Ex-Hezbollah leader praises Turkey, slams Hezbollah arms, US decision on Jerusalem

Sobhi TufailiFormer Secretary-General of Lebanon’s Shia Hezbollah movement, Subhi al-Tufayli, has praised Turkey’s policy in the Middle East region.

“Turkey is the only country that cares about Syria’s security and unity and its foreign policy is in accordance with the expectations and will of the Syrian people,” al-Tufayli, 70, said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

He hailed the Turkish position regarding recent anti-government protests in Iran.

“Turkey announced that they would refuse any sort of foreign interference in Iran and emphasized that peace and social stability should be preserved in its neighbor,” he said.

“Ankara has successfully overcome all troubles and handled regional problems appropriately,” he said. “Iran, however, was not that sensitive to some incidents that took place in Turkey.”

Hezbollah and Iran are main supporters of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, whose forces have put down pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity in 2011, triggering a deadly civil war that killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.

After leading Hezbollah from 1989 to 1991, al-Tufayli is now a vocal critic of the group’s current leadership, especially its policy on Syria.

‘Demonic’ U.S. policy

The ex-Hezbollah leader decried last month’s decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“Trump’s practices and policies are flagrant, demonic and dirty,” he said. “U.S. interests will be damaged severely in the long term.”

Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967, has triggered a worldwide outcry and protests in several countries.

Al-Tufayli accused Washington of turning a “blind eye” toward Hezbollah militia fighting Sunnis.

He believes that Hezbollah weapons will be debated ahead of the Lebanese election, set for May 6.

“Today, most of the Lebanese groups objecting to Hezbollah’s weapons voice concern not because they are against it, but because they themselves don’t have such weapons,” he said.

“The Lebanese people should be saved from sectarianism and the use of weapons,” the former Hezbollah leader said. “Hezbollah’s weapons are a significant threat to the Lebanese people.”

Al-Tufayli accused the Lebanese political groups of being “dependents” on foreign countries.

“Iran, Saudi Arabia, France and Russia pursue their own projects and interests, they don’t care about the Lebanese people,” he said.

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