March 14 official: Lebanon is now hostage to Syria and Hezbollah


March 14 General Secretariat Coordinator Fares Soueid said Tuesday in reaction to the new cabinet that Lebanon is now hostage to Syria and Hezbollah.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced the formation of a cabinet in which the Hezbollah -led coalition has the majority.

“We denounce the formation of this government and state that Lebanon is a country now being held hostage by the Syrian regime and Hezbollah,” Soueid said in an interview with AFP.

According to observers Hezbollah and its allies control 21 out of 30 seats in the new cabinet and not 18 as was announced by Mikati, since MP Walid Jumblatt who holds 3 seats cannot be considered a centrist.

Mikati insisted on Monday during an interview with AFP shortly after announcing his government formation that his new government line-up, in which the Hezbollah and its allies have the majority, will not place Lebanon in the radical camp.

Soueid said the opposition would formally issue a press release later in the week stating their position against the cabinet of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The March 14 alliance, led by US- and Saudi-backed former premier Saad Hariri, has refused to join the government.

The Iranian- and Syrian backed Hezbollah brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) imminent indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members and possibly Syria, in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005

Mikati was appointed in January as the PM designate with the backing of the Hezbollah March 8 alliance and MPs Walid Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi . March 14 leaders have repeatedly said that intimidation from Hezbollah’s weapons helped secure the parliamentary majority for Mikati’s nomination and refused to join the government.

Jumblatt and his PSP parliament members reportedly switched allegiance to Hezbollah’s PM candidate, following threats by Hezbollah.

Jumblatt, Mikati and Safadi were all elected on March 14 electoral tickets during the 2009 parliamentary elections.