Lebanon: Future bloc denounces Hezbollah’s offensive in Qalamoun

Published May 12th, 2015 - 06:30 GMT

The Future bloc Tuesday denounced Hezbollah over its ongoing offensive against rebel groups in Syria's western Qalamoun region, insisting the Lebanese army alone was responsible for protecting the country's borders.

“Protecting Lebanon’s eastern and northern borders with Syria in the confrontation with militants... is the duty of the Lebanese army and not the duty of any other group,” the bloc said in a statement released after its weekly meeting.

Hezbollah’s engagement in the Qalamoun is a departure from national consensus and marks another attempt by the party to undermine the state’s jurisdiction over matters of war and peace, the bloc said.

It reiterated its call on Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria and stop aiding the Syrian government in carrying out “daily massacres” against the Syrian people.

The increasing number of Lebanese casualties in Syria as a result of Hezbollah’s intervention has caused “painful suffering” for segments of the Lebanese population, it added.

Hezbollah and the Syrian army have been engaged in daily battles with a coalition of Nusra Front-led jihadi groups over the past week in the Qalamoun mountain range, which straddles Lebanon’s eastern border. They have made important gains in the fighting, driving militants from about a dozen outposts and several towns, including Assal al-Ward and Al-Juba.

Shifting to domestic politics, the Future bloc said the election of a president would be the “only correct start” to reviving state institutions, renewing political life, forming a new Cabinet, achieving a new election law and holding parliamentary elections.

The bloc also called on the state to adopt a 2015 draft budget that included the public wage hike bill. Lebanon has not had a public budget bill since 2005, and instead the Cabinet has annually approved spending without approval from Parliament.

The draft budget should also cover development projects planned for the north Lebanon districts of Akkar and Minyeh- Dinnieh, the statement said. The development projects, valued at $500 million, are “necessary projects” which should be rightfully granted to these areas, it added.

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