Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri said that the campaign being fought by the March 14 Alliance against illegal weapons in Lebanon represents “weeping for [the loss] of power” and was not part of a struggle for justice. He added that this campaign which aims to disarm the Hezbollah movement contradict with national principles. This comes after the March 14 Alliance have stepped up their rhetoric against Hezbollah’s arms, saying that they reject the “domination” of the party’s arms.
Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri previously accused Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri of abandoning the “army-people-resistance equation.” However Hariri later denied this, saying “we have not abandoned this equation….the truth is that there are some who want this equation to prevail over the will of the State” adding that “we’re with the army-people-resistance equation if it remains under the State’s authority, but we will reject it when some assume that the army, the people, and the State, are tools in their hands.”
During a speech on Tuesday in Beirut, the outgoing prime minister also stressed that “there is no alternative to the State and its institutions” and that “we shall struggle with all our strength for the success of the State project, whatever the challenges and difficulties….and we will spare no effort in this regard.”
Hariri also posed a question to those who have accused the March 14 Alliance of contradicting national principles with regards to their campaign against illegal arms, asking “Isn’t the campaign against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the insistence on disrupting international justice regarding the murder of martyr Rafiq Hariri a direct call for provocation and a violation of the rules of national consensus?”
He also stressed that any retreat from the “national consensus” regarding the international tribunal “will not annul it and will not manage to disrupt the course of justice.” He added “our right to defend this cause is legitimate and will not be subject to intimidation.”
Hariri also said that the March 14 Alliance campaign against the “supremacy of arms” is not aimed at targeting any particular community or group.
He said “we have [previously] said, and we confirm today, that our stance regarding the supremacy of arms stems from a national viewpoint, and does not target any particular community. To those who want to distort the truth and portray it as a campaign aimed at the Shiite community, I would say in all sincerity and frankness, this is a political lie par excellence. Our campaign does not specifically target the Shiite community, its role, or status…it targets all the Lebanese and non-Lebanese parties and organizations which are using weapons as a means of internal blackmail, and pressure on national and political life.”
He added “the Shiite community is the primary victim of the supremacy of weapons.”
The March 14 Alliance campaign against the “supremacy of arms” is expected to have a significant impact on the coming stage in Lebanon, whether in terms of the formation of the Lebanese government or in terms of the potential implication of the slogan “the people want the end of arms” a reference to the chant “the people want the fall of the regime” made famous by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.
As for the origin behind this slogan, which is expected to provoke the Hezbollah movement, Future Movement media coordinator Rashed Fayed told Asharq Al-Awsat that “it is no longer acceptable to remain silent about Hezbollah’s illegal arms, after it abandoned its confrontation with the enemy, and is not pointing these [weapons] at the Lebanese people.” He added that “these weapons have become a tool that Hezbollah are using in Lebanese political life.”
Fayed also pointed out that “these weapons would not be the subject of public debate if they did not affect Lebanese domestic life, and if they had not become a tool that could change the political balance.”