BEIRUT: The threat of ISIS to Lebanon cannot be underestimated, a Hezbollah official warned Sunday, stressing that occupying the country was part of the group’s expansionist plan.
“The terrorist threat on Lebanon is actual, real and continuous,” said Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, the deputy head of Hezbollah’s executive council. “And whoever doubts or underestimates [this threat] is either ignorant or negligent, and he harms the high national interest of Lebanon.”
Speaking at a ceremony at the southern village Shaqra to honor a Hezbollah martyr killed last Sunday, Kaouk accused “whoever denies Hezbollah’s role in protecting” Lebanon of being “oblivious to the truth.”
“ISIS’s decision has been announced. Their pretended slogan is to create the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria, which includes Lebanon,” he said.
According to Kaouk, the fundamentalist group that has claimed authority over large parts of Syria and Iraq also has Lebanon in its sights, but might have been more focused on Syria and Iraq for strategic purposes.
“It is just a matter of priorities,” he said.
He said that while the tripartite o the “Army, people and resistance” was the right equation to protect Lebanon, the Army should be politically empowered to act, “before being given the tools and equipment.”
Stressing that Lebanon needed a unified defense strategy, Kaouk argued that “hesitation, procrastination, underestimation and aggressive and instigating speech give a free service to the takfiri plan.”
Hezbollah’s MP Nawwaf Al-Moussawi echoed Kaouk, stressing that Lebanon needed “agreements that should lead to creating one united Lebanese front against the takfiri threat that wishes to impose darkness on Lebanon and the region.”
“If there is an increasing global interest in forming an international-regional alliance to confront takfiri groups,” he said, “those eager to [safeguard] Lebanon should be even more progressive by forming this front, through which Lebanon’s diversity could be protected.”
Moussawi stressed that Lebanon was not able to accept takfiri ideologies, because the country was built on diversity, “which requires the necessity to acknowledge the other.”
He, too, highlighted the need for a strong political cover to the Army.
“The support that the Army is supposed to receive is not there yet,” he said. “There are still some unannounced restraints that hinder the Army’s fulfillment of its national duty of defending Lebanon against takfiri groups.”