Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel accused Hezbollah of controlling Lebanon's decision-making, blaming the party and the current ruling political class for the country’s total collapse.
“Since 2015, a total influence of Hezbollah and the mafia has been made over the Lebanese institutions. A deal between the corrupted ruling political class, the weapons and the militias of Hezbollah has led the country to the total collapse of its institutions and its economy,” Gemayel said in an interview with the European People’s Podcast that was recorded on November 18.
“We do believe that Hezbollah’s control over Lebanon’s decision-making has led the country to a lot of sanctions and isolation from its historical friends such as the Arab countries, Europe, and the United States of America,” he stressed.
“Today, the country is isolated internationally because a lot of governments consider it to be a proxy of Iran and a country that is controlled by Hezbollah,” he added.
“Hezbollah couldn’t do that without the mafia's blessing that is benefiting from the system and is also corrupting it,” he noted.
Gemayel blamed the mafia and the militia duo for the country’s current deteriorating situation, saying that this what has led to the October 17 revolution that took place a year ago.
“The Lebanese people who are still fighting for a change revolted against this mafia and the militia on that day. We, as a Kataeb party, have always been a part of this fight since day one and we still are,” he said.
“We, along with the Lebanese people have taken to the streets and called for a State of law and for our country's liberation from any kind of control especially from Iran and Hezbollah,” he noted.
The Kataeb leader stressed that the party's lawmakers have resigned from the Parliament as they were in total conviction that they will not be able to change from within the institutions, saying that they have preferred to join the Lebanese people in their fight for a real change and new elections.
“Following the Beirut blast on August 4, this huge explosion that destroyed the Port of Beirut and big parts of the city, we have decided to submit our resignation as an opposition and a small minority from the Parliament because we couldn’t change anything from the inside,” he added.
“We wanted to draw a very clear line between the mafia that is controlling the institutions and the Lebanese people who are out of the institutions calling for a real change in the country,” he affirmed.
“Today, we are forming a huge opposition coalition with a lot of groups and independent personalities from all religion and regions to prepare for the next phase which is the next elections that would be held in a year and a half,” he pointed out.
Gemayel affirmed that Hezbollah has managed through the elections and with the help of it mafia alliance to get a majority in the Parliament, saying that now it is the one controlling any government’s formation.
“The French initiative which is calling for transparency and reforms is not in Hezbollah’s best interests. This is why it is blocking any government that goes along with the French initiative because it has the huge majority in the Parliament and it is able to block any kind of government’s formation that it is not in line with its interest and its strategy,” he said.
“So, unfortunately Hezbollah is controlling the institutions through its ally President Michel Aoun in the presidency and through the majority in the Parliament,” he added.
“It is time to allow the Lebanese people to elect a new Parliament that will enable us to form governments that are more in line with our values, with our program that is needed for Lebanon to get out of this economic collapse and be a real partner of the International Monetary Fund,” he added.
“PM-designate Saad Hariri is being held as a hostage by Hezbollah. He cannot take any decisions as the Parliament is fully controlled of the party,” he noted.
“Hezbollah can impose on Hariri any condition the party sees in its interest, this is why we are not positive and we are not very confident that Hariri will be able to form a government that can be a real partner to the International community,” he added.
Gemayel voiced regret over the situation the Lebanese are currently facing, deeming it as the worst social and humanitarian crisis in Lebanon.
“The Lebanese people are not surviving. They are starving,” he said.
“Many of them are looking to leave the country. A lot of youth and a huge part of our middle class are considering leaving and that poses a great danger on Lebanon’ future,” he affirmed.
“The country rely historically on its middle class, and when we say middle class, we say democracy and when there is no middle class, democracy is in danger and any possibility to build a State of law becomes very difficult to implement when we have a problem of middle class,” he said.
“It is maybe the biggest challenge in the country’s history but in the meantime there are a lot of programs and a lot of countries who went through the same situation as ours managed to get out of their situation with the help of the international community, by taking the right steps and by letting the opposition do the cleaning and change the situation on the ground,” he pointed out.
“Unfortunately in Lebanon, this process that should have been natural in this kind of situation is blocked by the presence of the militia of Hezbollah that is not allowing the country to go through this process or even have early elections so the opposition can take the leadership and start implementing reforms,” he added.
Gemayel accused Hezbollah of preventing Lebanon from dealing with the International community and the IMF as it is in an ongoing state of real and profound conflict with them, deemign it as the reason that is blocking the country from going into the same process other countries who had the same difficulties went through.
