khazen.org supports the stands of our Patriarch His beatitude Mar Bisharah Al Rai.
Lebanon remains sharply split over the conflict in Syria, which
erupted in 2011. While Hezbollah and some of its allies back the Syrian
government, their rivals support some of the rebel groups fighting
against it. "We can't say anything definite in this matter. Hezbollah is part of
the Lebanese structure. It's a party with arms, present in the
Parliament, the Cabinet and the administration," Rai said. "I am a citizen and my partner is too, but I am defenseless [and] he is armed," the patriarch added. Several local parties have repeatedly called on Hezbollah to
surrender its arms to the Lebanese state, which they say are
illegitimate. "If Hezbollah wasn't included in the Parliament we would look at the matter in a different way.
" Rai also expressed concern over the ongoing war in Syria, adding that
the Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon make up more than half
of the population. "What will remain from Lebanon?" he asked. 1.03 million Syrian refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon
and there are an estimated 450,000 Palestinian refugees registered in
Lebanon, with an estimated 65 percent of them believed to be living
below the local poverty line. A further 40,000 to 50,000 Palestinian
refugees have fled the conflict in Syria to Lebanon in recent years. “The wars in Syria and Iraq should end and refugees should return to their homeland, it’s their right,” Rai added.
By Gulf news Joseph A. Kechichian, Senior Writer - In January, Lebanese President Aoun travelled to Saudi Arabia and met
with King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, on his first presidential foreign
Lebanese hoped the visit would restore vital economic ties
and that Saudi Arabia would give Lebanon $3 billion (Dh11 billion) to
purchase French weapons for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) which it had
previously withheld after Jibran Bassil, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs who heads the Hezbollah-allied Free Patriotic Movement, voted
against the unanimous Arab League and Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation resolutions that condemned the January 5, 2016 Iranian
attacks on Saudi missions in Iran.
However, a planned follow-up
visit by King Salman to Lebanon was cancelled after Aoun praised
Hezbollah and backed the militia’s right to bear arms alongside the
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) during an interview with Egyptian TV.
Al Rai’s comments reveal widespread fear in the country over Hezbollah’s arms — the Cardinal called the situation “abnormal”.
from maverick former Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, other Lebanese
politicians notably did not comment on Al Rai’s interview, reflecting a
deep fear in the country to speak out against Hezbollah.
Sunni politician from Tripoli who does not miss an opportunity to lash
out at Iran and Syria, backed the Cardinal and emphasised the importance
of upholding the sovereignty of the nation.
are being used by Iran as a tool for chaos to achieve expansionist
ambitions,” he said, adding that they directly negate the interests of
Lebanon, its stability and its relations with Arab states.