Nasrallah Says Hizbullah Not behind Rioters, Calls Dollar Crisis a U.S. Plot

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Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday distanced his party from the rioters who ransacked central Beirut in the weekend and denied seeking a government change, as he described the dollar shortage crisis as a U.S. “conspiracy.”

“When protests erupted over the rise in the dollar exchange rate and acts of violence occurred in Beirut and Tripoli, some held the Shiite duo responsible and said the Shiite duo wanted to topple the government. In the past they said this is Hizbullah’s government, so is Hizbullah stupid to topple its government? This is a sign of confusion and absurdity,” said Nasrallah in a televised speech.

“There is an interest in the continued presence of the government and it should exert as much efforts as possible, seeing as the situation cannot withstand any changes,” he added.

Condemning “attacks on public and private property and security forces, the blocking of roads and insults against symbols and sanctities,” Nasrallah confirmed that members of Hizbullah and AMAL Movement had deployed on the ground in some areas to prevent motorcycles moving in groups from heading to central Beirut.

“We will do anything, even autonomous security, to prevent a return to frontlines, strife and chaos in the country,” he pledged.

As for the dollar crisis, Nasrallah said there is “confirmed official information that the Americans are preventing the transfer of sufficient amounts of dollars to Lebanon and are preventing the central bank from pumping enough dollars into the markets.”

“The problem is bigger than the problem of illegal money changers. This is a simplification of the problem and smoke bombs aimed at concealing the monsters who collected dollars and sent them abroad or those who are preventing the entry of dollars,” Nasrallah added.

“The dollar issue is a conspiracy against Lebanon and the Lebanese people and economy before being a conspiracy against Syria,” he said.

Nasrallah also accused a Lebanese bank of collecting tens of millions of dollars and sending them out of Lebanon as of August 2019.

“This bank is protected by political parties,” he said.

He also recalled that Lebanese officials “said in officials meetings that 20 billion dollars were sent abroad between September 2019 and February 2020.”

“They were not sent to Syria or Iran and it was not Hizbullah or AMAL who transferred them abroad,” Nasrallah pointed out.

Moreover, Hizbullah’s leader said new U.S. sanctions against the Syrian government aim to “starve” the country and its neighbor Lebanon.

“The Caesar Act aims to starve Lebanon just as it aims to starve Syria,” Nasrallah said.

“Syria has won the war… militarily, in security terms and politically,” he added, describing the law which comes into force Wednesday as Washington’s “last weapon” against Damascus.

Addressing the United States, Nasrallah said: “Punish us but why are you punishing the Lebanese people?”

Hizbullah is already on U.S. sanctions lists.

“Our weapons will remain in our hands. We will not go hungry and we will kill you,” he said, angrily, but didn’t elaborate. “We will not go hungry and we will not let our country go hungry.”

Nasrallah also said his group would propose to the Lebanese government to turn to Iran to secure its basic needs, without needing U.S. dollars. He said China is also ready to invest in Lebanon. He added that Hizbullah has other cards to play but didn’t elaborate.

The U.S. law targets companies that deal with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which Hizbillah, Tehran and Moscow support in Syria’s conflict.

It imposes financial restrictions on the Damascus government to compel it to halt “attacks on the Syrian people,” and it is expected for the first time to target Russian and Iranian entities active in Syria.

The Syrian government and loyalist businessmen are already targeted by U.S. and European economic sanctions.

After nine years of war, Syria is mired in an economic crisis compounded by a coronavirus lockdown and a dollar liquidity crisis in Lebanon, a major conduit for regime-held regions.

A large chunk of Syria’s population is living in poverty, prices have soared and the value of the Syrian pound has hit record lows against the dollar on the black market.

Nasrallah also accused the United States of engineering the collapse of the Syrian currency, but vowed that Assad’s allies would stand by the regime.

“The allies of Syria, which stood by its side during the war… will not abandon Syria in the face of economic warfare and will not allow its fall, even if they are themselves going through difficult circumstances,” he said.

Lebanon too is experiencing the worst financial meltdown since the end of its own 1975-1990 civil war, as well as being rocked by months of anti-government protests.

Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government “not to submit” to the Caesar Act.

The United States on Tuesday warned Assad that he would never secure a full victory and must reach a political compromise.

Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, urged him to accept a Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire, elections and political transition along with U.N.-led talks.

“The Assad regime has a clear choice to make: pursue the political path established in Resolution 2254, or leave the United States with no other choice but to continue withholding reconstruction funding and impose sanctions against the regime and its financial backers,” Craft said.

Timeline
  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: The problem is bigger than the problem of illegal money changers. This is a simplification of the problem and smoke bombs aimed at concealing the monsters who collected dollars and sent them abroad or those who are preventing the entry of dollars.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: The dollar issue is a conspiracy against Lebanon and the Lebanese people and economy before being a conspiracy against Syria.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: Officials said in officials meetings that 20 billion dollars were sent abroad between September 2019 and February 2020. They were not sent to Syria or Iran and it was not Hizbullah or AMAL who transferred them abroad.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: One of the banks collected tens of millions of dollars and sent them out of Lebanon as of August 2019 and this bank is protected by political parties.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: There is confirmed official information that the Americans are preventing the transfer of sufficient amounts of dollars to Lebanon and are preventing BDL from pumping enough dollars into markets.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: I call on security and judicial agencies to summon rioters to interrogation and declare their identities… The attempt to blame Shiites as a sect or Dahiyeh for the incidents that happened is an unacceptable, unjust and deplorable accusation.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah condemned attacks on public and private property and security forces, the blocking of roads and insults against symbols and sanctities.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: We will do anything, even autonomous security, to prevent a return to frontlines, strife and chaos in the country.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah to those calling for removal of Hizbullah arms: Through slogans you will not manage to convince those who faced daily attacks in the South and West Bekaa. To the supporters of the resistance this is a creed and a culture.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: A futile movement occurred on June 6, despite the money, incitement and major bets by the U.S. embassy.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: The real problem is the economic and social situation, the rise in the dollar exchange rate and the import and export problems. Introducing the 1559 demand into this type of demands has negative repercussions, because it leads to divisions, as actually happened on the ground.

  • 9 hours ago

    Nasrallah: Some parties and groups called for a June 6 demo under the slogans of removing the resistance’s arms and implementing Resolution 1559. Holding the October 17 movement and its revolutionaries responsible for these calls is something wrong and inappropriate. It aggrieves the revolution, because a lot of those who took to the streets on October 17 do not believe in these stances and do not have a hostile stance towards the resistance.

  • 10 hours ago

    Nasrallah: There is an interest in the continued presence of the government and it should exert as much efforts as possible, seeing as the situation cannot withstand any changes.

  • 10 hours ago

    Nasrallah: When protests erupted over the rise in the dollar exchange rate and acts of violence occurred in Beirut and Tripoli, some held the Shiite duo responsible and said the Shiite duo wanted to topple the government. In the past they said this is Hizbullah’s government, so is Hizbullah stupid to topple its government? This is a sign of confusion and absurdity.

  • 10 hours ago

    Nasrallah said allegations that Hizbullah wanted to topple Diab’s government are “baseless rumors,” warning that “the situation can’t withstand any changes.”

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