Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Monday reassured Lebanon’s Christians that his group is not a “threat” to them, as he accused the rival Lebanese Forces party of seeking civil war and warned it that Hizbullah has “100,000 trained and armed fighters.”
“A certain party and leader want residents in Ain al-Remmaneh, Hadath and Furn el-Chebbak to fear their neighbors in Dahiyeh,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech, commenting on Thursday’s deadly clashes in Tayyouneh.
“The latest incidents were important, dangerous and very different than similar incidents that might have recently happened,” Nasrallah added, noting that “the objective behind stirring these fears is for this party to present itself as the main defender of Christians.”
“Over the past years, the Lebanese Forces party started inventing an enemy in Lebanon… Although Thursday’s martyrs belonged to Hizbullah and Amal Movement, the LF leader focused on Hizbullah,” Nasrallah said.
He alleged that “there is a combatant militia for the LF party that is being armed and organized” and that “the real program for the Lebanese Forces is civil war, in order to confine Christians demographically in a certain area.”
“All proofs confirm that the LF party was behind killing the Tayyouneh martyrs,” he said.
Commenting on LF leader Samir Geagea’s latest interview, Nasrallah said that the “Christian mini May 7” phrase “condemns Geagea and the LF no matter how it is interpreted.”
“Everything that they said contained full endorsement of the massacre,” he added.
Five Hizbullah and Amal Movement members, a woman and a delivery worker were killed and dozens of people were injured in Thursday’s fierce clashes in the Tayyouneh-Ain al-Remmaneh area.
Hizbullah and Amal have accused the LF party of “deploying snipers on rooftops” and opening fire on “peaceful protesters.” The Lebanese Forces has meanwhile denied using snipers while noting that it was Ain al-Remmaneh’s residents who “defended themselves” in the face of an “invasion” by the supporters of the two groups. Geagea also said that one of the protesters opened fire from a handgun, injuring four people, before any shots were fired from Ain al-Remmaneh.
Reassuring that “Hizbullah, Amal Movement and Shiite Muslims in Lebanon are not enemies of the Christians” and that their “decision” is “coexistence,” Hizbullah’s leader charged that “the biggest threat to Christian presence in Lebanon is the Lebanese Forces party.”
Accusing the LF of providing “a cover for takfiris in Lebanon and Syria” during earlier years of the Syrian conflict, Nasrallah reminded that Hizbullah had “defended Christians and Muslims in Baalbek-Hermel.”
“Wherever the LF party becomes present, a war breaks out and Christians get displaced,” he charged, reminding of several civil war battles.
“I advise the LF and its leader to abandon the idea of civil war and internal strife forever,” Nasrallah added, telling Geagea that he is “making wrong calculations” as he “has always done.”
“You are mistaken about Hizbullah’s status in the region… You are very mistaken by saying that Hizbullah is weaker than the Palestine Liberation Organization,” Nasrallah went on to say, claiming that Geagea had said that in a meeting with former allies in which he encouraged them to fight Hizbullah alongside the LF.
Noting that Hizbullah has supporters, various departments and allies, Nasrallah warned Geagea that the Iran-backed group also has “100,000 trained and armed fighters.”
“Do not make wrong calculations. Sit still, be polite and draw lessons from your wars and our wars,” he added, addressing Geagea and the LF.
Nasrallah also said that Hizbullah wants “a serious and quick probe” into the Tayyouneh incidents.
“We will not abandon the blood of our brothers and sisters,” he vowed.
Turning to the issue of the Beirut port blast investigations, Nasrallah said that Hizbullah is “very, very keen on knowing the truth.”
“When the course of justice gets deviated and turns into selectivity and political targeting, we do not have the right to remain silent,” he said.
“A false witness appeared on a known TV and the judge added his remarks to the file and we knew that a file is being fabricated against us,” Nasrallah added, referring to Imad Kishli, who said on MTV that he had twice transported ammonium nitrate from Beirut port to south Lebanon.
Nasrallah noted that the man’s family knows that he is mentally disturbed. He also ridiculed the claims by reiterating that Hizbullah has its own “trucks, men and warehouses” across Lebanon.
“Is our demand for the change of a judge intimidation while the U.S. threat is not intimidation?” Hizbullah’s leader wondered.
He also charged that “those who bear the biggest responsibility for the port bombing are the judges who authorized the nitrates to enter the port.”