BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea lashed out at Hezbollah Sunday, saying it “opened the gates of hell” in Lebanon and that the Baabda Declaration should be at the heart of the future government.
Geagea also laid out the traits an effective future president should have.
The LF leader described Lebanon as passing its “most difficult days,” due largely to Hezbollah’s activities in Lebanon and Syria.
“ Lebanon is passing its worst days because an armed party decided, on behalf of the Lebanese and contrary to their will, to seize national decisions and act as it pleases ... opening the gates of hell for the Lebanese,” he said during a ceremony to honor LF martyrs at his Maarab residence.
“This party decided that the path to Palestine was not found with state institutions, the Baabda Declaration or [U.N. Security Council Resolution] 1701 but with the dead in Qusair, Aleppo, Homs and Ghouta.”
Hezbollah has maintained that its presence in Syria is limited and a preemptive approach to safeguard the country from the growing threat of takfiri groups.
Geagea also spoke about the repercussions of Hezbollah fighting in support of its longtime ally President Bashar Assad.
“Hezbollah’s involvement in oppressing the Syrian people antagonized dozens of states and hundreds of Arabs, Muslims and Christians, as well as international public opinion,” he said.
“Lebanon’s reputation was distorted as a result, serving a blow to the basis of the Lebanese state,” he added.
“Such interference along with Hezbollah’s exclusivity in bearing arms and its disregard for the Constitution and will of the Lebanese forced the collapse of the National Pact,” Geagea said.
Describing Hezbollah as an alternative to Assad’s hegemony in Lebanon, Geagea vowed to resist this reality with “more ferocity than we did when we confronted” the Syrian regime.
Geagea said Hezbollah was responsible for a rocket attack that struck the vicinity of Baabda Palace in August. Hezbollah has denied involvement.
On two occasions, rockets landed near Baabda Palace and the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Yarzeh.
Geagea outlined the government his group would support, saying its ministerial statement should no longer include the formula “the Army, the people and the resistance.”
“We will no longer agree to a government, be it political, technocrat, unifying, neutral or partisan, if the Baabda Declaration is not the foundation of the ministerial statement,” Geagea said.
He demanded a government “of new blood,” one that would be able to revitalize the economy by attracting capital and tourism and not one distracted by regional conflicts.
While Geagea and his allies in the March 14 coalition have called for a Cabinet of nonpartisan ministers under Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, Hezbollah and the March 8 alliance have called for a national unity Cabinet.
Hezbollah has also maintained that the tripartite formula of “the Army, the people, and the resistance” is the only means to protect Lebanon from Israeli aggression.
Geagea, however, said Hezbollah eradicated the significance of that formula when it intervened in Syria.
“As for the formula of the ‘Army, people and resistance,’ it was long gone in Qusair,” Geagea said, referring to the Syrian border town where Hezbollah fighters first fought rebels alongside regime forces.
“What is needed today is the tripartite formula of ‘the people, the state and the institutions,’” he added.
The Christian leader laid out what he said should be the characteristics of a future president in order to revive the post. “We want a strong president that can re-establish the prestige of the presidency: ... a president that comes up with solutions rather than one who simply manages the crisis,” he said.
“A president who negotiates rather than bargains ... a president that can purify the public sector and reform what was corrupted by decades of tutelage,” the LF leader said.
President Sleiman’s term is set to expire in May of 2014.
Commenting on the developments of the Arab Spring, Geagea called on Christians to remain rooted in their land and become part of the revolution and not just stand on the sidelines.
He also said that dictatorships only offer revolutionaries two options: “the takfiri threat or a dictatorship of takfiris with secular cover.”