The Lebanese political and media arena has been thrown into uproar by the latest speech issued by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, during which he said that God had blessed him with Iranian funding! Many people in Lebanon have raised their voices saying that this represents the first time that Hassan Nasrallah has acknowledged that he is a subordinate of Iran, and that he receives orders and finance from Tehran; however, in reality, there is nothing new about this!
There is a simple reason for saying that there is nothing new about this, namely what Nasrallah said about his movement’s relationship with Iran is something evidenced by Hezbollah’s actions over the past years. This is something that could not fool a wise man or a reader of history, or indeed anybody who has monitored events in our region since 2000. Without going into ideology, and even if one were unable to analyze all these events and all the indications of Hezbollah – and its leaderships – affiliation to Iran from Nasrallah and his group’s behavior and actions, it would be enough to simply watch the video recording – leaked on YouTube and later broadcast by a number of Arab satellite channels – of Nasrallah himself announcing that he is implementing the Iranian agenda – the Khomeinist agenda – in Lebanon, in order to confirm this.
Therefore, Nasrallah’s latest statement, in which he said that “yes, we received moral and political and material support in all possible forms, from the Islamic Republican of Iran since 1982”, was not – as many believe – intended to deny the accusation that Hezbollah is involved in drugs trafficking and money laundering to fund its operations. Indeed, this is not a new accusation, and Nasrallah responded to this previously when he said “God has blessed us with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which means we do not need money from anywhere else.” Therefore, Hassan Nasrallah really wanted to say something else, particularly to the Lebanese audience, and this is the crux of the matter.
In his last speech, Hassan Nasrallah wanted to reassure his followers and supporters, saying: the fate of Hezbollah is tied to Iran, not the al-Assad regime. He wanted to reassure his followers that Hezbollah’s support, and the key to its survival, is Iran, not al-Assad, for it is Iran that provides Hezbollah with “moral and political and material support in all possible forms”, not the al-Assad regime. This means that Hassan Nasrallah was telling his supports: don’t worry if the al-Assad regime collapses, for our survival is not tied to the Damascus regime, but rather the Wali al-Faqih regime in Iran. This is the message that Nasrallah wanted to send to his followers, and all the information available indicates that Nasrallah’s latest speech was not well received by the al-Assad regime. Of course, it is within the capabilities of some in Lebanon to confirm this, particularly the agents of the al-Assad regime; at this point they will know that the al-Assad regime has read Nasrallah’s speech in this manner, and not in any other.
Of course, this is the correct reading of the Hezbollah chief’s speech, for Nasrallah was now acknowledging his affiliation to Iran, for this is something that has existed for a long time, rather he was addressing his followers in Lebanon and telling them that there is nothing to fear if the al-Assad regime collapses, because the party that supports them “in all possible forms” is Iran, not al-Assad.