Open and even virulent criticism of Hezbollah for providing critical assistance to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime has become a mainstay of Arab discourse. Now that sentiment is taking hold in the group’s home country of Lebanon.
Former Lebanese president and current Phalangist leader Amin Gemayal called this week for Hezbollah to exit Syria and work with other Lebanese parties to form a new government:
Urging Hezbollah to abide by the Baabda declaration, Gemayel said: “We are all in the same boat. We have to overcome selfishness. I hope that Hezbollah abides by the Baabda declaration and cooperate to save Lebanon,” he said. Gemayel voiced fears of the “difficult circumstances facing the country”, adding:” Most of the state institutions are obstructed and we hope to offer solutions for that.” Gemayel expressed his readiness to exert all efforts needed to help line-up a new cabinet
The Baabda declaration is a 2012 agreement calling on Lebanese factions to avoid intervening in regional conflicts, lest the violence rebound into Lebanon. Hezbollah’s participation in the Syrian war is seen as a violation of the agreement. Both the Syrian regime and the rebels have in recent months mounted attacks on Lebanese soil.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman echoed Gemayel’s call, as did Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt :
Jumblatt also criticized Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad. “I advise [Hezbollah leader] Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah to withdraw from Syria because the countdown to the Syrian regime [collapse] has begun,” Jumblatt said. He pointed to the changes on the battlefield in Syria, citing the rebels’ takeover of a strategic airport in Aleppo Tuesday and the recent captured of an arms and ammunition dump in the Qalamun area near Damascus from Syrian government troops.
[Photo: KataebTV / YouTube]