BEIRUT: A leading Hezbollah MP issued a bruising rebuttal against Future leader Saad Hariri Thursday, a day after the former premier denounced recent remarks by party chief Hasan Nasrallah as "offensive" towards Saudi Arabia.
“We understand the embarrassing situation that Sheikh Saad is facing and his frustration at this moment, especially concerning our criticism to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, their botched policies and their failed aggression on Yemen,” Mohammad Raad, head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc said in a statement released by his party's media office.
“But remaining silent on what these people are committing in terms of crimes, tenacity and extermination of civilians ... is something that no one accepts but the slave, the ignoramus or the coward.”
The remarks come a day after Hariri assailed Nasrallah for “luring” Lebanon’s official television channel into airing "offensive” remarks against Saudi Arabia in an interview with Syria's Al-Ekhbariya TV. Nasrallah had railed against Riyadh in the interview for its military intervention in Yemen launched two weeks ago.
“All Lebanon needed after all the problems Hezbollah has accumulated on Lebanon was to plunge Tele Liban into the media and political boxing ring, and lure it into the trap of participation in a show of insults against Saudi Arabia and its leadership broadcast by Syria’s official Al-Ekhbariya TV two days ago, through the infamous interview with Hezbollah’s secretary-general,” Hariri said in a statement.
He said his main concern was the use of government-run media outlets as platforms “to offend an Arab country and insult Saudi Arabia, its officials and its role ... for the sake of Iran and its regional policies.”
March 14 officials were upset at Tele Liban for carrying the interview, accusing it of violating Lebanon's policy of disassociation by contacting Al-Ekhbariya for permission. But Hezbollah defended Tele Liban, saying that it did not contact Al-Ekhbariya, but received permission from Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV.
Raad said there was a clear discrepancy between Hezbollah and the Future Movement in terms of strategy and approach, and the Yemeni case was no exception.
“Condemning the aggression and refuting the aggressors’ crimes is not offensive. What is offensive is justifying the aggression, applauding it and weaving illusions and wrong bets around it,” Raad went on.
In his Wednesday statement, Hariri said that Nasrallah’s diatribe against Riyadh served the interests of Iran in the region. The Future leader added that Iran had exported its "revolution" to Lebanon and injected fuel for sectarian conflicts, and compared Hezbollah’s experience to that of Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Raad described the act of comparing the Lebanese and Yemeni cases as “a huge mistake,” saying such approach showed “deep miscalculation and tenacity.”
“The suspicious appeal against Iran’s role is pure slander that serves the enemies of Lebanon,” the Hezbollah MP said.