Hariri Puts Lebanese Opposition on Collision Course With Assad
Drawing yet another political line in the sand, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Thursday that he “openly and proudly” supports the uprising of the Syrian people.
Hariri's declaration came one day after Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah repeated his support for the Syrian regime.
“If Hizbullah openly supports the Syrian regime, we openly and proudly support the Syrian revolution and the Syrian people,” Hariri told his Twitter followers.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from Hariri’s Future bloc said that Nasrallah’s speech and rare public appearance were aimed at boosting the dwindling morale of his supporters since his regional allies “are falling.”
“He felt that there was a need to boost the morale of his supporters after a Cabinet, which his party dominates, had financed the tribunal,” Minieh MP Ahmad Fatfat told Future News.
“What’s more important in Nasrallah’s speech was the [part] on Arab affairs,” Fatfat said. “He will clearly fight by the side of President Bashar Assad and his regime and he accuses the [Syrian] opposition of treason, which is clear interference in Syrian affairs.”
Hizbullah, which has long relied on logistical support from Syria and Iran to support its terror militias and munitions stockpiles, has become increasingly isolated amid the shifting geopolitical realities of the Middle East. Its insistent backing of Assad has caused considerable displeasure among many of its supporters in Lebanon.
Iran has found itself imbroglio'd with its Western and Gulf Arab rivals in the wake of a recent International Atomic Energy Agency report that charged Tehran with seeking nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has found itself facing a rising popular protest movement and growing insurgency by armed revolutionaries amid harsh international sanctions. Should Assad fall, Hizbullah could be cut off from Iran.
US defense officials this week moved to strengthen contacts with the Lebanese military this week, promising increased financial backing, as a means of marginalizing Hizbullah – which has long used claims it exists to defend Lebanon from "Zionist aggression" as a means of maintaining public support for its maintaining its extensive militias and arms.
The growing isolation for Hizbullah comes as domestic criticism and demands for the terror militia to disarm from Lebanon's opposition leaders continues to keep the terror organization - now facing the test of incumbency in Beirut - on the political ropes.
Hariri and others have charged Hizbullah has used its terror militias to undermine the will of the Lebanese people and that its unilateral policy of 'resistance' - carried out without consulting Lebanese authorities - has drawn the country into devastating wars.
Opposition leaders have also contentiously backed the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which indicted four Hizbullah terrorists for the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, the late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, earlier this year.