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Geagea: Lebanon would be ISIS’ graveyard

LF leader Samir Geagea speaks during a press conference in Maarab, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanon will be the end of ISIS fighters if they decide to come, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has said, adding that he would not withdraw from the presidential race without a solution to the impasse.

“Who said ISIS will come to Lebanon or that they are capable of reaching Lebanon? If they come, [Lebanon] would be their graveyard to say the least,” Geagea told Ash-Sharq al-Awsat.

“I have never underestimated ISIS’ criminality. On the contrary, I see them as a group of criminals because I could never imagine a human being could slaughter a hostage in cold blood in front of a camera.”

“But based on their behavior and ideology, I don’t see them having the elements to build anything serious because their presence is the result of chaos in Syria and Iraq.”

Geagea also said that Lebanon should close its borders to prevent the infiltration of ISIS fighters via the porous Syrian-Lebanese boundary, blaming Hezbollah for the government’s failure to sealing off the frontier.

“So why not close the border? They say that the number of troops is not enough. That is correct but there are 50 countries that want to help the Army control the Lebanese-Syrian border,” said Geagea, who has supported the March 14 coalition’s call for the deployment of a peacekeeping force along the border with Syria.

“Why don’t we take advantage of such offers since they would use technologically developed means that would only require five soldiers to monitor every 10 kilometers?” he asked.

“Because the boys in Hezbollah do not want to control the Syrian-Lebanese border because they are doing their usual by running, climbing and swimming over it,” he added sarcastically.

Geagea, one of the March 14 coalition’s main figures, sounded pessimistic when talking about the presidential stalemate, saying he would be committing political suicide if he withdrew form the race without a solution.

“I do not see an end to the presidential stalemate as long as [former] General Michel Aoun insists on becoming the president,” he said.

Geagea said the presidential vacuum suited Hezbollah especially after the party’s “experience” with former President Michel Sleiman, who repeatedly criticized the group over its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

“The other group is not willing to discuss a solution. Therefore, the only thing left is to hold the election and whoever garners most of the votes wins but if I withdraw from the race without a solution, that would be suicide.”

Geagea urged Christians in Iraq not to fear ISIS and to “hold on to their land and unite,” saying that Christians can only live and survive under a democratic system

“Christians are the roots of culture there ... they did not arrive to that land yesterday. I realize it's difficult and we have to help them but they should hold on to their land.”

 

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Summary

Geagea also said that Lebanon should close its borders to prevent the infiltration of ISIS fighters via the porous Syrian-Lebanese boundary, blaming Hezbollah for the government's failure to sealing off the frontier.

Geagea, one of the March 14 coalition's main figures, sounded pessimistic when talking about the presidential stalemate, saying he would be committing political suicide if he withdrew form the race without a solution.

Geagea said the presidential vacuum suited Hezbollah especially after the party's "experience" with former President Michel Sleiman, who repeatedly criticized the group over its involvement in the Syrian conflict.


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