Senior lawmakers in Beirut criticize Hezbollah leader’s recent threats to attack Israel, saying his remarks “do not serve stability and dialog.”
Days after Hezbollah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah threatened to rain thousands of rockets 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 pose a threat to Lebanon’s stability.
MP Dory Chamoun, the leader of Lebanon’s center-right, 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 multi-faceted population”.
Referring to upcoming National Dialog talks with Hezbollah, Chamoun told al-Jomhouriya that there is “no need for dialog 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 Dialog committee has met several times over the past months to debate the country’s defense strategy and the issue of illegal weapons in Lebanon, 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.”
Al-Jarrah said that Nasrallah had “no justification” for this step. Instead, he had made the speech because he was embarrassed about the logistical and human support Hezbollah has provided to Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, a regime 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, al-Jarrah warned.
Both Chamoun ‘s National Liberal Party and Al-Jarrah’s Future Bloc belong to Lebanon’s March 14 Alliance, a coalition united by its opposition to Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria and its 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 towards 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 special extraterritorial unit the Qods Force were in Lebanon.
Brigader General Mohammad Ali Jafari said that members of the Qods Force were in Lebanon and Syria but only in an advisory capacity.
Al-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,” Now Lebanon reported.
Iran’s leadership assisted in the formation of Hezbollah after Israel’s 1982 invasion of Iran. The IRGC’s Qods 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.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=293664