From an interview with the general secretary of the Lebanese Communist Party, Dr Khaled Haddadeh
[Translated from Arabic]

There has been a lot of talk about the “new Middle East” proposed by the American government. What is your comment?

The form of the “new Middle East” that the United States wants has begun to take shape, particularly since the Iraq war and the blockade of Ghaza. It is a Middle East based on the abrogation of the Sykes-Picot agreement—not in order to replace it with greater co-operation, cohesion and unity, of course, but with fragmentation. They want to transform this region by creating feuding sectarian entities, the strongest of which would be the Zionist entity, which is fundamentally based on two concepts: the invincible army, and racist Jewish tribalism. On that basis they would be able to directly dominate all the mini-states in the region and plunder all their resources.

I believe this plan has received blows in Iraq and is now being hit mainly in Lebanon and Palestine. We believe that a “new Middle East” will be born from the sufferings of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples; but this will be a Middle East that opposes and resists the plan that the United States wants to impose with steel, fire, occupation, and invasion. We do not believe that this Arab world will remain silent or that this subservient Arab state system will remain standing for long, because of its complicity and its neglect of the Arab cause and the Palestinian cause. We believe that the Arab people will rise to confront the Zionist and American enemy and to protect their resources and to embark on development, democracy and change in their political systems.

On that basis we believe that new forms will be born in the Arab world on the basis of the victory of the resistance and the steadfastness of the Lebanese people — forms in whose creation the people will play a basic role. Meanwhile we are striving so that the forces of democracy and progress in Arab society will take their place in the van within the framework of constructing this coming Arab world.
What is your position on the latest statement of the Lebanese Prime Minister?

Actually before the press conference held by the Prime Minister, Fu‘ad Siniora, and Speaker of the Parliament, Nabih Berri, we appealed to them to take two quick steps after learning of the barbarous massacre in Qana. The first step was not to receive Condoleezza Rice, who is the decision-maker and who, it appears, is about to come up with a new resolution, giving another two-week period of grace to the Israeli military machine to commit more massacres and cause more destruction.
And we also asked them to expel the American ambassador, Jeffrey Feltman. This ambassador has played an ugly role since he first arrived in Lebanon, trying to work in tandem with the Israeli aggression by creating a divisive atjosphere in Lebanon that would facilitate the spread of internal strife in tandem with the aggression. But the steadfastness of the resistance has frustrated this first plan. The plan of aggression has, until now at least, been frustrated, and we hope that it will be frustrated in the future by the completion of the victory attained by the heroes of the resistance and the steadfastness of the south. In addition, we believe that by embracing the people of the south, the Lebanese people have been able to frustrate the second plan so far.

So we believe that the latest position of the government can be constructively built on; but we fear that there could also be a retreat from that position. Therefore the Lebanese government must develop its position further towards greater firmness against American policy, setting its diplomatic power and the true friends of Lebanon in motion throughout the world on the grounds that the aggression is not against Hezbullah, not against the resistance, but is an Israeli-American aggression against the Lebanese people and the Lebanese army.

And we wish to take the opportunity to salute the army on Army Day, and to salute its martyrs and the patriotic stance it has taken. We believe that the Lebanese government must rise higher in this direction, rise to ensure the factors for the continued steadfastness of the Lebanese people, to be more active in its policy of steadfastness and not in policies of containment, providing charity and relief, in the traditional sense of those terms. Since the Zionist enemy has not been able to make any breakthrough all this time, it will be increasing its aggressiveness. This is what the enemy prime minister indicated yesterday when he said that he still needed ten days or two weeks, that is, that he needed to destroy for ten days or two weeks more.

What is the significance of the enemy declaration of a halt in its air attacks for forty-eight hours?

I believe that the suspension of operations for forty-eight hours is a very dirty plan by which Israel thinks it can achieve two goals. The first is to evade its moral, legal and international responsibility — though it is already evading them as regards civilians and international public opinion — by saying that we have given a period of grace of forty-eight hours, during which the United Nations can empty the civilians out of the area. Secondly, the enemy wants to use that period to prepare anew, to bring back the feeling of cohesiveness in the ranks of its military forces, whose morale has been shaken by the courageous steadfastness of our resistance heroes every time the enemy tried to make a ground advance.

In other words, they want to try again but this time over scorched earth, where they can count not on their power, their army and their will but on the smart crimes of the American militarist war machine, which has been placed at their disposal for the coming period.
Therefore we believe — since the resistance forces are steadfastly resisting, as is their duty—that the Lebanese government must rise to the level of this kind of sacrifice, to make the greatest effort with the international community in order to exert pressure and to expose this criminal Israeli plan, under which they wish to force the country to submit to further trials for another week.
Yesterday the leftist patriotic forces issued a statement calling for confrontation with the enemy. What is your position now?

We are a basic part of these leftist forces that issued that call and the statement, and therefore we believe that, just as all the citizens of the south launched the patriotic resistance, they can also launch the resistance for all of Lebanon to confront the occupier in the south and in any region that the aggression touches.

We began to prepare ourselves to take part in case the enemy makes any advance and occupies Lebanese villages, so that we would be among the first to stand in his face. As you know, in keeping with this policy we had our own heroic martyrs who fell, particularly in the town of Sarifa, where they were doing their steadfast duty in the face of any enemy military advance. If today we feel a certain pang because we cannot do more, because of the changes that have taken place in the nature of the resistance in the last ten years, we are nevertheless determined to confront the enemy with whatever ways and means we have and at every level of the struggle.