Lebanon News

MP slams Hezbollah military show of force in Bekaa Valley

File - Future bloc MP Ahmad Fatfat arrives at the Parliament in Beirut, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Future bloc MP Ahmad Fatfat Wednesday blasted Hezbollah’s military show of force in Bekaa Valley towns, accusing state security forces of ignoring such a demonstration and demanding that the Army take measures.

Monday, Hezbollah paraded in Labweh, Al-Ain and other villages bordering Syria a number of vehicles, cannons, and rocket launchers in daylight, showing off its military capabilities, security sources told The Daily Star.

Residents in the border towns have grown fearful that militants could infiltrate into Lebanon from Syria in light of a possible military operation by rebel groups to take back Qalamoun, the mountainous region bordering Lebanon.

Hezbollah sought to reassure residents that it would provide them with the needed protection, sources in the towns told The Daily Star.

The Future lawmaker criticized the parade and demanded that the state respond appropriately.

“We were surprised to hear about this military parade by Hezbollah in the Baalbek-Hermel. This area is under the supervision of the Lebanese Army, and we were surprised that there was no reaction from security forces to what we saw,” Fatfat told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Tammam Salam at his headquarters at the Grand Serail.

“Hezbollah’s aim was to send political messages for the domestic arena and not [for the international community] because the party is already in Syria and participating in the aggression against the Syrian people so there is no need to send a message to the rebels.”

Fatfat said the military parade only showcased the “security forces’ failure and how they differentiate in dealing with a person in Tripoli who they quickly accuse of terror charges for carrying a weapon to defend his home.”

“Such variation in treatment will result in a popular, political and security reaction,” he said. “We ask the Lebanese Army to take measures and explain the measures they are going to use against the military parade.”

He also noted that he relayed to the prime minister and the defense minister, who attended part of the meeting, the protest against the military parade.

Fatfat said Salam would discuss the issue with the defense minister.

Hezbollah is fighting alongside forces loyal to Syria’s embattled president against rebels trying to overthrow his rule. The party says the uprising is dominated by “takfiris,” a catch-all term for Sunni rebels, and argues that it is protecting Lebanon from the threat of jihadists entering the country through Syria.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 10, 2014, on page 3.




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