Hezbollah's participation in Syria finds increased opposition inside Lebanon

Published February 28th, 2014 - 09:20 GMT

BERIUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea slammed Thursday Hezbollah's response to an Israeli air strike on one of the party's positions, characterizing it as an Iranian message to Israel.

“The response of Hezbollah to the Israeli airstrike is actually the response of Iran; Hezbollah waited 48 hours to issue a statement in response to the strike because they were expecting something to come out from the Geneva II," Geagea said, referring to the recent failed peace negotiations between the Syrian regime and opposition.

“The conflict intensified between the Western axis and the second axis and that is why the Israeli airstrike took place,” he said.

“Ultimately, the response of Hezbollah is obviously a clear Iranian message for Israel warning it not to interfere in the Syrian crisis.”

An Israeli airstrike on Monday targeted a Hezbollah position near the Syrian-Lebanese border. The party confirmed two days later that Israeli warplanes bombarded a Hezbollah target near the Janta region and vowed to retaliate at the right time and place.

“Once again, and because of Hezbollah’s involvement in the regional turmoil, the party is implicating Lebanon in a conflict that the country has nothing to do with. The solution would be in the party's withdrawal from Syria and the army taking control of the border,” Geagea said.

Geagea also discussed the new Cabinet’s policy statement, expressing pessimism.

“What we have heard so far about the policy statement is not promising,” he said. “A policy statement that insists on respecting all parties' stances is useless because our problem is with one of these parties and its decisions.”

He also called for the implementation of the Baabda Declaration, an agreement to distance Lebanon from regional turmoil, particularly the Syria crisis, but said Hezbollah “does not have the intention to commit to the declaration.”

“If the Baabda Declaration is not implemented, the security situation will remain the same and this means the social situation will continue to deteriorate," said Geagea.

The LF leader also called for exerting more effort to discover the fate of Joseph Sader, a 57-old IT manager at Middle East Airlines and father of three who was abducted on Feb. 12, 2009, while walking to work at Rafik Hariri International Airport.

“It is very, very, very shameful that four years have passed since the kidnapping of Joseph Sader and the former Cabinet did not open a probe into this matter,” he said.

“Information revealed by security officials in the meetings of the parliamentary committee on human rights was ignored,” Geagea said.

“I second Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi's call to refer the meeting's reports to the prosecution to follow-up on this case.”


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