“If it was a normal situation we would have been certainly against any kind of interference in Lebanon but we have to take into consideration that Lebanon and the Lebanese people are being held hostages today by a militia that is financed by Iran, whom their weapons are coming from Iran and even their leader Hassan Nasrallah is stating clearly and publicly that he takes orders from Iran,” Gemayel said responding to a question regarding U.S. imposing sanctions on Lebanese stakeholders.
“The problem of Hezbollah is not a local one. Lebanon and the Lebanese people are being held as hostages of the situation,” he asserted.
“This is why we think that it is part of the responsibility of the International community to pressure Iran so it can take out this support from Hezbollah and then it will be like any other party in Lebanon, a party that can express itself freely, go to elections and try to win the elections,” he said.
“Hezbollah is the only party in Lebanon that has 20 thousands soldiers on the ground. It can threaten, it can use violence, it can do a lot to make our democracy totally fictive. So today, we are not in a State of democracy. Today, we are being treated as hostages and therefore the International community must help us,” he added.
“We believe that the more efficient way to do that is not by sanctioning Lebanese personalities but by pressuring Iran that is taking the decisions on behalf of the Lebanese people,” he said.
“All these personalities here in Lebanon are just proxies of Iran. So, the core of the problem is in Iran itself is not in Lebanon,” he affirmed.
The Kataeb leader stressed that the decision-making should be restored only to the Lebanese people, reiterating need to hold parliamentary elections.
“We believe that after the October 14 revolution, the Lebanese people have expressed their will for change and any country that is real democracy can at least organize an election when he sees that the third of its population have taken to the streets and called for change,” he noted.
“Unfortunately, this didn’t happen, and this is why we have been calling for these early polls because we believe that people have expressed their will and it should have been listened long ago,” he said.
“We believe that this is the most democratic, pacific, and institutional way to create change because if we don’t give this opportunity to people to go the ballot boxes, they will start using others means that could be violent,” he added.
“I think that the European Union and the EPP should be more vocal on this because when you call for early elections you wouldn’t be taking sides between the opposition and the government, you will be just giving the people the right to decide their future,” he stressed.
“If the Lebanese people want the same mafia to rule again then it will be their choice and if they ever decided to bring new faces, competent people or people that are totally free from any interference, then they will have the change they want,” he affirmed.
The Kataeb leader deemed the Lebanese people as the source of the institutions, saying that any change can be achieved if they all stick together hand by hand.
“Lebanon went through a lot and after three huge economic, popular and real explosions of its history, I think that when you see something like that you have no right to impose on the Lebanese the same ruling class, you have to give them the chance to hold accountable,” he added.
“Diplomatically speaking, this call is justifiable, logical, and it goes with the values of the EU to call for the respect of the will of the people all over the world,” he noted.
“In my opinion, the EU has a huge role to play especially that it holds dear to Europe all these values of sovereignty, freedom, independence and respecting the will of the people,” he affirmed.
Gemayel deemed November 21st as a very dear date to the Kataeb, saying that this shows how the party’s history is interlinked with Lebanon’s history even with the dates.
“I don’t know if it is the destiny that led to the fact that at the same day in which our party was founded in 1936, 17 years later Lebanon’s independence happened and 60 years later one of our MP’s Pierre Gemayel was also killed,” he added.
“It is a very important date for us, and it will be an occasion to call once again for the liberation of our country from this mafia and this militia that are controlling our children’s future,” he asserted.
“We are in a sort of a political resistance today. It is no longer a political one, no longer a traditional opposition, we are in state of resistance because more and more we are seeing Lebanon turning into a police State and becoming a dictatorship country,” he noted.
“The tribunals and the justice system are being used to try to shut all the voices; voices that are considered as opposition voices. They are being dragged to the tribunals and the judges are unfortunately nominated by the political power,” he said.
“Today, we are calling for our country’s liberation from this control of Iran, for a real change through the elections to be able to change this mafia that is controlling our Parliament and our government,” he added.
The Kataeb leader deemed Lebanon as the real island of democracy and freedom of the middle east, hoping that with the help of friends and partners in Europe the country will be restored.
“Subir pour subir, autant se battre et voir venir, autant resister et tenir, et en attendant, vivre pour quelques uns, pour la plupart, survivre." This quote for "Andre Malraux", from the book, "La Voie Royale" has been my favorite quote since i was very young," Gemayel said.
"This means that instead of waiting to see what will happen let’s resist and fight,” he said.
“This is my message today and this is what we are doing here in Lebanon. We know that it is a very difficult period for us so instead of taking random shots, let us at least try to do something, let’s resist and fight for those who gave their lives for Lebanon, for those who sacrificed for us to be here today,” he pointed out.
“So, we will continue our fight with the help of Europe and all those who believe in the same values of freedom, peace, the values of human rights,” he concluded.
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