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Nasrallah speech – analysis

May 25th, 2009 · No Comments · Lebanon

The most interesting thing Nasrallah’s Liberation Day speech threw up was his tone towards Walid Jumblatt.

Jumblatt has been a key figure of March 14 since the umbrella group was formed in 2005. He has been the most outspoken leader – directly calling for Hizbollah to be disarmed. But recently, his language has changed, and he has become much more conciliatory.

And tonight, Nasrallah returned the favour.

He talked of his vital role in last year’s Doha peace talks. He talked of living in peace with his druze neighbours. And significantly, he warned his Shia followers against considering Jumblatt as an enemy. Nasrallah ordered his followers not to boo or curse when he mentioned the names of any political opponents – was he trying to save Jumblatt’s blushes?

It seemed to be laying the ground for Jumblatt to leave March 14, and enter the March 8 alliance after the elections. Jumblatt has been looking for a way out for a while. And that move would easily make March 8 the new majority, and keep Jumblatt in power.

Nasrallah made explosive allegations against Sa’ad Al-Hariri’s Future Movement. He accused March 14 of setting up militias in Beirut ahead of last year’s street battles. He says they were formed under the cover of “security companies” and that some of the militias received training in other Arab countries. He says they wanted a war.

Nasrallah accused the March 14 media of refusing to respond to those allegations.

The Hizbollah leader also detailed his relationship with Michel Aoun, saying it went back long before they became allies in recent years. And he accused Israel of having a direct role in the Der Spiegel allegations (that Hizbollah killed Rafiq Al-Hariri).

But it was a unity speech – he urged all Lebanese to go out and vote on June 7: “go to ballot boxes to save Lebanon from the ideology of revenge”, he said, to wild cheers.

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