In a recent speech, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the George W. Bush administration tried to cut a deal with the group, stating the idea was hatched by former Vice President Dick Cheney.
BEIRUT, LEBANON – Speaking on Sunday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah, told residents in the town of Nabatieh that the United States had previously attempted to bribe Hezbollah in an effort to stop its armed resistance in defense of Lebanese sovereignty. Hezbollah, formed in response to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s, now forms a major part of the Lebanese government and its armed faction comprises a significant portion of the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Despite that, Israel and its allies – particularly the United States – portray Hezbollah as a terrorist group for organizing armed resistance against Israeli expansionism into and occupation of Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah has in fact spent the last several years fighting terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front and ISIS in neighboring Syria.
Trying to buy Hezbollah’s capitulation
Nasrallah noted that it was the George W. Bush administration that had tried to cut a deal with Hezbollah, stating that the idea was hatched by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney then assigned U.S.-Lebanese dual citizen George Nader to convince Hezbollah’s leadership to end their resistance in response to Israeli occupation. Nader is a long-time adviser to the government of the United Arab Emirates and a convicted pedophile. He recently resurfaced after Donald Trump’s election with the then-president elect’s transition team and is a person of interest in the “Russian collusion” probe led by Robert Mueller.
The deal was made after Hezbollah emerged victorious upon Israel’s retreat from Southern Lebanon in 2000. Prior to that retreat, Israel had been occupying much of Southern Lebanon as a “security zone” that eventually encompassed nearly 10 percent of Lebanon’s total territory. Years of guerrilla resistance culminated in 1999 and 2000 when mounting attacks from Hezbollah pushed Israel to exit the zone and drop support for its proxy, the South Lebanon Army. Israel then fully retreated under Hezbollah fire, which led to an end of the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Israel’s return to the UN-designated border.
The border remains contentious between Lebanon and Israel, particularly as Israel continues to build a border wall between the two countries that violate the UN-designated boundaries.
We were offered money and to be part of the authority in Lebanon on the condition that we cede resistance. My fault at that time was that I didn’t accept to take his paper, so that it would be a proof now.”
He also noted that the U.S. had repeated the offer in 2005, once Syrian troops then stationed in Lebanon, as a result of internal and international pressure, withdrew after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A year later, Israel attacked Lebanon after receiving the “go ahead” from the U.S. government, but failed to retake the areas of Lebanon it had previously occupied.
According to Nasrallah, some European countries had also attempted to bribe Hezbollah in an effort to end its resistance to Israeli occupation.
Israel-Hezbollah war looming in wake of anticipated U.S. strikes on Syria
Nasrallah’s speech detailing Western efforts to squash Hezbollah through bribery reveals the success of the group in resisting Israel. That success, though, comes at a price, as Israel – with aid from its allies – is set to begin another war against Lebanon in order to eliminate Hezbollah. That war, which Israel has admitted will openly target civilians, seeks to specifically target Nasrallah for assassination. Israeli military officials have stated that killing Nasrallah would be a “decisive victory” for Israel.
Israel’s next war targeting Lebanon could start at any moment. An unnamed Israeli minister has stated that “Iran will attack Israel via Hezbollah” in response to U.S. airstrikes on Syria — suggesting that a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah could come soon after U.S. military action against Syria, which is expected to take place sometime in the next 72 hours.
Top Photo | Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks on a screen via a video link during a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the death of Hezbollah leaders in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP/Bilal Hussein)
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, the Anti-Media, and 21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.