Long Interview with the head of Hezbollah.--

At Daily Kos is a translation of a very long Al Jazeera interview with the head of Hezbollah, Hasan Nasrallah.

Diarist "PersianCat" comments:

My observation is that this guy clearly underestimated Israel's response and he is now having to justify himself to the Lebanese people. The other major point is that he claims to have mentioned (on several occasions) to Lebanese government officials including the PM his intention to capture IDF soldiers in exchange for Lebanese soldiers.

Excerpts from the Interview:

Bin-Jiddu] You told them [Lebanese government officials] that you would kidnap Israeli soldiers?

[Nasrallah] I used to tell them that the prisoners' issue, which we must solve, can only be solved through the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.


[Nasrallah] Clearly. Nobody told me: no, you are not allowed to kidnap Israeli soldiers. I was not waiting for such a thing. Even if they told me no you are not allowed [nothing would change]. I am not being defensive. I said that we would kidnap Israeli soldiers in meetings with some of the key political leaders in the country. I do not want to mention names. When the time comes for accountability I will mention names. They asked whether this would resolve the prisoners issue if this happens. My answer was that it was logical for such an act to solve the prisoners' issue. I assure you that our assessment was not wrong. I am not being stubborn. In the entire world, tell me about any state, any army, or any war that was waged because some people kidnapped two soldiers, or even took hostages, not military soldiers. Tell me about a war that was waged against a state because of two soldiers. This has never happened in history. Nor has Israel done it anytime before. However, what is happening today is not a reaction to the kidnapping of two soldiers. I repeat that this is an international decision and an Arab cover. It is a decision that has to do with...[changes thought]. I stress to you that had we not captured two soldiers in July, which could have happened in August, September, or some other time, the Israelis would come to this battle and would create for it any pretext and any excuse. The issue of disarming and finishing the resistance could not be achieved domestically, regionally, nor at the negotiating table. The Americans were well aware that this issue cannot be addressed domestically. Therefore, the Lebanese were told to step back and to let Israel terminate and disarm Hezbollah. But a cover was needed. So they provided an international and an Arab cover. This is what the issue is about. Finally, I will tell you how any resistance in the world operates. If I want to kidnap or capture two Israeli soldiers, the political leadership would make the decision and hand it to me, but even my brothers [in the leadership] should not know that this would happen at such a time and such a place. If 60 to 70 people know such details, would a capt uring operation be successful? No, no such operation would be successful, let alone when informing a government of 24 ministers, three key leaders, political forces, and political blocs. On the table of dialogue, we hold discussions, and only one hour later the minutes of the sessions become available to [foreign] embassies. So do you expect me to tell the world I am going to capture [soldiers]?

There is also an interesting story in the comments:

I really feel sorry for the average Lebanese citizen. I saw an interview with Anthony Bourdain, the hard-scrabble NYC chef who was filming in Beirut. He talked about how he was standing in front of a hotel with three Lebanese friends when they saw a car with Hezbollah militants in it, shooting off their weapons in celebration of the kidnapped Israel soldiers right after it happened. He described the looks on his friend's faces as tragic, as in "oh no, here we go again," and how they knew it was extremely bad news for Lebanon.