In an interview on Al-Jadeed TV, celebrity Lebanese drug lord Nouh Zeitar discussed his narcotic exploits, as well as his longtime support of Hizbullah. Zeitar justified growing cannabis on the grounds that the government does not allow farmers in the Baalbek Hermel district to grow anything else. He encouraged everybody to smoke hash “in moderation,” and claimed that all Lebanese MP use drugs. Zeitar reiterated his support for Hizbullah, but stated that if Hizbullah ever fights the Lebanese army, he will fight alongside the army. The interview aired on January 28.
Interviewer: What's the difference between you and ISIS? Don't get angry.
Nouh Zeitar: I'm not.
Interviewer: What's the difference between you and ISIS? In what way are you different from them?
Nouh Zeitar: How is this relevant?
Off-camera person: That's it, stop the show…
Nouh Zeitar: No.
Off-camera person: Stop the show. Stop the show.
Nouh Zeitar: What's up with you?
Off-camera person: Stop the show. We are nothing like ISIS.
Nouh Zeitar: Shame on you. What is this?!
Off-camera person: Get him out of here.
Interviewer: I don't understand what just happened here, by the way.
Nouh Zeitar: The guys can't stand ISIS. They were upset that you compared me to ISIS.
Nouh Zeitar: Guys, do me a favor. Keep out of it.
Interviewer: I would like to ask you to have some respect for this show. When we are done, you can do whatever you want. You talk to them, please.
Nouh Zeitar: Enough, it's over.
Interviewer: I want to stop the show, because I'm upset about what just happened. If we have to do this at gunpoint, I'd prefer not to go on. Seriously…
Off-camera crew member: It's over. Go back to Nouh. It was because of the question…
Nouh Zeitar: The guy got upset by your question.
Interviewer: I plan on asking even more difficult questions, and you're upset by my ISIS question?
Off-camera crew member: You can answer him any way you want…
Nouh Zeitar: It wasn't me. It was him.
Off-camera crew member: You can say for example: "don't compare me to ISIS." [To Interviewer] Do you want a drink of water?
Interviewer: No, let's move on.
Nouh Zeitar: Get him some water. [to someone off camera] Don't let him come back in. He got me angry as well, not just him. Who let him in anyway?
Nouh Zeitar: I'm one of the largest cannabis farmers.
Interviewer: You are a dealer.
Nouh Zeitar: I'm not a dealer.
Interviewer: So what do you do with it?
Nouh Zeitar: I grow it and sell it.
Interviewer: What do you mean "sell"? That doesn't count as dealing?
Nouh Zeitar: No, I just grow it and sell it. I don't turn it into drugs.
Interviewer: Who does?
Nouh Zeitar: Samir Geagea's people. Samir Geagea, who launched an anti-drug campaign, knows the truth. Ask him.
Interviewer: I am asking you.
Nouh Zeitar: He always attacks me, blabbering on TV, calling me a drug dealer…I want to tell him that the drug dealer is the one who takes the crop. He takes all the crops, and God knows what he does with it. He knows who has the largest ships and who is the biggest drug exporter and importer. He is the biggest one. He takes the crop and sells it. He has ships.
Interviewer: He buys from you?
Nouh Zeitar: I'm one of the farmers.
Interviewer: But you are the largest farmer…
Nouh Zeitar: No, I'm not. There are stories that I'm the largest farmer. Big or small, it makes no difference.
Nouh Zeitar: We are always saying that we want to legalize hashish. There is something very important that you need to know, and the entire Lebanese people should hear this. In Baalbek Hermel, we are not allowed to grow anything but cannabis. Are the Lebanese aware that in Baalbek Hermel, we are not allowed to plant beet or tobacco?
Nouh Zeitar: We are not allowed to plant beet or tobacco.
Interviewer: So you have to plant cannabis?
Nouh Zeitar: What else is there?
Interviewer: Plant something else.
Nouh Zeitar: There's nothing. It's not allowed. We are not allowed to plant beet or tobacco. Are beet and tobacco drugs? We are not allowed to plant them. It is as if they are telling us to plant cannabis.
Interviewer: Who gave you a gun permit?
Nouh Zeitar: The state.
Interviewer: The state gave a gun permit to a wanted man?!
Nouh Zeitar: Besides, who says that this gun is licensed?
Interviewer: So it is not licensed.
Nouh Zeitar: Not all guns are licensed.
Interviewer: Okay. I got it.
Interviewer: You didn't answer my question about the difference between you and ISIS.
Nouh Zeitar: One has nothing to do with the other. We are defending our honor, our land, and our country…
Interviewer: Are you a militia?
Nouh Zeitar: No, we are not a militia. We operate under the auspices of the army.
Interviewer: Under the auspices of what?!
Nouh Zeitar: We operate within the law. We are defending our lives, our children, and our land.
Nouh Zeitar: Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah asked us to do something, and we fulfilled our duty.
Nouh Zeitar: I own 400 dunams of land. I plant half with potatoes and half with cannabis.
Interviewer: What is more profitable? Potatoes or cannabis?
Nouh Zeitar: Anything is more profitable than cannabis.
Interviewer: So why do you plant it?
Nouh Zeitar: I have a field. What else can I do with it?
Nouh Zeitar: I advise people to smoke hashish, but in moderation, like the doctors say. Ask a doctor, and he will prescribe it for you.
Interviewer: Would you allow your son to use hashish?
Nouh Zeitar: No problem. He does. I recommend it to him.
Nouh Zeitar: I've been a Hizbullah supporter from the day I was born.
Interviewer: Take this flag, if you would.
Nouh Zeitar: I place it on my head as a sign of honor.
Interviewer: On your head…
Nouh Zeitar: Yes.
Interviewer: What about the Lebanese flag?
Nouh Zeitar: Obviously, I hold it in esteem as well. I am a Lebanese, first and foremost.
Interviewer: What about the Syrian flag?
Nouh Zeitar: I am Lebanese, first and foremost. Hizbullah comes second. I am first and foremost Lebanese. If the Lebanese army ever fights Hizbullah, I'll support the Lebanese army.
Interviewer: Do you have the guts to disclose which politicians use drugs?
Nouh Zeitar: Yes.
Interviewer: Who? Hashish or cocaine?
Nouh Zeitar: You're the expert. I've never seen them. I need to know which…
Interviewer: Let's start with hashish.
Nouh Zeitar: Hashish? All of them. All of them. And anyone who doesn't should start. If those who use it were to stop, the country would be done for. If you brought some hashish into parliament…
Interviewer: You want to get it into parliament?!
Nouh Zeitar: Not me specifically. If you brought hashish into parliament and rolled joints for the MPs - trust me, they would not leave the place before a president was elected. Try it. They would all come out completely relaxed. Hashish brings people together and makes them relaxed - especially our own hashish.
Interviewer: Does Hizbullah protect you?
Nouh Zeitar: My dear sir, we protect Hizbullah. We are the shield of the resistance. We are the ones who protect Hizbullah. We are the ones who are harmed most by (our connection with) Hizbullah.
Nouh Zeitar: According to our faith, the tribes are the shield of religion. We are the shield of the resistance, my friend.
Nouh Zeitar: Any hand trying to take away the weapons of the resistance will be chopped off.