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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Apr 12th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Nasrallah set 'red line' for Suleiman - analysts
Nasrallah set 'red line' for Suleiman - analysts PDF Print E-mail
Written by AFP   
Wednesday, 28 May 2008


US says Hizbullah's actions belie its words

Nasrallah set 'red line' for Suleiman - analysts
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rouba Kabbara, Agence France Presse

BEIRUT: Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has sent a stern message to Lebanon's new president by warning against any attempt to disarm his resistance group, analysts say.

"Nasrallah in his speech Tuesday said verbally what he said militarily three weeks ago - that the weapons of the resistance are off the table," said Oussama Safa, head of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies.

"He said that no institution in Lebanon will dare tackle the weapons of the resistance without the consent of Hizbullah," he added. "He essentially defined his weapons as a red line not to be crossed."

The Hizbullah-led opposition staged a spectacular armed takeover of large swathes of west Beirut earlier this month in response to government measures against the group that were later revoked.

In his speech that came as Lebanon's new President Michel Suleiman began his first full day in office, Nasrallah made clear that Hizbullah's weapons were not up for discussion.

He also warned that the new government should not try to use the army to tackle the weapons of Hizbullah or any of its political allies.

"The government's weapons or those of the army or armed forces are to defend the nation, the people and their rights, the government, and to maintain security," he said in his first public comments since the power grab in Beirut.

"The government's weapons cannot be used to settle accounts with a political opponent. The government's weapons cannot be used to target the resistance and its arms," he added.

But Nasrallah also vowed that his resistance group would not use its weapons to achieve political gains and that it was not seeking to control Lebanon.

Nabil Bou Monsef, a political analyst for the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, said Nasrallah's position was "very dangerous" as it clearly sets limits for the new government.

"Nasrallah in a very direct manner is imposing his views on the state when it comes to defence strategy," Bou Monsef told AFP. "His position has not changed." He said Nasrallah's comments were in response to Suleiman's inaugural speech over the weekend during which he called for a national dialogue over Hizbullah's weapons.

"Suleiman's proposal came off as one of a patriot who sympathizes with the resistance ... But despite this, he set limits," Bou Monsef said.

March 14 Forces MP Elias Attallah said Nasrallah had moved quickly to define the boundaries for the new government between the "legitimate state and the de-facto state."

Fares Soueid, secretary general of the ruling March 14 Forces, echoed this sentiment. "Nasrallah's speech proves Hizbullah insists there will be two armies and two states," he said.

Suleiman's election came following a deal brokered in Qatar last week between the US-backed ruling coalition and Hizbullah, which is backed by Syria and Iran.

US says Hizbullah's actions belie its words

WASHINGTON: Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's claim that his group does not want to control Lebanon may reveal how self-defeating its recent armed offensive in Beirut was, a senior US official said Tuesday.

"I think their actions belie the statements," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters when asked to comment on Nasrallah's speech to his supporters in Lebanon on Monday.

"They [Hizbullah] showed a willingness to use arms to kill their fellow citizens. Perhaps these words are a recognition of the real political damage done to Hizbullah," he said.

"Any pretense of it as a liberation organization, or an organization designed to protect Lebanese from outsiders has really been torn away," McCormack added.

The Hizbullah-led opposition, which won admiration in the past for fighting Lebanon's Southern neighbor Israel, staged a spectacular armed takeover of large swathes of mainly Sunni west Beirut earlier this month.

The assault angered many Lebanese but led to negotiations to end an 18-month political feud between the Hizbullah-led opposition and the Western-backed governing coalition that left the nation without a head of state for six months. - AFP

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