August 1, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1225

Iran and Syria Beat the Drums of War

August 1, 2006
Syria, Iran | Special Dispatch No. 1225

In the last few days senior Iranian and Syrian officials, including Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, have stepped up their statements on the war, with the Syrian regime's mouthpieces in the media following suit.

The following are excerpts:

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander: We Must Keep the Hatred of America Burning in Our Hearts Until the Moment of Revenge Arrives

The Iranian conservative news agency Fars reported that Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Yahya Raheem Safavi gave a speech before forces from the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij [1] on July 30, 2006, in which he demanded that they be prepared to act against Israel and the United States:

"I hope that our courageous and great nation will succeed one day in taking revenge against Israel and America, avenging the blood of the oppressed Muslims and the martyrs.

"We see America as also being the cause of the death of the 200,000 martyrs in the war that was forced upon us [i.e. the Iran-Iraq war], since it urged Saddam [Hussein] to attack Iran. We must keep the holy hatred burning in our hearts until the moment of revenge arrives.

"In light of the Zionists' crimes and oppression, I ask God to hasten the years when this regime will no longer exist... The Zionists are hastening their own death through their foul deeds, since Hizbullah and the Lebanese people are undefeated. There is a need to topple the phony Zionist regime, this cancerous growth [called] Israel, which was founded in order to plunder the Muslims' resources and wealth." [2]

The London Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-'Arabi, relying on the Fars news agency, quoted Safavi as saying that "the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij... need to be ready to respond against Israel and the United States. The Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] will tell you when the time for this has come." [3]

Guardian Council Head Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati: All Muslims Must Provide Military Aid to Hizbullah

Iranian Guardian Council head Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati told the Iranian students news agency ISNA that the war of the Zionist regime in Lebanon paralleled the Ashura. [4] He emphasized the Shi'ite aspect of the war, and Hizbullah's role as defender of Shi'ites today. Ayatollah Jannati further called for all Muslims to provide military aid to Hizbullah. The following are excerpts from the ISNA report:

"Hizbullah is, in effect, [an organization of] supporters of God, Ali, and the house of Ali. All people in the world have a duty to maintain this supporter. The best support for God is supporting Islam's war against the infidels. I hope that I will live to see the celebrations of the victory of Islam over the infidels.

"The war against the Zionist regime in Lebanon is parallel to the Ashura, as Yazid thought that he would triumph after he led to the death of Imam Hussein - when [actually] at Karbala the sons of Umayya took their greatest defeat [- and thus it will be with the Zionist regime]. [5]

"Even though the entire Western and Eastern world [both] supported Iraq in the [Iran-Iraq] war, and no one supported Iran, we managed to win, with God's help.

"Today too it can be expected that the Muslim countries will not refuse [to provide] all kinds of aid, particularly military, pharmacutical, and food aid, to Hizbullah and the Lebanese people, and even to bring the wounded for treatment in the neighboring countries."

He added that "[Hizbullah leader] Hassan Nasrallah is the man of the century, because he alone stands facing the wild attacks of the Zionist regime." [6]

Kayhan Headline: "Tel Aviv is Expecting a Rain of Missiles"

The conservative Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, published as its lead story for August 1, 2006: "A special announcement by Kayhan regarding the recent development in the fighting in Lebanon: Tel Aviv is expecting a rain of missiles."

In its report on reactions to the events in Kafr Qana, Kayhan wrote: "A wave of popular support, primarily in the Middle East, is flowing towards Hizbullah in Lebanon... Hassan Nasrallah, the best-known Arab Islamic figure in the Middle East, said in response to the crimes at Qana that he would respond with determination and surprise against the Zionist regime. According to him, they [the people of the Middle East] are waiting for Hizbullah missiles to strike the central city of Tel Aviv and destroy it. The Israelis too await this event; they themselves announced that the Hizbullah missiles had a range of 200 km, when the distance from the Lebanese border to Tel Aviv [sic] is only 120 km." [7]

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad: "Now is a Time for Popular and National Resistance"; "The Battle Will Continue So Long as Our Land is Occupied and So Long as Our Rights are Stolen"

On the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the establishment of the Syrian army, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad issued a letter to the army. The following are excerpts, as reported by the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra:

"[Al-Assad wrote:] 'The anniversary of the establishment of the [Syrian] army falls this year amidst international circumstances [presenting] regional challenges that oblige us to be wary and alert and that make readiness and preparedness a necessity.

"'Indeed, the barbaric war of destruction that the Zionist enemy is conducting against our proud Arab people in Lebanon and in Palestine is growing crueler and crueler. Sister Lebanon is subject to open attack by the Israeli machine of aggression, by air, by sea, and by land, and the enemy is employing the most horrendous forms of murder, damage, and destruction, and is not skipping any person, stone, installation, or infrastructure...

"'Part of their battle and aggression is based on falsification of the facts and the truth. [Even] if there exists someone who makes their plans easier for them and promotes their claims, the peoples' pulse is stronger, and continues to exist. The time now is a time for popular and national resistance. This resistance succeeded in humiliating the occupiers, shattering their prestige in Iraq and Palestine, and so today in Lebanon, and it has proven to the world that the power of truth is stronger than all the hubris of the occupying power.

"'It is Israel that perpetrated and is perpetrating the aggression; it is [Israel] that takes [entire] nations hostage... It is [Israel] that holds thousands of prisoners in its jails and its prisons. It is Israel, more than any other, that is occupying our Arab lands in Palestine, the Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon.

"'These resistance fighters, and this people, are fighting in order to redeem their homelands and countries. They are fighting in order to defend their land and their honor. They have no banner other than that of victory, and they have proven that victory begins with a firm stance of honor, continues with exposing agents who have abandoned [their fellow Arabs], and ends with liberation.

