Lebanese Christian Leaders: Alliance with Hezbollah

Beirut (AP) —Lebanon’s largest Christian party leader said on Sunday that the 15-year alliance with Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite group in the country, is no longer functioning and must evolve.

A televised speech by Gebran Basir, head of the Free Patriotic Movement, showed an unprecedented level of frustration with Hezbollah and is believed to have helped maintain peace in a small country. The 2006 alliance is at stake. I suggested that I was doing it.

Basir’s comments are in the midst of a catastrophic economic crisis and before an important parliamentary election in which his party expects fierce competition. If he cancels his alliance with Hezbollah, he will get more votes in the May elections.

However, former Foreign Minister Basir said the alliance was at the expense of trust with its supporters. Basir is also the son-in-law of President Michel Aoun of Lebanon. He positions himself as a reformer and is believed to have the ambition to run for the president himself.

Basir was dissatisfied with the powerful Shiite Amal movement, led by Parliamentary Speaker Nabby Beri, another ally of Hezbollah. He said Hezbollah had helped Beri’s Amal in recent months at the expense of their own alliance.

“We reached an understanding (in 2006) with Hezbollah, not Amal,” Basir said in an hour’s speech. “When it turns out that it is Amal who makes the decision in (this alliance), it is our right to reconsider.”

Hezbollah and its allies control most of the parliamentary seats and are key supporters of the government, which took office in September. However, governments and parliament are paralyzed as political disagreements deepen and Lebanon faces an unprecedented economic crisis since 2019.

Berry is Basir’s old rival who accused him of using his power in Congress to block some of the bills.

Recently, Hezbollah and Amal have been widely critical of last year’s investigation into the port of Beirut, accusing judges of prejudice against their allies. This is in opposition to Basir’s party.

Hezbollah is seeking the dismissal of the judge, causing paralysis within the government. The deadly clash in October, which fought Amal and Hezbollah supporters against Christian militants, was triggered by further tensions between the investigation dispute and the Basil Party, which accused Amal of violence. rice field.

Basir does not support his party in reform legislation, which he says is an effort to eliminate corruption and secure decentralized monetary policy, or to protect the president’s constitutional authority. Criticized Hezbollah. Such choices made it impossible for Basir to justify the decision of his supporter, Hezbollah, he added.

“I understand why Americans want to hunt down Hezbollah, but I don’t understand why (Hezbollah) wants to hunt them down,” Basir said of the Hezbollah-Berry alliance.

Hezbollah has been designated as a terrorist group by the United States. Bassil has been placed on the US Sanctions List for Corruption. He argues that sanctions are to pressure him to revoke his alliance with Hezbollah.

“I don’t want to revoke or destroy the (2006) memorandum,” Basir said. “But now that we no longer meet the challenges we face, especially the economic and financial challenges, we want to evolve it.”

Proponents welcome the alliance as a step towards a more democratic Lebanon, beyond traditional Christian Shiite conflicts. For Hezbollah, an alliance with a Christian group that traditionally supported the West obscured it after the 2006 war with Israel.

“Of course, if we form an alliance with Hezbollah, we will be stronger in the elections,” Basir said. “But between winning the election and winning ourselves, we choose ourselves, our credibility and dignity.”