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Exploiting Hezbollah’s Coup - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Amidst the blaze of forming the Lebanese government, numerous statements have emerged here and there from the conflicting factions with each group justifying its position by relying either on the Taif Accords or the outcome of the recent Doha meetings. However it is evident that the opposition; Hezbollah specifically, is only relying upon the May 7 coup and the occupation of Beirut.

How should we interpret Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah’s warning to the majority in parliament that, “If it [the majority] is convinced and follows the correct path then we will walk with it down this long road and together we can build a state and society and live with happiness and pride. If it does not accept the past experience, then it will be incapable of changing or achieving anything.”

But even graver were the comments made by Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, Deputy President of the Higher Islamic Shia Council in Lebanon who stated: “The absence of the Shia signature from the government will not be permitted,” and called for “creating a vice presidential post to be filled by a Shia so that the Shia may take part in the decision-making process, in the case of them not getting the Ministry of Finance.”

Sheikh Qabalan did not stop there; he continued to speak about [the ministries of] justice and interior and the necessity of having neutral judges and officers as it is not right for innocent people to be imprisoned without having recourse to a fair trial, he said.

What Sheikh Qabalan seeks is the release of the four officers embroiled in the case of Rafik Hariri’s assassination. This matter is shrouded in suspicion and it foreshadows bigger things to come in near future. Moreover, it is clear that there are roles being doled out by Hezbollah and its followers.

Sheikh Qabalan launched an attack on Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, the Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic the day that he warned against the sedition of the May 7 coup. Sheikh Qabalan said, “If some leaders are happy to become tools in the hands of Israel so that it may achieve its goals, then is it conceivable for those in religious positions to be dragged behind them and cover them [leaders] with their evocative speeches?”

But Sheikh Qabalan took it even further when he defended Iran in response to Walid Jumblatt’s call for the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon. He said that such questionable demands “fall under the framework of Israeli and American incitement.”

All of the above suggests that Hezbollah and its supporters act based on the coup that they carried out and their occupation of Beirut and not in accordance with the Doha Agreement.

Hezbollah and its supporters want the sovereign ministries and want to create a vice-presidential post to be filled by a Shia and they brag about what happened in Beirut rather than apologize for what they have perpetrated. And why not? In his most recent speech to his supporters, didn’t Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah say “I have promised you victory” in reference to his martyrs in comparison to the victims on the other side? So this means that his affiliates are martyrs while others rank lower in life and death!

The danger of all of the aforesaid is that it can only aggravate matters, in addition to firmly establishing the belief amongst some that accumulating weapons and preparation are necessary – whilst there is nothing to guarantee that Hezbollah will not repeat its actions, especially since the party’s supporters continue to remind their opponents of the Beirut coup.

The gravity does not lie in the fact that this comes from a Hezbollah MP but rather that it comes from a man of considerable status and who occupies the position of Deputy President of the Higher Islamic Shia Council in Lebanon.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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