenter.org, November 4, 2022.
 Al-Akhbar (Lebanon)ת November 9, 2022. It should be noted that, according to other sources, the U.S. has not given any official reply on this issue. See Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 11, 2022; aljazeera.net, November 14, 2022.
 Reuters.com, September 7, 2022. According to sources in Lebanon's energy ministry, Iran has not yet decided whether to provide the fuel to Lebanon, and if so, whether Lebanon will be required to pay for it. Almodon.com, November 10, 2022.
 On these protests see Special Dispatch No. 8332 - Lebanese Politicians, Journalists, Before The Outbreak Of The Current Protest-Wave: It Is Hizbullah That Caused The Economic Crisis In The Country – October 25, 2019.
 Alahedmews.com.lb, November 11, 2022.
 Almanar.com.lb, November 9, 2022. In July 2021 talks commenced between Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan on a deal to supply Lebanon with power from Jordan and gas from Egypt via Syria. U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea said at the time that she would act to facilitate the deal by exempting it from U.S. sanctions under the Caesar Act, which prohibits gas transactions with the Syrian regime. Allowing the deal is in line with the American interest to alleviate Lebanon's energy crisis and render superfluous Hizbullah's efforts to import fuel from Iran. However, as of this writing, the U.S. has not officially consented to the move. Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), December 6, 2022. See also MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1602 - Jordan, With U.S. Consent, Spearheads Efforts To Return Syrian Regime To Arab Fold – October 19, 2021.
 Twitter.com/shnaimkassem, November 12, 2022.
 Almanar.com.lb, November 13, 2022.
 Alahednews.com.lb, November 10, 2022.
 Alahednews.com.lb, November 10, 2022.
 Twitter.com/_mjn, November 11, 2022.
 Twitter.com/zainab_elali, November 12, 2022.
 Twitter.com/hasanm133, November 11, 2022.