Lebanon News

Hezbollah says alliance with Free Patriotic Movement firm

Sheik Nabil Qaouk, Hezbollah's commander in south Lebanon attends a funeral in Hanaway, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010. (AP)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah's chief official in south Lebanon Sheikh Nabil Qaouk said Sunday that the alliance of Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement was strong and that the opposition should not bet on returning to power.

“They [March 14 coalition] are betting on a disagreement between allies inside the government that would give them the chance to topple it and return to power,” Qaouk said during a ceremony in Nabatieh, south Lebanon.

“This is an illusion because the alliance between Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement is stronger than the details of some domestic policy,” he added.

He also said that the rival group would reap “one disappointment after another.”

Hezbollah and Amal have differed with the FPM over Parliament’s recent approval of a bill that would employ many contract workers full-time with Electricite Du Liban.

FPM Minister Gebran Bassil has argued that Parliament failed to consider the Cabinet’s own draft law during the legislative session Monday and described the session, during which an alternative proposal was passed into law, as setting a dangerous precedent.

Ministers of the Free Patriotic Movement boycotted the Cabinet’s sessions earlier this week in protest.

The move by the ministers sparked suspicion of a possible rift between Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and the FPM, particularly after Bassil said during a television interview Tuesday that the resistance party, his ally, is responsible for what happened.

The passing of the bill by Parliament also prompted non-FPM Christian parliamentarians to boycott Tuesday’s Parliament session. Like the FPM, they believe the bill would lead to the underrepresentation of Christians in the public sector.

During his speech Sunday, Qaouk also said that the March 14 coalition's "constant attack" against the Army and Hezbollah is a two-faced project undertaken at the behest of the U.S.

"The U.S., which gives priority to safe zones for gunmen fighting and violating Syria, was infuriated that the [Lebanese] Army discovered stocks of weapons [bound for rebels in Syria] ... so they must target the Army to prevent it from controlling the border,” he said.





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