Saudi Arabia ‘will stand resolute’ against Hezbollah

Thamer Al-Sabhan
Updated 01 November 2017

Saudi Arabia ‘will stand resolute’ against Hezbollah

BEIRUT: Hezbollah will be held accountable for its “war on Saudi Arabia” and its exploitation of the people of Lebanon, a Saudi government minister has said.
The Kingdom was “determined to stand resolute against Hezbollah, the satanic militia working to recruit and train outlaws in the party’s strongholds in Lebanon,” said Thamer Al-Sabhan, Saudi minister of state for the Gulf region.
“Hezbollah is declaring war on Saudi Arabia with the Iranian weapons and missiles they are launching from Yemen.”
Al-Sabhan accused Hezbollah of “manufacturing drugs in Lebanon and attempting to smuggle them into Arab countries to destroy the youth. We must hold this militia accountable as a lesson for others, to guarantee the security and safety of our people.
“Hezbollah’s militias are exploiting Lebanese ports and airport to carry out terrorist operations as well as smuggle terrorists.
“We have an effective treatment that can put an end to this rampant tumor, and God willing, we will be able to work for the future of our countries and the future of Lebanon as well.
“We will eliminate this abnormal tumor as we have done with Al-Qaeda and Daesh. One day, Hezbollah’s militias will be held accountable for everything they have done. This day will come soon. They will know what we are doing and what we mean.”
Al-Sabhan accused Iran of “harmful interventions through militias scattered in our Arab homeland; they want to destroy the Arabs.”
The minister’s comments, published by Sky News Arabia, came as Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited Riyadh on a business trip.
He met Al-Sabhan at the minister’s home in the capital, and also held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Whenever I meet his highness the crown prince, I become more convinced that we and the Saudi leadership are in full agreement on Lebanon’s stability and Arab identity,” Hariri said.
Former Lebanese MP Mustapha Allouch said Saudi Arabia could lead the way in confronting Hezbollah. “There are armed militias working for Iran in the region, and they should be held accountable,” he said.


Huge protest days ahead of contentious Algeria vote

Updated 47 min 7 sec ago

Huge protest days ahead of contentious Algeria vote

  • Protesters shouted their support for a general strike set for Sunday and demanded civilian — rather than “military” — rule
  • Since Bouteflika stepped down, army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah has emerged as the country’s de facto ruler

ALGIERS: A vast crowd rallied in Algiers on the final Friday before a contentious presidential election many see as an elite attempt to cling to power despite months of protests, an AFP journalist said.
“No to voting, we swear we will not stop!” protesters chanted. “No retreat!“
The poll set for next Thursday will see five candidates linked to ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced out of office by huge rallies in April, compete for his job.
Two of the approved runners even served as prime ministers during the ex-strongman’s two-decade tenure.
In the absence of an official tally, it was impossible to estimate the size of Friday’s mobilization.
But it appeared to be the biggest rally since November 1, when citizens took to the streets and demanded a second “liberation” on the 65th anniversary of the start of the war for independence from France.
Protesters on Friday also shouted their support for a general strike set for Sunday and demanded civilian — rather than “military” — rule.
Since Bouteflika stepped down, army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah has emerged as the country’s de facto ruler.
A firm and consistent proponent of elections, the army chief on Tuesday called for a massive turnout in the poll, slamming what he dubbed detractors’ “plotting against the fatherland.”
But the crowds on Friday shouted a sharp rebuke: “Gaid Salah, forget the vote!“
Friday marks the 42nd consecutive week the “Hirak” protest movement has organized marches across the country.
“I am not against voting (per se), I am against this election because it is only serving to recycle Bouteflika figures,” said Fatiha Bendahmane.
Former prime ministers Ali Benflis, 75, and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, 73, are considered the frontrunners in the presidential vote.
Three other figures who either participated in Bouteflika-era governments or supported the former strongman have also been cleared to run.
“We will have a new name but the same policies that destroyed the economy of this country,” said Bendamane, a 55-year-old teacher preparing to demonstrate in Algiers.
“I will march today to say no to voting with this regime.”
Checkpoints outside the capital were only letting in vehicles registered in Algiers, an AFP correspondent reported on Friday morning.
Busloads of plain-clothed and anti-riot police were deployed to the city center, equipped with water cannons.
According to Amnesty International, Algerian authorities have “escalated their pre-election crackdown on protests” in recent weeks, “carrying out waves of arbitrary arrests.”