After returning to Lebanon following his resignation earlier this month, later rescinded, in Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that Hezbollah was a regional problem and that his nation “cannot do anything about it.”
Hariri made the comments in an interview with Al-Rajol, a Saudi magazine, the Daily Star reported Sunday.
The Lebanese prime minister also faulted Iran for fostering instability in Lebanon stating, “Hezbollah is not able to manage the country; its strength derives from weapons funded by Iran.”
In addition, Hariri said of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that “he does not determine what we wanted to do in Lebanon.” Hariri was pushing back against a boast made by Rouhani last month, extolling Iran’s “greatness,” saying, “In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, northern Africa, in the Persian Gulf region — where can action be taken without Iran?”
Tony Badran, an expert on Lebanon and research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, offered a similar assessment to that of Hariri, telling the Jewish News Service on Tuesday, “The Hariri episode changes absolutely nothing in terms of the balance of power and Hezbollah’s absolute dominance of the Lebanese state.”
Other have noted the total control that Hezbollah exercises over the Lebanese state.
In September, a member of Hezbollah boasted to NBC news that without its support “the [Lebanese] army is nothing.” Similarly, a few weeks later Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman observed, “The Lebanese army has turned into an integral part of Hezbollah’s command structure. The Lebanese army has lost its independence and become an inseparable part of the Hezbollah apparatus.”
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