Hezbollah and its Shia allies will send men to the streets of Lebanon if they feel that it will prevent clashes and chaos, the group’s leader said Tuesday.
Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general, told people to “take note right now … that we will do it,” in a televised speech where he touched on mostly domestic developments.
Lebanon witnessed violent protests with banks and public and private property torched and vandalized last week after local residents took to the streets frustrated with the deteriorating socio-economic situation.
Some reports circulated placing the blame of violence of supporters of Hezbollah and their allies, the Amal Movement.
Nasrallah rejected these claims and called on the government and security forces to analyze CCTV footage and bring the perpetrators to justice.
He also blamed the US Embassy in Beirut for trying to mix the popular protests for an end to corruption with demonstrations that call for Hezbollah to disarm.
Protests broke out last Thursday after reports surfaced of the dramatic depreciation of the local currency.
This led to speculation over the fate of the government, which is made up of Hezbollah and its allies.
Nasrallah played down reports that it was frustrated with the Diab’s government and said the government needs to continue.
“The American Embassy counted on the protests [last week],” Nasrallah said, adding that Hezbollah would not give up its weapons and accept to live under Israeli threats.
Calling on Lebanese groups and political parties opposed to the Iranian-backed party, he said they must “present an alternative” to those who support Hezbollah. “It’s much bigger and more important than to be solved with curse words … and protests here and there.”
ECONOMY, CAESAR ACT
Lebanon is facing a dire economic situation with unemployment quickly rising, businesses being forced to close and little foreign investment. Its relationship with the Arab world and the West has deteriorated since Hezbollah publicly joined the Syrian war and the refusal of Lebanese governments to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Nasrallah also blamed Washington for not allowing US dollars to be pumped into the Lebanese market, claiming that this was why there is now a shortage of the greenback in the country.
“They claim that these US dollars will be picked up Hezbollah and sent to Syria and Iran,” Nasrallah said. He alleged that the upcoming Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act by Washington aims to starve the people of Syria and Lebanon.
The Caesar Act, which comes into effect Wednesday, places sanctions on the Assad regime in Syria as well as anyone who collaborates with it.
Calling for Lebanon to break free from American rule, Nasrallah said that Beijing was prepared to invest money into Lebanon.
The leader of Hezbollah, which is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, claimed that China was prepared to build a railway system from Lebanon’s second-biggest city, Tripoli, all the way to the southern border town of Naqqoura.
Additionally, according to Nasrallah, China is ready to build the powerplants needed for Lebanon’s dilapidated electricity sector – one that costs the state an estimated $2 billion a year.
Al Arabiya English