BEIRUT: Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel warned Monday that Lebanon could slide into civil war should the government fail to confront the recent spate of kidnappings.
“I hope that what we are seeing today is not a prelude to a new war in Lebanon,” Gemayel told France 24 television channel.
“If the government fails to carry out its constitutional obligations – protecting the Lebanese, ensuring stability, putting an end to violations of the law and preventing the attendant use of arms, a new Lebanon war is inevitable,” Gemayel said.
The state-run National News Agency published his interview Monday.
Gemayel’s remarks were in reference to last week’s wave of kidnappings of Syrian nationals in Lebanon by the Shiite Meqdad clan in an effort to swap them for its relative, Hassan Meqdad, who was recently kidnapped in Damascus.
The Free Syrian Army kidnapped Meqdad, accusing him of being a Hezbollah member.
“There is no such thing as the ‘military wing of the Meqdad family’ and it could not exist because in the southern suburbs no one can move about with such an amount of arms and commit [kidnappings] without the support of Hezbollah or the Amal Movement,” Gemayel said.
“Do the Amal Movement and Hezbollah agree to this performance?” he asked.
Maher Meqdad, spokesperson of the Meqdad clan, has referred to the large family's armed elements as the clan's "military wing." Several heavily armed and masked men have appeared in video footage of the Meqdads and their hostages, as well as press conferences held by the clan.
Separately, Gemayel slammed the Taif Accord, which ended the 1975-90 Lebanese Civil War.
“The importance of the Taif agreement is that it silenced the guns and stopped the war in Lebanon, but for us it is not an agreement that can ensure stability in Lebanon,” he said.
“So long as there are weapons outside state control and so long as those weapons are used as a means of political pressure, it is not possible for us to have real democracy; this is reflected today in the internal Lebanese arena by armed and masked men holding press conferences,” Gemayel complained.
He accused the Lebanese government of negotiating with the gunmen “instead of trying to enforce the law.”
“The country has become hostage to a political group in Lebanon called Hezbollah."
He also criticized the government for not providing the Lebanese Army with political cover.
“As long as the government, which Hezbollah is part of, does not give the Lebanese Army the green light to strike with an iron fist to enforce law and order over all Lebanese territory, the military’s role will remain completely compromised.”