In a speech on Friday, 15th August, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah described the Islamic State as “an existential threat to Lebanon and the region”.
Nasrallah called for unified regional action to counter ISIS.
“We are able to combat the ISIS threat. It won’t be fought with inaction, but through unity and sacrifice,” he said. “We will not let them invade our countries, destroy our churches and our mosques. We will fight to stay in our countries.”
He cautioned the region against falling into sectarian discourse, saying this would only weaken their fight against ISIS.“
Sectarian incitement from anyone is as dangerous as a car bomb,” he said. “It should be dealt with seriously.”
“Don’t pack your suitcases and leave,” Nasrallah beseeched Lebanese citizens. “Stay and fight for your honor and existence. Lebanon can change the fate of the region.”
The Islamic State seems to him something monstrous, without precedent, as per this recent interview:
This monster called ISIS does not differentiate between friend and foe or ally and enemy and and it has no restrictions. Fighting these people is not a question of weapons and confrontation on the ground. The playing field should be established on thought, beliefs, culture, emotions, and feelings. It is not easy to reach the level of hatred, rancor, and emotional preparedness to spill the amount of blood they have. Is there anything similar in history? ISIS, according to the United Nations, buried Yazidi children and women alive. They turned slaughter into an art. How did they get to this point? This mentality was manufactured for years to reach such a level.
Nor in his view are those who nurtured and promoted the beliefs that have now found their most virulent expression in IS immune.
Some countries know what they created and nurtured. Thus, their diagnosis of the threat of ISIS is more important and precise than ours for example, since they know what they have. Without exaggeration, there is actual terror in the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia today. This is the thought they have been teaching people for decades in the schools and curricula.
To this outsider, the Islamic State feels like an autoimmune disease within the body of Islam, its perceptions so fatally awry that it may grievously damage its host. One can only hope, together with Nasrallah, that Islam’s wider immune system rallies and regains control.
(h/t lally at SST)