Samir Geagea, the leader of the Lebanese Forces party, last week became the latest in an increasingly diverse group of Lebanese political leaders to blast Hezbollah for undermining the country’s stability. Domestic critics of the Iran-backed terror group have become open in demanding that it untangle itself from the Syrian conflict.
Geagea went further, accusing Hezbollah of trying to keep the country in a state of political stagnation by terminally eroding Lebanese institutions:
“Hezbollah is a mini-state within the Lebanese state, and this mini-state contributes to impeding the formation of a successful state,” Geagea told a delegation of Lebanese expatriates affiliated with the LF. “It is actually seeking to paralyze the state,” he said about Hezbollah… “Hezbollah’s involvement in war and fighting in Syria plunges Lebanon into fire and we don’t know how and when it will end.
The Lebanese Forces party is a faction that evolved from a militia by the same name during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war. Geagea, a Christian, leads the party, which is the second-largest in the opposition March 14 alliance.
Lebanon was scheduled to hold elections in June, but postponed the ballotting by at least 17 months due to parliamentary infighting and deteriorating security, the latter a function of the Syrian war in which Hezbollah has been fighting on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Geagea had previously criticized Hezbollah for dragging Lebanon into a war with Israel for its own interests, and contrary to Lebanese interests. He has described Hezbollah as “a totalitarian party with its own ideology and strategy.” The group’s role in triggering cross-border violence with the country’s neighbors has aligned unevenly with claims, made by some Western foreign policy analysts, that Hezbollah is a Lebanese group interested in securing Beirut’s security.
[Photo: Elie Goldman / YouTube]