Nasrallah to Saudis: Don't punish Lebanon

Hezbollah chief calls on Saudi Arabia not to collectively punish Lebanon's people just because it disagrees with Hezbollah.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan Nasrallah

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday called on Saudi Arabia not to collectively punish Lebanon's people just because Riyadh disagreed with the Shiite movement's policies, AFP reports.

In a televised address on his group's Al-Manar network, Nasrallah said Saudi Arabia does not have "the right to sanction the Lebanese people because one particular party took a certain position".

The comments come a week after Riyadh halted a $3 billion program funding equipment for Lebanese security forces and urged Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon in response to "hostile" positions linked to Hezbollah.

The withdrawal of Saudi Arabia's financial aid has sparked a war of words between opponents and supporters of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"If there's a criminal, I'm the criminal, Hezbollah is the criminal," Nasrallah was quoted as having said Tuesday.

"If you have a problem with us, you can continue doing so -- but what does the rest of the country have to do with it?" he asked.

Nasrallah also accused Saudi Arabia of trying to spark "sedition between Sunni and Shiite Muslims" when it executed Shiite Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on January 2, an incident which sparked tensions with Iran and resulted in the Saudis cutting ties with Tehran.

Saudi had been carrying out "crimes" in Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain "for the past 10 years, for the past 100 years, since the regime came into power," Nasrallah charged in his speech on Tuesday.

"They can start wars and commit massacres... but no one can say anything for fear of sparking Saudi wrath," he added.

Nasrallah pledged Hezbollah would continue to speak out against what it saw as Saudi aggression in the region.

Riyadh backs the five-year uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, while Hezbollah which is Iran's proxy in the region has intervened militarily on Assad's behalf.

"We are happy with the truce and God willing it will persist and lead to a political solution," said Nasrallah, who added that anyone who wanted to come visit Lebanon should feel reassured that "there is no security problem in the country".

In his only reference to Israel, Nasrallah charged that "Israel, Saudi [Arabia], and some other sides want a Sunni Shiite sedition”.

In his last speech, Nasrallah mentioned Israel quite extensively and at one point threatened a “nuclear attack” on the ammonia tank in Haifa.

AFP contributed to this report.