On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the end of Israel’s occupation of Lebanon, the second-in-command of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem, has hailed the liberation of southern Lebanon from the Israeli occupation in 2000 as a “turning point” in the history of the Middle East, saying the victory shattered the Israeli military’s myth of invincibility.
Lebanon celebrates Resistance and Liberation Day on the 25th of May each year. In May 2000, the Israeli regime was forced by Hezbollah to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, ending nearly two decades of occupation of the country’s south. Hezbollah was established following the 1982 Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon. Since then, the movement has grown into a powerful military force, as proven by Hezbollah’s successful resistance to Israel’s failed invasion attempt during the 33-day war in July 2006.
The years of assisting the Syrian people during the ferocious armed conflict that has ravaged the country in recent years have given the resistance movement’s fighters extensive combat experience as well as an opportunity to upgrade their already formidable arsenal of defensive and offensive weapons.
In comments reported by Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Manar television network, Qassem said the liberation of southern Lebanon opened the way for the subsequent victories of Lebanon, Palestine and the people of the entire region against the Zionist regime and US plots and intrigue, which many in the region suspect includes the creation of the Daesh terror group.
The historic triumphs of 2000 and 2006 also helped strengthen the faith of the young generations in resistance and fighting for the liberation of Palestine from the Israeli occupiers.
“We are currently in the midst of a war and there is still a need for resistance,” said the Hezbollah official, emphasizing the necessity for the resistance front to stay fully prepared for any future scenario, adding that events in the region over the past years have proved that the purported solutions offered for regional conflicts by Israel and its legion of pro-Israeli Western powers cannot be trusted.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also described Israel’s expulsion from southern Lebanon as a major “turning point,” for the region, adding that the defeat deepened the Israeli regime’s existential crisis.
The comments of Hezbollah’s second in command are supported by other developments, both in the troubled Middle East as well as further afield.
As reported by South Front over the last week, ‘the Resistance’ is spreading from its cradle in Lebanon and the Middle East to find formidable allies in other regions as Israel’s and the US’ reckless and extremely dangerous threats and military and paramilitary attacks against other countries are drawing increasingly determined and coordinated responses from the victims. The statements of Venezuela’s foreign minister as Iran’s fuel shipments to that country approached are one example of this, as he declared:
“Venezuela and Iran continue to be points of reference for revolutionary processes in Latin America and the world. We are sure that with the cooperation and solidarity of the Iranian people we will advance together to guarantee the full freedom and happiness of our sister nations.”
Venezuela has borne the brunt of the US Southern Command’s provocations in Latin America as the US leadership persists with its efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government and install a compliant regime. The plans are described in detail in SouthCom’s strategic document ‘Master Stroke – Plan to overthrow the Venezuelan dictatorship’, leaked by the press 2 years ago (first reported by Stella Calloni at Voltaire Network).
Apart from the economic and financial blockade and an assassination attempt by two drones against the Venezuelan president in 2018 as he attended a military parade, Venezuela has suffered frequent sabotage attacks against key infrastructure such as the national electricity grid and oil refineries, incursions, well-organized contraband activities and armed attacks by Colombian paramilitary groups (one of which even escorted self-declared ‘president’ Guiado across the border last year where he was met in Colombia by members of the Colombian president’s security detail and flown to Cucuta by helicopter for the staged ‘humanitarian’ intervention), and earlier this month the failed maritime mercenary incursion (which followed the US offering a reward of $15 million for Maduro’s capture, presumably a motivating factor behind the failed maritime attack).
The provocative US actions and their readiness to flagrantly violate international laws and norms make a reduction in tensions in both regions extremely unlikely, as is apparent from the Iranian leader’s statement last week that it is inevitable that the US will be forced to retreat from Syria and Iraq if they do not leave voluntarily.
Meanwhile, the latter remarks received further confirmation yesterday in Iraq as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, once again denounced the US military presence in the country, adding:
“There is a national and courageous will, which rejects the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil. There have been talks of US intentions to withdraw from Iraq, but we doubt them,” Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of the PMU, was quoted as saying by Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Ahad TV network on Monday.
He added, “The US [military] presence in Iraq is meant to protect the security and interests of the Israeli regime. Neither are we warlords nor thirsty for blood, but rather patriots concerned about the dignity and sovereignty of the Iraqi nation.”
The spokesman for the PMU also praised the sacrifices made by Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of PMU, who were assassinated along with their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport early on 3 January 2020.
Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill two days later, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country. On the 9th of January, former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to send a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move. The 78-year-old politician said Iraq rejected any violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military’s violation of Iraqi airspace in the assassination airstrike.
In a related development, a member of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defence Committee has stressed the need for drawing up a roadmap aimed at the pullout of US military forces.
“American forces view Iraq and its military bases from a strategic perspective, which best serves their interests in the entire Middle East region,” Karim Allawi said in an interview with Arabic-language Baghdad Today news website on Monday.
He also declared that “the exit of US troops [from Iraq] is impossible without pressure from multiple sides…There must be a roadmap in order to get them out, the first stage of which is to lodge a complaint to the United Nations, reiterate the fact that Iraq is in a situation that does not need the presence of any foreign forces, and that the threat of Daesh is restricted to certain areas, which security forces can confront and defeat.”
Other complementary measures could include filing a complaint with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Meetings should be held as well with [officials from] Arab and regional countries to expedite the pullout of US forces, and people should be prepared to support the diplomatic measures through massive peaceful demonstrations.
“If American forces do not take heed of peaceful means with regards to their withdrawal from Iraq, we will resort to resistance. This is a legal and legitimate right, which no one opposes. The Iraqi nation will not accept the presence of any foreign troops against its will,” Allawi also stated.