BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea over the weekend accused the March 8 alliance of being behind the deteriorating security situation in the country in a bid to ease pressure on its ally President Bashar Assad.
“What we witnessed in Tripoli was but one episode in the resistance and rejectionist [axis] series.
The kidnappings that took place, and which are continuing to take place ... are also part of this series,” Geagea said, referring to recent clashes between supporters and opponents of Assad in the northern Lebanese city which left at least 17 dead as well as last month’s spree of retaliatory abductions of Syrian and Turkish nationals.
“All [of this serves] one goal – to create as many spots of tension as possible as well as attempting to decrease pressure on the Syrian regime,” Geagea added in a speech Saturday for the annual commemoration of the “Martyrs of the Lebanese resistance” in Maarab, north Lebanon.
Hezbollah, Syria and Iran avow belonging to what they describe as the “rejectionist axis.”
Geagea said what had been presented on the surface as a resistance and rejectionist axis against Israel was turning daily into one against “human rights, freedoms, the opening and advancement of society and everything to do with security, stability and the formation of a true state in Lebanon.”
“The slogan of the other side should be ‘The Syrian regime first,’” he added.
Geagea, a staunch critic of Assad, accused Damascus of committing crimes against its people in the same manner it had done in Lebanon.
“Four decades of lies, slander, deception to the point where we almost believed we were the infidels, agents, executioners and they were the patriots, the pious, the students of peace and security until they were exposed. Their true selves were exposed in Syria in terms of their killing of innocent men, the elderly, women and children and their destruction of cities and villages as they did in Lebanon,” he said.
“They were caught red-handed in Lebanon, sending explosives and bombs of death with demonic and deadly designs,” he added.
Former Information Minister Michel Samaha was charged in early August by Lebanon’s chief military prosecutor with planning attacks in Lebanon and transporting explosives into the country.
“There are various manners of killing and terrorism but the source is one – it is the regime of prisons and graves, the axis of pure evil. Its head in Damascus and its lackeys in Lebanon,” Geagea said.
Geagea said the March 8 coalition’s backing of the Syrian regime could no longer hold.
“Where does the eternal theory of the Syrian regime’s followers in Lebanon stand now? The theory that they forced upon us that says the Syrian regime is a necessity for Lebanon to preserve its civil peace and unity? Where does this theory stand after all that has been revealed? The mask has fallen and our martyrs have won,” he said.
He reiterated the March 14 coalition’s demand to scrap all bilateral agreements between Lebanon and Syria and dismantle the Lebanese Syrian Higher Council as first steps to “cleanse the remains of the Assad aggression on Lebanese-Syrian relations.”
He also voiced confidence in the future of Christians in the Middle East, fending off suggestions that dictatorships in the region have protected minorities from extremists.
Geagea said Christians should be “revolutionaries” and the pioneers of democracy and human rights, as well as callers for justice, equality and openness toward progress and development.
The LF leader also took aim at the government, listing a series of security incidents that have shaken confidence in the country as well as the state’s poor economic standing.
Geagea described Hezbollah as detrimental to the government’s work.
“There are enormous strategic dangers that stem from the presence of a statelet within the state. The state has no authority over it because the owners of this statelet are paralyzing it,” he said.
Turning to the upcoming elections, Geagea appealed to the Lebanese to vote for change in the 2013 parliamentary polls.
“The future is ours and it is in our hands. If we want a future that resembles the present, so be it. If we want a future similar to our great dream of Lebanon and of a free, dignified people, that is how it will be,” Geagea said.
“Only a couple of months separate us from the parliamentary elections ... We should all bear our responsibility in the ballot boxes,” he added.
Responding to Geagea, Free Patriotic Movement MP Ibrahim Kanaan said Geagea’s weekend speech was delivered for electoral purposes and failed to “draw a road map for the future of Christians and Lebanon.”
Kanaan also accused Geagea of dragging Lebanon’s Christians into a “larger conflict likely to crush those who are left of them.”
The MP added that Geagea and his allies have launched scathing attacks against the FPM because of the key role the party plays in Lebanese politics and “because if there wasn’t somebody called Michel Aoun some people wouldn’t have had a say in political issues.”