Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Lebanon’s government, and not Hezbollah, should make all political and military decisions, if the current crisis is to be solved, Samir Geagea, told Asharq al Awsat on Tuesday.
The head of the executive committed of the Lebanese Forces also indicated that Lebanon was at the center of a conflict between the United States and the West, on the one hand, and Iran and Syria , on the other.
In an interview with Asharq al Awsat, Geagea declined to hold any party responsible for the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, but indicated the March 14 coalition, of which he is a member, has much to say to Hezbollah, after the violence ends.
“From a humanitarian point of view we are completely sympathetic to the plight of civilians and we also feel sad at what’s happening. But from a strategic point of view, the Lebanese government has to make detailed calculations, in order to understand which measures need to be taken, starting from the facts that have emerged in the last few days, in order to solve the crisis.”
Q: How do you view what has happened so far?
A: It is not yet time for analysis or evaluating who was right or wrong. This will come later and we have a lot to say in this respect, when the crisis ends. For the time being, the political situation and facts on the grounds have become clear. The government knows the truth of the situation. We should support the government to make the right decisions to end the current confrontation, in the best way possible.
Q: Is the government able to do so?
A: If we impede it, it won’t have the ability to do so. But if we all cooperate and accept the fact that we can’t win unless we unite, the government can act. If we remain isolated, with everyone acting the way they see fit and according to their evaluation of the situation, especially on the strategic level, it is certain the conflict will escalate further.
Q: Israeli conditions to end hostilities are clear. They include the release of the two kidnapped soldiers and do not end on the implementation of UN Resolution 1559. What is the solution?
A: During my trials [in the mid 1990s], I got used to looking at appearances before analyzing the content. Let us agree, first of all, on who can take strategic and tactical decisions? If we are to have hope that we can win this confrontation, the government has to be the one to make decisions. At present, the government doesn’t make decisions and the situation is “lax” and no one knows anything because they don’t know what will happen at any given moment.
Let us, in the beginning, agree that the government has to decide on behalf of Lebanon and it has to make decisions. No party can negotiate while another maintains a presence on the ground. This is why, in appearance we have not yet fulfilled the conditions of negotiating with the United Nations or other parties.
Q: Hezbollah has made similar decisions in the last few years. What has changed today?
A: The results of previous decisions were very limited. In the last five years, Hezbollah’s movements were few, which is why there was no insistence [it stopped]. But, in spite of this, everyone knew that, during the National Dialogue, we considered this issue in depth. The situation now is totally different and is open to all possibilities. We are living through an exceptional period and the least we can say is we are threatened by storms.
These new circumstances, as well as the intensity and reach of the attacks, make us determined that the government should become the sole decision maker.
Q: Are decisions currently being made outside of Lebanon ?
A: I do not want to judge others’ intentions but it is no coincidence the United States, the West and their allies hold one opinion about what is going on, while Iran and Syria hold a different view. Unfortunately, Lebanon is where this conflict is being played out.