An agreement between Hezbollah and the March 14 coalition over the Cabinet policy statement has to overcome several obstacles, which might outnumber the fortifications the party has erected around its headquarters in the Beirut southern suburbs.
Hezbollah members, positioned near the party’s offices and headquarters there monitor every suspicious movement, given the persistent threat of car bombs and suicide bomb attacks.
Fortifications and barricades are placed extensively near Hezbollah’s offices and associations affiliated with the party, indicating that the resistance group is engaged in an ill-fated war in Syria.
The party won’t retreat, regardless of the number of funerals Hezbollah is holding for its slain fighters almost on a daily basis. Hezbollah is also confident its supporters will continue to maintain a high morale.
Thus, Hezbollah officials believe that a Cabinet policy statement legitimizing resistance should go without saying and is not up for negotiation.
Time constraints will not push Hezbollah to change its stance on the policy statement. Should the ministerial committee tasked with drafting the government’s policy statement fail to achieve its task by March 17, Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s Cabinet will become a caretaker government.
The period to elect a new president begins on March 25, two months before President Michel Sleiman term is due to expire. Starting on May 15, Parliament’s sole mission would be to elect a new president.
In case Lebanon fails to elect a new president, the country will plunge into further paralysis, with a caretaker government, vacuum in the presidency and a legislature that can only meet to elect a new president.
Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Musawi refused to comment on the matter, saying his bloc hoped that consensus would be reached for the national interest.
But a Hezbollah source who requested to remain anonymous told The Daily Star that the party insisted on including a clause to legitimize the resistance, but not necessarily the “Army, people and resistance” clause.
“Abandoning the resistance and dropping the demand for its inclusion in the policy statement is not an option,” the source said. “Whoever promised foreign powers to cross out the mentioning of the resistance should reconsider his stance. We will not abandon the blood of our martyrs.”
The source denied that Hezbollah was obstructing an agreement over the Cabinet’s policy statement. “We have been flexible since the government was formed. When the other side [March 14 alliance] chose provocative figures to be ministers in the new Cabinet, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said that his party accepted partnership with this group regardless of its individuals.”
Commenting on the fact that the government could be demoted to caretaker status within a week, the source said: “It is not our problem and we are not pressured by time, it is the problem of the March 14 coalition and whether it really wants Tammam Salam to succeed in his mission and allow his government to win Parliament’s confidence.”
The source said that Hezbollah would not discuss extending or renewing Sleiman’s term, adding that the party supported the Constitution by electing a new president on time.