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Lebanon more than ever part of the Syria-Iran axis: Jumblatt

In this picture taken on May 28, 2014,Jumblatt, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press as he sits in his garden house in Beirut. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Wednesday said Iran took control of the region and argued that this has placed Lebanon at the heart of the so-called “Syrian-Iranian axis.”

Speaking to state-run Tele Liban, Jumblatt said Iran’s role in the region significantly expanded after the Syrian city of Homs fell into the hands of Syrian regime troops backed by Hezbollah.

“After the fall of Homs, Iran took control of the region,” he said. “We have to accept this geostrategic reality and we should enhance the performance of the [Lebanese] state in agreement with Hezbollah.”

“Today more than ever, we are part of the Syrian-Iranian axis,” he added.

The Chouf MP said that in light of the regional conditions Hezbollah was the strongest party in Lebanon currently.

Jumblatt said that although Hezbollah backed Free Patriotic Movment leader Michel Aoun -who according to the MP is a strong Christian figure- he believes that the new president should be able to reach out to all groups.

“It’s irrelevant if the new president is strong within his sect,” he added. “What’s important is for any new president to hold dialogue with various groups and set the basis for a strong state.”

Jumblatt dismissed reports of discord with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri saying he was ready to meet the Future Movement leader.

He argued that he did not support Lebanese Army commander General Jean Kahwagi becoming the new president as this was likely to perpetuate the pattern of military figures acceding to the top post.

Two out of the three post Civil War era presidents - Emile Lahoud and Michel Sleiman- were Army commanders. Jumblatt added that he preferred that a new president is elected before a new parliamentary elections law is mulled.

Jumblatt said him and his long-term ally Speaker Nabih Berri did not “have all the facts” regarding the upcoming period in Lebanon.

“He cannot neglect the wishes of Hezbollah and Aoun,” Jumblatt said. “Speaker Berri searches for compromises.”

 

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Summary

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Wednesday said Iran took control of the region and argued that this has placed Lebanon at the heart of the so-called "Syrian-Iranian axis".

Jumblatt said that although Hezbollah backed Free Patriotic Movment leader Michel Aoun -who according to the MP is a strong Christian figure- he believes that the new president should be able to reach out to all groups.

Jumblatt dismissed reports of discord with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri saying he was ready to meet the Future Movement leader.

He argued that he did not support Lebanese Army commander General Jean Kahwagi becoming the new president as this was likely to perpetuate the pattern of military figures acceding to the top post.


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