Nasrallah’s coded messages

As usual, the speeches of the secretary general of Hezbollah are prepared to create the event. They are also often an opportunity to send coded messages. These messages are addressed to specific parties, and what matters for Nasrallah and his companions is that they arrive at their destination. For example, to announce yesterday’s speech devoted to the Lebanese situation in general, and to the “file of the oil and gas resources of Lebanon in its territorial waters” (Hezbollah refuses to talk about the drawing of the borders because that would mean that it implicitly recognizes the State of Israel), it has been said that it will be delivered from 8:35 p.m. Unaccustomed to such precise timing, some Lebanese have launched into various interpretations, such as the fact that Nasrallah wants to wait for the end of the al-Manar channel’s television news or that he wants to give other channels time to finish their own newsletters. The reality, however, is quite different. Hezbollah consciously chose to announce that its secretary general was scheduled to deliver a speech at 8:35 p.m., in a reference to the one given during the July 2006 war, when at precisely 8:35 p.m. Nasrallah told those listening: Look to the sea and you will see an Israeli ship burning… For all those who lived it, this scene is unforgettable. At the height of the 2006 war, on July 14 precisely, Hezbollah had succeeded in reconciling rhetoric with reality. As Nasrallah asked those listening to him to look out to sea, they saw the Israeli warship Saer hit by a missile launched by Hezbollah. It was a first, both in the carefully considered timing and in Hezbollah’s use of surface-to-sea missiles. This particular moment was something of a turning point in the July 2006 war, as Hezbollah managed to surprise the Israelis both with the precision of the synchronization between words and facts and with its use of new weapons. It was indeed the first time that the Israeli military fleet which until then sailed freely in the waters of the Mediterranean basin was hit by a missile, which killed 4 soldiers at the time. Even if a large part of the Lebanese did not experience this moment, or have forgotten it, the Israeli authorities remember it, and the message is therefore mainly intended for them. On the eve of the arrival in Beirut of the American envoy Amos Hochstein to resume indirect negotiations with the Israelis on the course of the maritime border, Hezbollah therefore wanted to send this warning, in its own particular way, to confirm its intention to retaliate in case the Israelis are tempted to advance towards the controversial area and to remind them that he is in a position to create new military surprises.

Media propaganda or reality? Those who follow this file believe that despite the exchange of threats, the trend is not towards an explosion, which would not be in the interest of either party. Sources close to Hezbollah specify in this regard that the Americans have sent several signals towards the Shiite party in recent times, in an attempt to establish a dialogue, at least on the subject of gas and oil resources in the controversial areas between the Lebanese and the Israelis. The latest attempt was made through Security Director General Abbas Ibrahim when he was in Washington. The subject was raised on the sidelines of discussions on the release of American hostages in Syria. Indeed, when Ibrahim went to Washington, there was already talk of the imminent arrival of the Energean Power vessel off the Israeli coast. The Americans wanted to test the waters, and Ibrahim explained the Lebanese position which considers any activity in the controversial area as an aggression against Lebanon. This Lebanese attitude transmitted by the Director of General Security was the result of consultations with official officials and with all the parties concerned. Moreover, once is not custom, it seems that Lebanon will display a unified position on this issue which could be summed up as follows: let’s go towards the exploitation of oil and gas resources in non-controversial areas while waiting to find arrangements for others. Even if the Israelis are several steps ahead in this area, it is time for the Lebanese to begin prospecting work in the blocks that are not the subject of controversy. Lebanon wants to take advantage of what it sees as an opportunity to reopen this file, without having to make substantive concessions. Hezbollah continues its policy of threats to define what it considers to be red lines.

As usual, the speeches of the secretary general of Hezbollah are prepared to create the event. They are also often an opportunity to send coded messages. These messages are addressed to specific parties, and what matters for Nasrallah and his companions is that they arrive at their destination. For example, to announce yesterday’s speech devoted to…

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Nasrallah’s coded messages


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