BEIRUT: Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Friday warned the Lebanese government against attempts to "isolate" or "break" Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, saying his party may join the FPM's street protests if their rivals continue to disrespect them.
“Today... I want to reaffirm that here in Lebanon, we do not accept that any of our allies are excluded or broken,” Nasrallah said. “Especially those who stood beside us in the 2006 war and tied their necks, their fates and their blood to ours,” he added, in reference to the FPM.
He said that his backing for Aoun was not merely political, but also involved a “moral and humanitarian” dimension, demanding respect for the FPM in government.
“You can’t break Aoun and you can’t isolate him,” Nasrallah, raising his voice, warned the government. He described the FPM chief as a necessary corridor for presidential elections and the resumption of Cabinet’s work, arguing that state institutions could not function if Aoun was excluded.
More than 1,000 FPM supporters took the streets Wednesday to protest the defense minister's extension of the terms of the Army commander and two other Army officials. Aoun had been warning for months against the extension of their terms, describing the moves as illegal and unconstitutional.
Aoun's rivals have been openly mocking him and his supporters, claiming that the FPM's allies would not stand with him in the fight against the extensions. But Nasrallah's remarks shattered that notion.
"All options are on the table," Nasrallah said.
He urged rival factions to return to dialogue, and called on the Lebanese to stop talking about coexistence, but instead to start working toward achieving it.
He said that the only guarantee against domestic division was a representative government that respects “true partnership” and enjoys the “confidence and trust” of all the country’s citizens.
“The government can’t have a ruling sect.” he said. “This logic needs to leave our minds.”
“The notion of a leading party or political force should also end,” he added.
The speech marked the ninth anniversary of Israel's defeat in the July 2006 war. Nasrallah said the Israeli army would achieve no victory in Lebanon should it launch a new invasion.
"Every location on Lebanese territory will be reinforced and secured, in a manner that will destroy any Israeli tank that attempts to infiltrate Lebanon," Nasrallah said.
He said that despite divisions between Lebanese political factions at the time of the 2006 war, Lebanon still achieved victory.
“Now imagine what would have happened if we were all united.”
“Are we not capable as Lebanese to abandon our division and unite to achieve victory without international assistance?”
The Hezbollah chief then warned against greater divisions in the region.
“America is using ISIS to divide the region,” he warned, asserting that the U.S. was not serious in its counterterrorism efforts, but is aiming to draw a “new map” of the Middle East.
Nasrallah repeated accusations that the U.S. was supporting terrorist groups in Syria to overthrow the government.
He also accused the U.S. of not following through with commitments it had made to the Iraqi government, saying Washington was not providing enough support to Iraqi security forces.
"The real project is the division of Iraq, Syria, the region and even Saudi Arabia,” he said, insisting that this is the will of the U.S. and its Israeli allies.
The Hezbollah chief reiterated his party’s condemnation of the Saudi-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen, saying that Saudis won’t achieve their aims.