BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Thursday Hezbollah remained adamant to hold onto its weapons and would do everything in its power to maintain its arsenal.
“Hezbollah is ready to offer a ministerial bribe to the Prime Minister at the expense of Hezbollah’s share, in exchange for forming a government that does not approach the issue of the weapons,” said Hariri, who spoke on the occasion of the eight anniversary of the assassination of his father.
“It is also willing to go along with its ally Michel Aoun concerning the Orthodox [Gathering] electoral law to ensure keeping the Parliament under the control of weapons,” he added, referring to an electoral proposal that projects Lebanon as one electoral district where individual sects elect their lawmakers under a system of proportional representation.
Hariri warned that Hezbollah’s armed presence was not limited to its traditional strongholds.
“And all Lebanese know that the so-called Resistance Brigades are partisan, religious, tribal, family and intelligence bodies supplied by Hezbollah with money and weapons, and that operate in all Lebanese regions,” he said.
“Hezbollah brigade are practically present in Tripoli, Akkar, Minieh, Dinniyeh, Zogharta, Batroun, Koura, Keserwan, Jbeil, Metn, Baabda, Aley, Shouf, and Sidon, in addition to Beirut, the southern Suburbs, and the entire south and the Bekaa,” he said.
The Future Movement leader said Hezbollah’s insistence on retaining its arms was driving others to turn to weapons.
“There are small amounts of weapons in the hands of groups, citizens, organizations and outlawed Lebanese and Palestinian factions, in towns and neighborhoods, that practically resorted to this choice under the pretext of self-defense, in the shadow of the major armed incubator of Hezbollah and Hezbollah brigade,” he said.
“This is greatest danger that threatens common life among the Lebanese,” he said, adding: “Hezbollah totally refuses to admit this fact and clings to the following formula: all policies in the service of the weapons.”