A Christian political party in Lebanon has threatened to sue a major newspaper, long affiliated with Hezbollah, claiming it misconstrued the words of its leader.
The Lebanese Forces, led by Samir Geagea, strongly rejected Al-Akhbar newspaper’s claims that it was preparing for a military confrontation inside Lebanon.
In an article published Tuesday, Al-Akhbar alleged that Geagea boasted of having 15,000 fighters armed and ready to fight against Hezbollah. The conversation allegedly took place during a dinner with Druze leader Walid Joumblatt.
“I have 15,000 fighters, and we are able to confront [Hezbollah], which is suffering from great weakness due to the situation in Lebanon and the region,” said Geagea, according to the article.
A similar article appeared on the online news platform 180post, attributing the following war-mongering quotation to the Lebanese Forces leader.
“The Lebanese Forces are now stronger than they were under [former leader] Bachir Gemayel … As for Hezbollah, it has become weaker than the Palestine Liberation Organization, led by Yasser Arafat, on the eve of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982.”
The Lebanese Forces were quick to deny the allegations.
In a statement, the party described the Geagea’s alleged comments as “a malicious attempt to demonize and corrupt the Lebanese Forces by spreading malicious rumors and fabricating false news about armaments, fighting, confrontations and wars.”
According to the statement, the articles had deliberately misconstrued Geagea’s words and that the party leader was merely boasting of his political power and not military strength.
The statement added that the articles attempted to damage relations between the Lebanese Forces and Joumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party.
The Lebanese Forces will take legal action against both Al-Akhbar and 180post, the statement concluded.