Gemayel: There Is No Country that Assigns Defense Mission to a Militia

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Gemayel: There Is No Country that Assigns Defense Mission to a Militia

Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel said that the Lebanese no longer have a free decision-making power due to Hezbollah's control over their country, adding that Lebanon's sovereignty has been brushed aside by dragging the country into the Iranian-Syrian axis.

"In 2015, a settlement was sealed in Lebanon; one that allowed Hezbollah to consolidate its grip over the country's decision-making," Gemayel said in an interview on Al-Arabiya channel. "We have opposed this settlement, starting with the presidential election and all the way through the formation of governments as well as the approval of a new electoral law."

The Kataeb chief deplored the fact that Lebanon's strategic and defensive decision-making is now in the hands of Hezbollah, deeming the current situation as the result of a collective surrender to non-state arms.

Gemayel explained that there were still political forces that stood against Hezbollah's hegemony until 2016 when a president who is a key ally of the group was elected.

"Following the election of a pro-Hezbollah president, the win of the majority of the Parliament's seats by Hezbollah and its allies, and the formation of a government based on the conditions of Hezbollah which has 18 out of 30 ministerial portfolios, Lebanon's state institutions have become under the control of Hezbollah," he explained.

The Kataeb leader said that Lebanon has skidded off its policy of dissociation towards regional conflicts, adding that the country has now been dragged into a biased position.

"We reject this reality. We had to choose between being false witnesses inside a Hezbollah-controlled government, or joining the opposition ranks in order to give the Lebanese an alternative option and preserve our country's democratic system," he stressed.

Gemayel stressed the need for free political forces that are able to stand up and speak the truth, taking pride in the fact that the Kataeb party is the only opposition force in the Parliament.

"The international community must know that Lebanon is subject to hegemony and the Lebanese people's decision-making is not free."

"During the upcoming phase, our goal would be to gather a larger national and popular opposition which includes a group of independents and the political forces which are not involved in the presidential settlement."

Gemayel said that the army's role in any sovereign country is to defend the border, adding that nowhere in the world a state assigns this mission to a militia.

"The problem with Hezbollah is that it's using arms to alter internal political balances to topple governments, and already used its weapons internally on several occasions," he said.

Asked about the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, Gemayel said that Lebanon's foreign ministry has failed to set out a strategy to resettle the refugees in countries that are able to host them.

"After seven years, it is time for the international community to find a way to return the refugees back to Syria or for other countries to bear the burden which transcends Lebanon's capacity," he said.