Lebanese MPs accuse Hezbollah of undermining state, using weapons at home and abroad

Lebanese MPs accuse Hezbollah of undermining state, using weapons at home and abroad
Hezbollah supporters display pictures of relatives who died in fighting as they listen to a speech of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during a rally on Nov. 11, 2022. (AP)
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Updated 13 November 2022

Lebanese MPs accuse Hezbollah of undermining state, using weapons at home and abroad

Lebanese MPs accuse Hezbollah of undermining state, using weapons at home and abroad
  • Nasrallah’s speech deepens parliament division over next Lebanese president

BEIRUT: Several reformist MPs strongly rejected Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s statements against those who participated in the Oct. 17, 2019 protests, accusing them of being sponsored by the US and the US Embassy in Lebanon.

MP Ibrahim Mneimneh said on Saturday: “The one undermining the state is the one who uses his weapons at home and in the region.

“He is the one who left the borders loose, and he is the one who disrupted the constitutional deadlines, such as the presidential elections and the formation of governments. He is the one who protects the corrupt.

“What undermined the state is them covering your weapons while you cover their corruption. All of the corrupt are working for the benefit of foreign agendas and projects.”

The MP stressed that Oct. 17 would remain a historic day marking a cross-sectarian national uprising.

In his Friday speech, Nasrallah accused the Lebanese who took to the streets of treason.

He boasted that Hezbollah was behind suppressing these protests and confronting what he said was the chaos planted by the US in Lebanon.

Independent MP Abdel Rahman Bizri told Arab News: “The Lebanese, from different sects and affiliations, took to the streets on Oct. 17 to remind the world that the state is theirs, not the politicians.”

Commenting on Nasrallah’s speech, Bizri added: “We had hoped for internal understanding on the next president by finding common ground around a candidate who may not be supported by everyone but does represent everyone. This would have been better than waiting for a decision by foreign parties. We have already tested such decisions regionally and internationally, and we have suffered the results.

“We, as MPs, feel as though we have failed to elect a president, and we are embarrassed in front of the people who elected us.

“The independent MPs will convene early next week with MPs from other blocs to possibly crystallize a common vision and perhaps bring about a surprise.”

Reformist MP Halima Al-Qaaqour said that Nasrallah’s accusations against the Oct. 17 protesters did not justify his behavior.

Al-Qaaqour said that Nasrallah has criticized protesters and protected former President Michel Aoun and the regime, both during the revolution and to this day.

“Corruption and bankruptcy were made by you and your partners,” she said, referring to Nasrallah, “but the Oct. 17 revolution was a sincere moment that broke your oppression and forced you to hear the voice of the people.

“We will carry on, and we will continue to be strong, no matter how many accusations you throw our way.”

Taqaddom, a party that was co-founded by MP Mark Daou during the Oct. 17 revolution, hit out at Nasrallah’s attack on the uprising of the Lebanese people against him and the regime, which the party said is based on corruption, smuggling and sectarianism.

At the present time, Hezbollah appears unwilling to compromise politically to reach a consensus in parliament over the future president.

A political source following up on the presidential elections said the dialogue proposed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri was no longer enough to break the current stalemate.

Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc is still casting a blank vote in the presidential election sessions.

At the same time, the Free Patriotic Movement — an ally of Hezbollah — rejects the candidacy of former Minister Suleiman Frangieh, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Nasrallah also mentioned the Lebanese army in his speech, especially since many believe army commander Gen. Joseph Aoun could be a potential presidential candidate. 

“The US publicly states that it supports the Lebanese army, which it considers qualified to confront the resistance, but we trust the army and its command, which rejects any confrontation with us,” he said.

“We want a president that does not stab the resistance in the back,” Nasrallah said. 

“We want a president who rests assured that the resistance has his back, a courageous president who...prioritizes the national interest over his fear, a president who can neither be sold nor bought.”

Nasrallah said that the presidency “is directly linked to national security, and we cannot fill the vacuum with just anyone.”