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Siniora urges Shiite leaders to pressure Hezbollah

  • Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora arrives at the Parliament in Beirut, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora blasted Thursday Hezbollah’s growing involvement in the war in neighboring Syria, saying the party’s actions could plunge Lebanon into a dangerous abyss. Siniora, head of the parliamentary Future bloc, also spoke by telephone with Speaker Nabih Berri and other Shiite politicians and religious leaders urging them to intervene to put an end to Hezbollah’s “dangerous involvement” in the conflict in Syria.

During the phone conversations with Berri, former Speaker Hussein Husseini, Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan, deputy head of the Higher Shiite Council, and a number of Shiite politicians and religious leaders who oppose Hezbollah, Siniora discussed its “dangerous move through its participation in the fighting alongside the Syrian regime in confronting its people.”

“What Hezbollah is doing is extremely dangerous and undermines all national principles and contradicts the Constitution, norms, laws, the Baabda Declaration, U.N. resolutions and the policy of disassociation upheld by Lebanon,” Siniora said in a statement.

“Participation in the fighting in Syria could lead Lebanon into a very dangerous quagmire and push Lebanon and the Lebanese into a confrontation with a large section of the Syrian people who oppose the current regime. This is not in Lebanon’s interest,” he added.

“What Hezbollah is doing leads to the killing of Lebanese youth and Syrian citizens and inflicts human casualties and human suffering and causes massive destruction,” Siniora said: “This would expose Lebanon to strong winds which it cannot confront and consequently, put internal unity and civil peace in great danger.”

Syrian government troops, backed by fighters from Hezbollah, fought rebels in the strategic Syrian town of Qusair near the Lebanese border for the fifth straight day Thursday amid local and international warnings of the party’s growing role in Syria’s 26-month-old war and its repercussions on Lebanon’s fragile security and stability.

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has accused Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into a bloody war against the Syrian people, by sending “hundreds of Lebanese to fight alongside the regime forces and participate in invading Syrian villages and towns.”

Activists said more than 45 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in the struggle for Qusair since Sunday. Hezbollah, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s staunch ally in Lebanon, has admitted sending fighters to Syrian border villages to help Lebanese Shiites living there against rebel assaults.

Siniora appealed to Berri and other Shiite figures he called “to use all possible means to put an end to this dangerous involvement in the conflict in Syria.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 24, 2013, on page 4.
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