The political advisor of Hezbollah Secretary General Hajj Hussein Khalil revealed on Thursday behind-the-scenes details of July War’s political process in 2006.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Manar’s Panorama of Victory, Khalil stressed that the political process was aimed at preserving the achievements made by Resistance fighters on battlefield, noting that it was a harsh process that saw complicity of several Lebanese political figures with pressures exerted on Hezbollah during the war.
“Every honorable man in Lebanon is indebted to sacrifices of martyred civilians and fighters.” Khalil told Panorama of Victory’s Manar Sabbagh.
Talking about the behind-the-scenes details, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s advisor revealed that then-Prime Minister Fuad Siniora had asked for a meeting with him at the beginning of the Israeli aggression in July 2006.
“At the meeting Siniora told me that Israeli occupation forces will enter Lebanon and invade the capital, Beirut. I told him: “Wait, we are not in 1982. Lebanon now has the most powerful Resistance in the Middle East. The Israeli forces can’t invade Lebanon as simple as that.”
Khalil, meanwhile, said that Siniora had offered that Hezbollah must hand over the two Israeli soldiers captured by the Resistance Fighters during the Truthful Promise operation in July 12, 2006.
“I told Siniora that Sayyed Nasrallah has said that the two captured soldiers will be handed over only through indirect talks with the Zionist entity. At time, he even tried to convince me that we hand over at least one of the two soldiers, but I told him that Hezbollah completely rejects this offer, and that this issue is not for discussion.”
“When Siniora heard my answer he told me that the Lebanese government will tell all the concerned parties that it has nothing to do with the capture of the two Israeli soldiers, warning the Resistance that the government is not responsible for the repercussions of such scenario.”
Sayyed Nasrallah’s advisor also revealed another “dishonorable” stance by then-Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, when the latter suggested that refugee camps should be established for Lebanese who were displaced from southern towns due to the Israeli aggression.
“This issue was a card played by the US through the Lebanese government in a bid to press the Resistance,” Khalil said.
Talking more about the behind-the-scenes events of July War, Khalil described the meeting between Siniora and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as “shaming”.
“Rice was coming just to serve the interests of the Israeli enemy. She refused to be received by the Lebanese foreign minister, insisting that then-PM should receive her. She even refused to get out of the car unless Siniora personally opened the door for her.”
Khalil then talked about details of the meeting between Rice and Speaker Nabih Berri.
“Rice, at time, didn’t mention the two Israeli soldiers. She stressed that Hezbollah should be pushed north of Litani River and that multinational forces (not UNIFIL) should be deployed south of the river.”
“Speaker Berri stressed in that meeting that direct cessation of hostilities should take effect first, and that the two Israeli soldiers can return as part of indirect swap deal with the Zionist entity. However, Rice told Speaker Berri that these issues were ‘out of question’.”
Sayyed Nasrallah’s Message to Speaker Berri
Khalil stressed, meanwhile, that Sayyed Nasrallah was relying on Speaker Berri to lead the political process during the 33-day-war.
“Sayyed Nasrallah won the bet when he relied on Speaker Berri. On the fifth day of the war, I conveyed a message from Sayyed Nasrallah, in which the Resistance Leader asked Speaker Berri to handle the political process.”
In the message, Sayyed Nasrallah told Speaker Berri that the situation in the battlefield was excellent and that morale of the Resistance fighters was high, Khalil said, noting that the Hezbollah S.G., in his letter, asked Speaker Berri not to bet on the stance of the government but rather to inform then-President Emile Lahhoud on the developments of the political process the speaker was leading.
Also in his letter, Sayyed Nasrallah hoped that the Resistance and Lebanon would emerge dignified after the war, stressing that Rice’s conditions were humiliating and that the Resistance would not accept.
Meeting with Sayyed Nasrallah and Saudi Envoy
On the other hand, Khalil disclosed that the contact between him and Sayyed Nasrallah were by telephone (the internal telephone network).
“I managed to meet Sayyed Nasrallah personally at the end of the war. It was an emotional meeting. Sayyed Nasrallah was calm and assured during the war. His appearances were source of our hearts ease,” Khalil told Sabbagh.
The political advisor of Sayyed Nasrallah also talked about his meeting with former Saudi ambassador Abdulaziz Khoja.
“The envoy asked to meet me. We met at the house of mutual friend, MP Abbas Hashem, who was not present at the gathering. Up till now, I don’t know the aim behind that meeting, but it was clear the difference between the stance announced by the ambassador during the meeting and the stance announced by Riyadh towards the Resistance. The envoy voiced sympathy with what he called ‘battle of courage’, while the official Saudi stance was talking about the Resistance’s ‘adventures’.”