BEIRUT: The Future Movement parliamentary bloc launched a scathing attack Tuesday against Hezbollah’s position on offshore oil and gas resources and Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government, which they described as a tool for the implementation of Hezbollah’s agenda.
“It was shown that the decision is in the hands of Hezbollah and no one else. The party is the mentor of the government, deciding on its behalf and acting in its name,” the Future Movement statement said in reference to Hezbollah’s threat to target Israel’s oil installations if Lebanese resources are targeted.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah warned Israel last month against encroaching on Lebanon’s maritime territory and stealing its resources, adding that Hezbollah would target Israel’s oil installations if Lebanon’s future facilities are attacked.
“His [Nasrallah’s] threats concerning oil and gas reserves in Lebanese waters are a confiscation of the role of the Lebanese state and its institutions,” the Future Movement lawmakers, headed by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, said.
“The state and its institutions should be exclusively in charge of preserving Lebanon’s sovereignty. This responsibility is neither that of a party nor of an individual but rather the responsibility of all Lebanese.”
The Future Movement warned that Hezbollah’s threats could harm, rather than benefit, Lebanon’s interests by scaring away investors in the oil and gas sector.
“These stances could benefit the Israeli enemy rather than Lebanon because Israel would follow up on inviting investments and tenders, while Lebanon would see an increase in risk ratings,” the statement added.
The statement also said that the government’s failure to investigate and provide an official explanation behind the explosion Friday in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, raised concerns among the Lebanese as Hezbollah tightens its grip over the state.
Taking up Hezbollah’s defense earlier in the day, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun blasted demands to restrict the possession of weapons to the Lebanese Army, one day after Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai described weapons outside the state’s authority as a source of concern among Lebanese.
Aoun said those calling to limit the responsibility of defending Lebanon to the Lebanese Army should provide the army with the means to assume such a role.
“We currently have a defense strategy based on the tripartite cooperation between the Lebanese Army, people and resistance and this equation will only end when the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved,” Aoun added.
In a veiled criticism of Hezbollah’s ally, the Future Movement called on President Bashar Assad’s regime to withdraw security and military forces from towns and cities and carry out real and prompt constitutional reforms.
“In line with the Future Movement’s position in support of the Arab Spring movement, the bloc considers that the right path, which Syria should adopt, is to fulfill the people’s demands in practice rather than issue media statements,” it said.
Defending the Syrian regime, Aoun said Syrian security forces were cracking down on assailants and perpetrators rather than peaceful protests.
“Security forces have the right to fire when attacked. This is not a crackdown on peaceful protests but rather a crackdown on riots,” Aoun said.
Syria’s four-month-long popular uprising has claimed the lives of more than 1,600, human rights activists say.
There are 2,000 registered Syrian refugees who have fled into Lebanon since the start of the uprising, according to the UNHCR, but it is believed the number of refugees on the ground is significantly higher.
On another note, the Future Movement parliamentary bloc condemned Israel’s violation of Lebanese territories and hailed the Lebanese Army’s role Monday in confronting the Israeli army patrol that crossed the Blue Line into Lebanon at Wazzani.