Hezbollah, Iran threats to avenge 'Israeli strike' have Lebanon on edge

A Lebanese parliamentarian with the secular-Sunni Future Movement told the Elnashra news agency that his country’s interests have been subjugated to the whims of Iran.

January 22, 2015 13:45
2 minute read.
The son of Hezbollah operative Abbas Hijazi honors his father and grandfather

The son of Hezbollah operative Abbas Hijazi, who died in an airstrike in Quneitra, carries a toy weapon as he stands between his father's (R) and grandfather's (L) coffins in Ghaziyeh village. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The tensions in the North that have been heightened following this week’s alleged Israeli airstrike that killed senior Hezbollah officials in the Golan Heights are also being felt in Lebanon, where apprehension is growing over the specter of another cross-border war.

The Lebanese television network Al-Mustaqbal reported on Thursday that Israeli reconnaissance planes were flying sorties over southern Lebanon since the morning hours.

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An Al-Arabiya correspondent reported that the Lebanese military and UNIFIL were conducting joint patrols all along the frontier with Israel. The television network also reported that the Lebanese army had erected a number of checkpoints along roadways leading to the Israeli border.

A Lebanese parliamentarian with the secular-Sunni Future Movement told the Elnashra news agency that his country’s interests have been subjugated to the whims of Iran.

“Fears of war between Hezbollah and Israel exist after [Hezbollah] showed no concern [to safeguard] the Lebanese interests as it implements an Iranian agenda,” MP Ahmad Fatfat said.

The lawmaker cited remarks made by Iranian leaders vowing revenge against Israel for killing a general with the Revolutionary Guards who was riding in the convoy with Hezbollah officials.

The commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jaafari, said that the Iranian response would be to strike Israel with “ruinous thunderbolts.” The threats of retaliation did not sit well with Fatfat.

“These comments threaten to drag Lebanon into a war [with Israel],” Fatfat said, lamenting that “both Lebanon and Syria are under Iranian tutelage.”

“Hezbollah is prioritizing Iranian interests above Lebanese interests,” the MP said. He said that Hezbollah’s enlistment to the Syrian cause was proof that Iran held overall sway.

The Future Movement is a liberal party founded by billionaire Rafic Hariri, the former prime minister who was slain in 2005. Many suspect that Hezbollah had a hand in the killing, since Hariri was an outspoken critic of Syrian and Iranian influence in Lebanon. The party is currently led by Hariri’s son, Saad Hariri.

Another Lebanese official, Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk, said that Lebanon is committed to Resolution 1701, the Security Council resolution which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

“We cannot place the country on the edge,” Machnouk was quoted as saying in Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star.

Communication Minister Boutros Harb told Lebanese media that his country “should not be drawn into the repercussions resulting from the involvement of others in foreign lands,” a reference to Hezbollah and Iran.

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