BEIRUT – Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah said Friday that his party and those who refuse its non-state weapons “can continue disagreeing on the issue for a few more years, as there are more pressing matters now,” in a speech during the sixth annual commemoration of Hezbollah martyr Moustapha Badderdine.
Here’s what we know:
• Nasrallah’s speech segued from a review of Israel’s presence in the region and the failure of Arab opposition movements to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the Lebanese state’s “humiliating” May 17 agreement between Lebanon and Israel in 1983. The Hezbollah leader drew on the historical anecdote to contest the viability of the state as an alternative to his party’s arms, adding that the May 17 agreement was supported by a “political group that calls for sovereignty today.”
• While Nasrallah did not address allegations made by Israeli officials on Friday regarding weapons’ smuggling from Syria to Lebanon on civilian flights, he made allegations of his own, saying “after Israeli spy networks were dismantled, Israel is in a rush to recruit spies and is doing so unprofessionally.”
• Although Hezbollah and its allies have widely been considered to have lost their majority in the newly elected parliament, with Nasrallah’s own concession of that fact during Wednesday’s address, he described the parliament Friday as having “no majority,” explaining that “a majority might agree on issues such as fighting corruption, but no single political group has a majority.”
• Addressing the new members of parliament, whom Nasrallah alleged the US Foreign Embassy representative for the region called “narcissistic and individualistic,” the Hezbollah chief described queues at bakeries and gas stations urging them to cooperate on these issues as their priorities. As for Hezbollah’s weapons, he said the party’s opponents should “live with it for a few more years, since we’ve been disagreeing since 2005.” Nasrallah also stressed re-establishing relations with Syria and the potential solutions it would offer to the refugee crisis and called for “serious action” regarding offshore gas and oil drilling.