Hariri: Hezbollah must disarm

Updated 12 August 2013
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Hariri: Hezbollah must disarm

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said that the Shiite Hezbollah movement has lost its claim to bear arms against Israel since joining the war in Syria.
“The idea ... that Lebanon needs the weapons of the resistance (Hezbollah) in order to face the Israeli threat... is an idea that has expired,” Hariri said, a Sunni leader.
Hezbollah’s weapons “have been shifted from fighting the Israeli enemy to fighting the Syrian people,” Hariri said in a television address from Jeddah where he lives.
Widely considered more powerful than Lebanon’s army, Hezbollah never disarmed at the end of the 1975-1990 civil war on the grounds it was necessary to protect the country against Israeli attacks.
In 2006 it fought a bloody 33-day war against Israel that devastated much of the Shiite-majority south and parts of Beirut.
Hariri charged that the weapons belonging to the powerful Shiite movement were being used “to instill fear into Lebanon’s political life.”
In 2008, Hezbollah fighters seized control of a section of western Beirut during clashes with supporters of Hariri, sparking fears of a new civil war in Lebanon.
Hariri’s remarks come a day after Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said for the first time that Hezbollah’s arsenal should be at the service of the Lebanese state.
On Thursday, Sleiman also said he opposed the Shiite movement’s involvement in the conflict in Syria.
Hariri’s speech also came just hours after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah made a rare public appearance on Friday at a rally in support of the Palestinians.
Four members of Hezbollah are due to be tried in absentia for the devastating 2005 Beirut seafront bombing that killed billionaire Rafik Hariri and 22 others.


Israel army says delegation heading to Russia over Lebanon ops

Updated 11 December 2018
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Israel army says delegation heading to Russia over Lebanon ops

  • The Kremlin said on Saturday that Netanyahu had called Putin to discuss the operation against alleged Hezbollah tunnels
JERUSALEM: An Israeli army delegation will head to Moscow on Tuesday to brief their Russian counterparts on operations to destroy Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon, the military said.
“An Israeli army delegation composed of senior officers and led by the head of army operations, General Aharon Haliva, will fly to Moscow on Tuesday,” the military said in a statement.
“During the day-long visit, the delegation will brief their Russian counterparts on Operation Northern Shield and other operational issues,” said the statement issued on Monday.
The announcement came after a telephone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Israel on Wednesday launched an operation — dubbed Northern Shield — aimed at destroying alleged Hezbollah “attack tunnels” infiltrating its territory from Lebanon.
Ties between Israel and Russia have been strained since the accidental downing of one of Moscow’s transport planes on September 17 by Syrian ground batteries killed 15 service personnel.
Moscow pinned responsibility for the incident on Israel, saying its fighter jet used the larger Russian plane for cover, an allegation Israel disputed.
Russia subsequently upgraded Syrian air defenses with the delivery of the advanced S-300 system.
The Kremlin said on Saturday that Netanyahu had called Putin to discuss the operation against alleged Hezbollah tunnels.
During the conversation, Putin stressed “the need to ensure stability along the dividing line between Israel and Lebanon,” according to Russia’s embassy in Israel.
Netanyahu for his part reaffirmed Israel’s policy of preventing the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria and to “act against the aggression of Iran and Hezbollah.”
Israel occupied parts of Lebanon for 22 years until 2000, and the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement claimed credit for its withdrawal following persistent guerrilla attacks.
The two countries are still technically at war but the border has remained relatively calm in recent years.
Russia is fighting on the same side as Iran and Hezbollah in support of President Bashar Assad in Syria.