'Hizbullah is pushing Lebanon towards a Khomeini-style of rule'

Former head of the SLA, Gen. Lahad, claims that foreign intervention is dangerous, yet necessary in toppling Hizbullah's grip on Lebanon.

antoine lahad 88 (photo credit: )
antoine lahad 88
(photo credit: )
South Lebanese Army Gen. Antoine Lahad, 81, currently living in Europe, to where he fled more than eight years ago after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, gave an interview to Israel Radio in which he was asked about recent developments in the outbreak of fighting by Hizbullah. "The situation in Lebanon is extremely dangerous, especially given that Hizbullah is pushing the country towards a Khomeini-style of rule," he said, alluding to the Shi'ite terror group Hizbullah's Iranian backing and influence. When asked what he thought about what the role of foreign powers - in particular the US and UN - ought to be, he responded saying that "the actions of the Arab League would certainly not suffice to bring about any meaningful change in the situation" and that "foreign powers certainly must be involved." Lahad further expressed his view that only a ground operation would be able to bring about the necessary change of the situation, though he acknowledged that such an operation, if undertaken by Israel, might prove "inadvisable" due to the "enormous risks" involved in any future IDF ground incursions into the country. When Lahad was asked about the prospects for peace between rival Sunni and Shi'ite groups, he responded sharply by pointing out that that peace between the various Lebanese factions had existed in the past and was possible, though certainly not likely as long as "Hizbullah remains armed" and "enjoys the widespread support" of the Lebanese Shi'ite communities. Lahad, who had been retired as a high ranking officer in the Lebanese Army was appointed commander of the SLA at the request of former president Camille Chamoun during the Lebanese Civil War. The SLA was a Lebanese militia during the Civil War and after 1979 it operated under the authority of Sa'ad Haddad's Government of Free Lebanon. The Maronite Christian-led group was supported by Israel during the south Lebanon conflict from 1982-2000.