MP Jarrah calls Syrian allegations of funding protests silly

Lebanon’s March 14 MP Jamal al-Jarrah met on Saturday with Speaker Nabih Berri over the Syrian allegations to inform him that he should be “punished” if the Syrian accusations against him turned out to be right.

Jarrah , who is a member of the Future movement parliamentary bloc met later with Caretaker PM Saad Hariri at Center House and informed him about the results of his meeting with Berri, who is closely associated with the Syrian regime

“If the Syrian accusations against me were proven to be right, then I should be punished. But if they were proven wrong, then the parliament which I am a member of should safeguard my reputation,” Jarrah told An Nahar before meeting with Berri

“The reputation of the parliament and consequently the reputation of one of the lawmakers and his constitutional and legal rights are being raised,” Jarrah added

Earlier he told Voice of Lebanon that Damascus’ claims alleging that he is involved in the Syrian unrest are “shameful.”

“What has been broadcast on Syrian state television is silly and baseless intelligence work,” Jarrah said

He also said that there are “political motives” behind Damascus’ accusations and called on Syria to file a report with the Lebanese judiciary regarding the issue.

“If they do not submit a file, we will make them.”

Syrian president Bashar al Assad has been facing the biggest challenge to his rule. Popular protests demanding greater freedoms and an end to corruption erupted about a month ago in southern Syria and spread to the capital Damascus and most cities in Syria. Friday witnessed the largest ever protest.

The Syrian regime has been blaming foreigners for the protests and last Wednesday Syrian state television aired “testimonies” of three people saying they had received funds and weapons from al-Jarrah to fuel a wave of protests against the ruling Baath regime.

Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali called last Thursday on the Lebanese authorities to address the recent accusations against Jarrah.

President Michel Suleiman told on Friday the secretary-general of the Higher Lebanese-Syrian Council, Nasri Khoury, to coordinate between the involved institutions of both countries for a judicial cooperation on the issue.

Following the airing of the Syrian allegations Jarrah told LBC “Interfering in Syria’s internal affairs is out of the question”.

“We have neither the ability nor the intent to interfere in Syria’s domestic affairs,” Jarrah stressed

“We do not allow anyone to interfere in Lebanese internal affairs. If Syria has a case to discuss, it can address the government and the judiciary through the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” He said

Reactions

Reacting to the accusations against Jarrah MP Antoine Zahra a key member of the Lebanese forces told Future TV: “Accusations against Jarrah are illogical and unjustified.”

Earlier today March 14 general-secretariat coordinator Fares Soueid told Free Lebanon:” Syria is seeking to create a crisis in Lebanon to divert the attention from its internal problems.”

MP Samir al Jisr a key member of Future movement which is headed by Hariri told Voice of Lebanon: What is being said about the Future movement is sad . The Syrian should know better ….that the Future movement doesn’t interfere in their internal affairs .

Future movement politburo member Mustapha Allouch said on Saturday the Syria accusations against Jarrah are fabricated by the Syrian intelligence and are illusions.

In an interview with ‘Voice of Lebanon’ Allouch said Syria’s accusations are an attempt to escape the domestic crisis and the lack of freedom and expression. He also warned that every escalation in Syria will have repercussions on Lebanon.