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Geagea Rejects Nasrallah’s Threats: Lebanon’s Defense is Sole Responsibility of the State | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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LF chief Samir Geagea listens during an interview with Reuters at his home in Maarab in the mountains overlooking the seaside town of Jounieh, October 31, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Beirut- Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has stressed that only the Lebanese state and citizens should defend Lebanon against any attack.

“No one at all, other than the Lebanese state, has the right to take strategic decisions regarding Lebanon’s defense or foreign policy,” the LF leader told a rally held in Maarab on Friday.

Geagea’s statements came in response to “Hezbollah” leader Hassan Nasrallah’s recent claims that “hundreds of thousands” of fighters from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Iran’s IRGC would be ready to strike back if Israel staged an attack on Lebanon.

“We heard a lot of talk recently about allowing chaos on Lebanon’s borders and about opening them to all sorts of armed groups under the excuse of defending Lebanon,” Geagea said during a ceremony of around 2,500 new members joining the ranks of the LF.

“We do not want anyone to defend us or to defend Lebanon … This is an exclusive mission for the Lebanese state,” he said.

Recalling the 1975-1990 civil war, Geagea said: “The experience of the armed Palestinian groups that were brought (into Lebanon) in the 1970s under the excuse of facing Israel is still fresh in our minds.”

“The result was a confrontation for the Lebanese people and an unprecedented war inside Lebanon,” Geagea lamented.

“History has proven, throughout 1,500 years, that the Lebanese deserved Lebanon because they themselves defended it all the time and not because they brought groups of foreigners to defend it.”

“Lebanon is for the Lebanese and they will sacrifice their lives for it whenever the need arises,” Geagea added.

The LF chief spoke of “winds of change” that blew on Lebanon in June 2015, which culminated with the reconciliation in January 2016 between his party and the Free Patriotic Movement that is founded by President Michel Aoun.

That reconciliation turned the page on infighting, which at times was violent, Geagea said.