Lebanese MPs: Nasrallah risking Lebanon's stability

Senior lawmakers criticize Hezbollah chief's recent threats to strike Israel, say remarks "do not serve stability and dialog."

November 27, 2012 18:30
3 minute read.
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah speaks to supporters

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah speaks to supporters 390 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Days after Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah threatened to rain thousands of rockets down on Israel “from the Lebanese border to Jordan to the Red Sea, from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat,” Lebanese lawmakers warned on Tuesday that the terror group chief’s remarks posed a threat to Lebanon’s stability.

MP Dory Chamoun, the leader of the country’s centerright, mainly Christian National Liberal Party, told Lebanese daily Al-Joumhouria that by threatening to attack Israel in a speech in Beirut on Sunday, Nasrallah had “gone beyond all the norms and conventions that recognize the existence of an independent country called Lebanon, with a standing army and a multifaceted population.”

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Referring to upcoming National Dialogue talks with Hezbollah, Chamoun told Al-Joumhouria that there was “no need for dialogue with Hezbollah as long as it does not recognize the need to give up its weapons to the state, and as long as it considers itself indifferent to the presence of [state] authorities and institutions who alone should decide the fate of the country.”

Lebanon’s National Dialogue committee has met several times over the past months to debate the country’s defense strategy and the issue of illegal weapons there, particularly those that Hezbollah has stockpiled.

Hezbollah says its weapons, many of which it obtains from its backer Iran, are an integral part of its defense against Israel, but the opposition argues that the Lebanese state should be the sole decision- maker on defense issues and should hold a monopoly on arms.

In his speech, Nasrallah behaved as if “he wanted to install a single leader over the Lebanese people against their will,” Chamoun said.

Also on Tuesday, Lebanese Future Bloc MP Jamal al-Jarrah told Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah that Nasrallah’s speech was a return to “previous intimidatory tactics” and represented a “thinly veiled attempt to lure regional players back into Lebanon.”

Jarrah said Nasrallah had “no justification” for this step.

Instead, he said, the Hezbollah leader had made the speech because he was embarrassed about the logistical and human support his group had provided to Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, which was on the verge of collapse and which would cause Hezbollah to “pay a high price for its intervention.”

Nasrallah’s speech also threatened Lebanon’s stability, Jarrah warned.

Both Chamoun’s National Liberal Party and Jarrah’s Future Bloc belong to Lebanon’s March 14 Alliance, a coalition united by its opposition to Assad’s regime and that regime’s influence in Lebanon.

Hezbollah, in contrast, takes the position of its patron Iran and supports Assad.

The Future Bloc has said Hezbollah qualifies as a terrorist group and “is moving toward the practice of the Wilayat al-Faqih [Guardianship of the Jurist] system” in Lebanon, a reference to the Islamic system of government in Iran.

In September, Future Bloc MPs lashed out over remarks by the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who said that members of the extraterritorial Quds Force unit were in Lebanon.

Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Ali Jafari said that members of the Quds Force were in Lebanon and Syria, but only in an advisory capacity.

Jarrah said that Jafari’s remarks “confirmed what is already known. We are aware that those who lead Hezbollah’s military wing and oversee it are the IRGC,” the Now Lebanon website reported.

Iran’s leadership assisted in the formation of Hezbollah after Israel’s 1982 invasion of the Islamic Republic. The Quds Force has trained and equipped Iran’s proxy groups, including Hezbollah and Hamas, through which it operates asymmetric warfare, according to the US Institute of Peace.

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