"'Syria, which has always stood by its brothers, and has sacrificed ranks of martyrs in order to defend Lebanon's liberty just [as it did] to defend Syria's liberty, is today, as in the past, the strongest force and the force most determined to stand by our steadfast Arab people who are fighting in Lebanon and in Palestine, and to stand by the heroic Lebanese resistance that struck the enemy in its own base. All the shouting of threats that the forces of hegemony, who support the aggression, are sounding will not deter us from continuing in the path of liberation, from supporting our brothers, and from providing aid to the resistance.'

"Assad called on the armed forces, on all of the brigades and units, to heighten their efforts in the training fields, and to work and strive to be more prepared and to raise their level of preparedness, and said: 'Despite our belief that martyrdom is the path to liberty and victory, we must believe that every effort and each drop of sweat now in training will save a drop of blood when the time comes. The battle will continue so long as our land is occupied and so long as our rights are stolen. Victory will come, with Allah's help." [8]

Editor of Syrian Government Daily: Everyone in the Nation Needs to Decide in Whose Trench He Will Fight - That of Israel, or That of the Resistance

An editorial by Dr. Khalaf Al-Jarrad, editor of the Syrian government daily Teshreen, read: "The strategic planners, decision-makers, and war [commanders] in the Zionist entity and among its supporters need to learn the nature of this region, and the meaning of martyrdom and honor among the peoples of the region... [Then] they will understand that their cruel wars, [and] the damage, destruction, and mass murder of our people in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon will do them no good and will not force our nation to suffer defeat and surrender. On the contrary: It will push millions of Arabs in the various nations to join the resistance, take up arms, and fight against Zionism...

"History has no mercy. Everyone in this nation - and especially its rulers - needs to choose the trench in which he will stand and in which he will fight. It must be either the trench of Israel, Zionism, and the U.S. (led by the neoconservatives), together with the right-wing and racist movements that have allied themselves with them, as well as the forces and organizations that support them - militarily, politically, economically, intellectually, diplomatically, and ideologically, and have joined forces with them; or else the trench of the resistance, that defends the land, rights, honor, history, and identity, and on its side [are] all of the resistance forces - Arab, Islamic, and international.

"There are no other options in this existential and decisive equation and at this decisive point in history." [9]

Syrian Minister: "Now That the Legendary Myth of Israeli Superiority has Been Shattered…"

Syrian Minister of Expatriates Buthayna Sha'ban wrote in the Syrian government daily Teshreen, and likewise in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "It is clear that the disarmament of the resistance [i.e. Hizbullah], the destruction of Iraq, the tearing of the people of Iraq to pieces, and the threat to Syria - all these are goals in the establishment of the New Middle East, in its Zionist-Western identity... The Arabs need to understand today that 'everything that brings them together is right, and everything that sows dissension among them is wrong.' Thus, the battle is long - a battle of to be or not to be.

"[Condoleezza] Rice was right when she said that there will be no return [to the situation that prevailed] before the outbreak of the war. Even if she and Israel were to want [the situation] to return to what it was, the shattering of the legendary myth of Israeli superiority, and the fact that [the Arabs] have broken out of the spirit of frustration that Israel had sowed among them - this will not allow the Arabs to agree any more to the humiliation, inferiority, and desperation that prevailed [before the war].

"There can be no doubt that the Middle East is indeed today in the throes of birth pangs. But the birth will be the birth of an Arab world, which will be ruled by its noble sons, who understand their own interests, are proud of their past, their present, and their future, and who sacrifice so that their children will have an honorable future in which the Arabs will achieve this unification and cooperation, so that the Arab voice will prevail in the international arena..." [10]

Editor of Syrian Government Daily Takes Arab Rulers to Task: You Can Drink Your Coffee with the Aroma of the Children of Qana

The editor of the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, 'Abd Al-Fattah Al-'Awadh, wrote: "Oh Arab rulers, you rationalists and pragmatists and doves of peace, you can drink your morning coffee with the aroma of the children of [Kafr] Qana. You can now continue to clink your glasses and toast peace with Rice, and make from the skins of those who were killed robes for some of you, and ties for others, as souvenirs from Lebanon.

"Who will take Israel to task? Who will dare? Israel's history, which is full of massacres, demonstrates the aggressive and barbaric nature upon which it subsides, and which it is impossible to change in the way of the wise [Arab] rulers. It can only be changed through the mentality of the 'adventurer' resistance fighters...

"[Our] answer to you is: All of those who were killed are our children. Can the father forgive the murderer of his son?" [11]

[1] The Basij is Iran's revolutionary people's militia. See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis Series No. 262, February 1, 2006, Basij - The Revolutionary People's Militia of Iran.

[2] Fars, July 30, 2006.

[3] Al-Quds Al-'Arabi (London), July 31, 2006.

[4] During the holiday of Ashura, the Shi'ites mark the martyrdom of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the hands of the Sunni Yazid bin Mu'wayya, in the Battle of Karbala in 680, who they claim usurped the rule from the house of Ali. The Ashura was turned by the founder of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Ruholla Khomenei, into a symbol of the uprising of minorities against powerful oppressors.

[5] Yazid was the Sunni ruler from the house of Umayya who killed Hussein (see previous note). According to Shi'ite belief, Hussein was supposed to be the Muslim ruler, not Yazid. The Battle of Karbala marked the divide in the Islamic world between Sunnis and Shi'ites.

[6] ISNA, August 1, 2006.

[7] Kayhan (Iran), August 1, 2006.

[8] Al-Thawra (Syria), August 1, 2006.

[9] Teshreen (Syria), July 31, 2006.

[10] Teshreen (Syria), July 31, 2006; Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 31, 2006.

[11] Al-Thawra (Syria), August 1, 2006.

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