Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Many viewers were confused after watching the televised speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah, which aired on the evening of 9 July 2006, where the traditional Hezbollah flag that appeared behind him next to the Lebanese flag seemed altered.
The black part at the bottom of the flag caught viewers’ attention as it had inscribed on it the Koranic verse: “Prepare for them whatever forces you can muster” (Koran: Ch 8, Verse 60).
Some assumed the alteration was connected to the fact that Hezbollah is in a state of war, and linked between it and the change that occurred in the Iraqi flag in the wake of the Gulf War in 1991, when the words “God is great” were added to the flag between its three stars. Many people considered it an attempt by the (then) president Saddam Hussein to win the sympathy of the Muslim World.
However, that case does not apply to the Hezbollah flag according to Lebanese MP Hasan Fadlallah, or Hezbollah’s media advisor Hussein Rahhal.
In a statement, Rahhal said Hezbollah’s flag has not changed, and the verse “Prepare for them whatever forces you can muster” has in fact been on the flag for a long time. He said the flag that appeared in the recording (of Nasrallah’s 9 August speech) is the official flag of Hezbollah’s, and that the yellow flags that are carried by demonstrators or Hezbollah supporters and which do not contain that verse are incomplete and unofficial flags.
A source connected with Hezbollah stated to that “the deliberate showing of that verse on Hezbollah’s flag could mean preparation for or paving the way for the declaration of holy jihad against the Israelis. That (holy jihad) is usually declared by the al-waliy al-faqih (the ruling jurisconsult; the jurisconsult charged with authority) who in Hezbollah’s view is at present (the Supreme Guide of the Iranian revolution) Imam (Ali) Khamenei who sometime ago had expressed his dissatisfaction at the silence of the Muslim World on what is taking place in Lebanon.”
On his part, Rahhal denied the possibility of this analysis being correct in part and parcel.