Lebanon News

Hezbollah is aiding false Syria campaign: March 14

BEIRUT: The March 14 Secretariat General warned Wednesday against Hezbollah’s involvement in a false Syrian campaign against the Future Movement in a bid to accomplish political gains in Lebanese politics.

“We hold Hezbollah … responsibility for its involvement in this campaign to cover up for its failure or the failure of the interests of its regional axis, which threatens the country’s stability,” a statement released by the Secretariat General said.

Hezbollah’s Executive Council head, Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, accused the Future Movement earlier this month of involvement in a conspiracy to undermine Syrian stability after Syrian state television aired last week what were termed “confessions” accusing the Future Movement of arming Syrian opposition factions.

The “confessions” included a three-member terror cell who alleged they had received funding and weaponry from Future Movement official and Western Bekaa MP Jamal Jarrah in order to fuel the wave of popular pro-reform protests currently sweeping the country.

“Since the protests kicked off in Syria, the authorities have sought to tie it to a conspiracy theory, and Syrian state television, along with Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, launched false accusations against the Future Movement for intervening in Syrian affairs,” the statement said.

One day after Syrian state-run television aired the “confessions,” Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel-Karim Ali urged the Lebanese judiciary to take action against Jarrah.

“Hezbollah considered the campaign an opportunity and seized on it to attack the Future Movement by adopting the false accusations in a bid to settle scores and cover up for the crisis that the party is witnessing amid March 14’s position demanding Hezbollah’s disarmament,” the statement added.

Qaouk has accused caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement parliamentary bloc of seeking to weaken Hezbollah’s influence by manipulating Syrian stability.

“[The Future bloc’s] involvement is the greatest national sin, as it has gotten embroiled in a project that is greater than it and this will definitely affect Lebanon’s national interest,” Qaouk said.

Echoing the Future Movement’s call Tuesday, the secretariat urged caretaker Foreign Minister Ali Shami to summon Syrian ambassador to Lebanon to ask the latter to clarify his position.

Shami has responded to the Future Movement demand, saying that he did not have the right to summon the Syrian ambassador without the approval of the government.

However, Beirut MP Ammar Houri condemned Shami’s statement Wednesday, recalling that the caretaker foreign minister summoned Washington’s ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, in January without the approval of the government.

In a separate statement, Future Movement official and Chouf MP Mohammad Hajjar urged Speaker Nabih Berri to take action to protect lawmakers and assume his responsibility as head of Parliament by calling for a meeting of parliamentary committees.

However, Berri responded Wednesday saying that no memo had been submitted to the speaker’s office to discuss with regard to Jarrah’s case.

“I am not aware of the reasons behind such misleading statements since the Constitution and Parliament’s by-laws are clear on the issue,” he said.

For his part, Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said Lebanon’s internal problems required the Lebanese to refrain from interacting with regional events to avoid negative repercussions on the domestic scene, a reference to Hizb Ut-Tahrir’s plan to hold demonstrations in Tripoli Friday in support of Syrian opposition forces.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 21, 2011, on page 2.

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