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Interview with Hezbollah's strategy man

Ali Fayyad, 46, is an Oxford-trained political strategist for Hezbollah. He was elected to the Lebanese Parliament in June 2009.

Would Hezbollah support the Arab peace initiative with Israel?

There is a very bad point in the Arab initiative. The article concerning the right of return is not clear and not strong, and opened the gate to give up the real right of the Palestinian people to return to their land. We don’t mind if the Arab regimes want to try the diplomatic ways to support the Palestinian people. We have our role as resistance. They have tried the diplomatic role for 15 years, since 1992, and gained nothing. The Israelis are eating the Palestinian land. The Israelis negotiate to buy time.

Would Hezbollah take part in negotiations with Israel?

We imagine our role as resistance. We don’t imagine our role as to find a political solution.

What becomes of Hezbollah if there is peace with Israel?

I think this is a virtual question. We fight the Israeli occupation. If there is no occupation, there is no resistance. We are in a defense position. We are in a reaction position. The Netanyahu-Lieberman government is a crazy government, and they are ready at any moment to attack in the region.

What are Hezbollah’s relations with other Islamist groups in the region?

We have no direct relations with Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan. Regarding Hamas, we are in alliance with Hamas as part of our strategy to liberate [Israeli-occupied territories]. They have a specific role in Palestine and we have a specific role in Lebanon. At the same time we support them on the logistical level. Egypt accused Hezbollah of trying to smuggle weapons to Gaza. This is not true. This cell was working on the logistical level. No weapons. And the Egyptians know this well. We have no practical relations with the other resistance. We are not involved at all with the Iraqi organizations.

What about reports that Hezbollah trained Iraqi fighters?

This is not true – Hezbollah is not involved in the Iraqi platform.

How has Hezbollah’s political platform evolved?

We need now, after the election, to improve our agenda to include details and have a complete program. It is not enough now to base our approach to Lebanese issues on general principles. We need to compose the details of our program toward administrative reform in Lebanon, how to face corruption. This will be the main challenge of the next phase.