Nasrallah discredits Lebanese gov't

Hizbullah leader urges followers to be "psychologically" ready to take to the streets.

nasrallah good 298.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
nasrallah good 298.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah urged his followers in a speech aired Sunday to be "psychologically" ready to take to the streets in mass demonstrations to support the guerrilla group's demand for a national unity government.
  • The second Lebanon war: special report But Nasrallah, who did not set a date for the demonstrations, warned that the protests should be peaceful and avoid riots. "We must psychologically be ready to take to the streets. It is one of means for the required movement," Nasrallah said. "We do not want riots ... We respect private and public properties. We will not allow any clash, even if they [anti-Syrian groups] staged a counter street demonstration," he said in the speech, which he made Saturday but was aired Sunday on Hizbullah's TV station, Al-Manar. Nasrallah also said in the speech that the Lebanese government lacked credibility, but denied his group was trying to block the formation of an international tribunal. "The authority team today is in a state of weakness and feel a huge defeat as the result of the last Israeli war in Lebanon," he said. Nasrallah's speech comes amid mounting political and sectarian tensions in Lebanon in the wake of Hizbullah's 34-day war with Israel last summer. The organization has demanded that Lebanon form a national unity government that would give it veto power over major decisions. But negotiations among groups broke down recently, and six Cabinet ministers, including two from Hizbullah, resigned. Another source of tension is a draft agreement between the UN and the Lebanese government to establish an international tribunal to prosecute the suspected killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the draft on Monday. The Lebanese government last week approved the draft agreement. But it was met with opposition from the country's pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, who said the government lacks legitimacy after the ministers resigned. Hariri was killed with 22 others in a suicide truck bombing in February 2005. The assassination sparked huge protests against Syria, which was widely seen as culpable.