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And now Hezbollah threatens the Lebanese president...

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

There are no more red lines or a minimum level of thuggery that can be tolerated.

This was started in 2005 by killing Rafiq Harir. The president of the Lebanese republic will not be the last of its victims.

Hezbollah's image has changed in Lebanon and the Arab world. It lied to the world saying it's a party of resistance only to become a militia of thuggery.

We have not forgotten that eight years ago, many were incapable of believing that Hezbollah participated in the assassination of twenty Lebanese figures as part of its task as a militia for the Syrian and Iranian regimes.

Those paying the price today are taxi drivers, vegetable sellers, waiters at restaurants and hotel employees.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Some did not believe that Hezbollah is involved in the fighting in Syria until the party's secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, admitted it himself and said he sent thousands of his young fighters to defend the shrines of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Then the party resumed its activity inside Lebanon by kidnapping and assaulting Syrians and Lebanese people. Now, due its bad image, no one doubts that it is the party that launched rockets shelling the vicinity of the presidential headquarters.

The heavily-armed party has become a problem for all the Lebanese people and not just for the March 14 coalition, or the Sunnis, or half of the Christians or some of the Shiites.

Instead of responding to Lebanese president Michel Suleiman's speech with a similar speech, his castle was shelled with rockets because he spoke of the three sins practiced by Hezbollah which are the violation of the constitution, duality of arms and involvement in the Syrian war.

During his speech, president Suleiman embarrassed Hezbollah when he revealed to the Lebanese people that the party's practices reached a level that one can no longer be silent about.

No one can accuse the Lebanese president of loving a party more than another. He is the most Lebanese president whose neutrality is clear.

Suleiman’s neutrality

He fought Fatah al-Islam organization, which is considered to be affiliated with the Syrian regime, until he kicked them out of Ain al-Helweh refugee camp after they had treacherously killed Lebanese soldiers.

He fought Ahmad al-Assir and his group of extremist Sunnis in Tripoli after they blocked roads and intimidated others.

He stood against Hezbollah when it wanted to impose a cabinet by intimidating others and accusing them of treason.

Hezbollah wants to hold its arms against the rest of the Lebanese people under the false excuse called the “arms of the resistance” and “defending the Palestinian” cause.

Everyone now knows that the party's arms aim to control Lebanon by force. The last of its operations against Israel was the abduction of two soldiers along the borders seven years ago. The move led to Lebanon's destruction and granted the Israelis tutelage over Lebanon's sea and sky for more than two years.

After becoming a rival of the Hariri camp and then a rival of the March 14 coalition, Hezbollah has become an enemy of the entire Lebanese people.

Hezbollah is the reason behind the obstruction of the country's interests, halting of services and harm against livelihood sources of ordinary citizens whether they are Shiite, Christians or Sunnis.

Nasrallah’s rivals

Those paying the price today are taxi drivers, vegetable sellers, waiters at restaurants and hotel employees.

These are Hassan Nasrallah's rivals. He harmed their sources of a livelihood when he intimidated the Lebanese people, the tourists and the investors and forced them to leave Lebanon.

In his speech on Friday, Saad Hariri said we will see what Hezbollah will do after the Assad regime falls.

He added that the threat against the party due to what it's done in Lebanon is graver than the loss of the cover of the Syrian regime.

In previous phases when Hezbollah involved Lebanon in absurd incompetent wars with Israel that destroyed infrastructure and displaced tens of the thousands, the party used to say its actions fell within a national, patriotic, Islamic and humanitarian context and that it acted as such in defense of Palestine.

No one believes this lie anymore. And Nasrallah knows that no one believes his excuses anymore.

This is why he made a rare public appearance himself instead of appearing via a screen during Jerusalem Day. He wants to enhance his reputation and convince people of his stances.

The general Lebanese people are his rivals. Although they are not involved in politics, they are paying the price of Nasrallah's crimes which affected their lives and led them into becoming displaced or unemployed or poor.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on August 4, 2013.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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