Rifi resigns from cabinet in protest against Hezbollah’s “statelet”


rifi“From my position as minister in this cabinet, I witnessed what words cannot describe. Today, I am being frank with the Lebanese by saying that the practices of Hezbollah’s statelet and its allies are no longer acceptable,”

 Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi , who resigned  from government on Sunday wrote in  his resignation statement.

He listed the “obstruction imposed by  the Iranian- backed Hezbollah militant group  and its allies on the government and outside of it,” the presidential vacuum, paralysis of state institutions, failure to refer former Minister Michel Samaha’s   case to the Judicial Council, and “destruction of Lebanon’s ties with Saudi Arabia and other Arab brothers for the first time in Lebanese history.”

 Samaha, who was information minister from 1992 to 1995,  was arrested in August 2012 and charged with attempting to carry out “terrorist acts” over allegations that he and Syrian security services chief Ali Mamluk transported explosives and planned attacks and assassinations of political and religious figures in Lebanon.

But Samaha   was released  from jail earlier this year.  His  release sparked outrage in Lebanon against the military court, which is under Hezbollah’s influence .

Rifi told MTV following Samaha’s release  : “ I Have given instructions to prepare the request for referral of the case to the Judicial Council in the the first cabinet meeting because this is a national crime”.

But  this never happened  reportedly because  of Hezbollah’s hegemony over the cabinet

“Remaining in this government will be a sign of acceptance of this perversion or the inability to confront it, both of which are options that I reject,” Rifi stressed his statement

“The developments in the Samaha case were a national crime that Hezbollah should be solely responsible for as it covered for the murderer and turned him into a new saint when it and its allies prevented the case from being referred to the Judicial Council,” Rifi remarked.

“I have taken it upon myself to refer Samaha’s case to the International Criminal Court and I, along with the Lebanese people, will continue to follow up on this file until the end,” he stated.

He then called on the Lebanese people to sign a national petition, demanding Samaha’s referral to the ICC.

 He accused Hezbollah of  leading the state towards fragmentation and vacuum, including tarnishing the national identity and exposing Lebanon’s sovereignty, economy, future, and international and Arab ties to grave dangers.

“Samaha’s case is only one example of the hegemony over the government’s decisions that have been obstructed for months at the altar of familial and personal demands,” he continued.

“Hezbollah has used this cabinet to deepen its statelet project, whereby it sought to transform it into a tool to impose its control over the state and its decisions,” Rifi declared in his statement.

“Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil’s actions at the Arab League summit are a blatant example of the practices of the Hezbollah  statelet that disregards Lebanon and its interest,” he noted.

“He dared, at Hezbollah’s request, to insult Saudi Arabia, vote against Arab consensus, and refrain from condemning the attack against Riyadh’s embassy in Tehran,” Rifi said.

“It is unfortunate that no one condemned such a shameful stance that led to the deterioration of ties between Lebanon and its closest friend, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries,” he lamented.

He announced his “complete rejection to the insult,” urging the cabinet “to at least make an apology to the kingdom, its leadership, and its people.”

“In fact, I call on it to resign before it turns into a complete pawn in Hezbollah’s hands,” Rifi added.

“I stress that we will remain Arab Lebanese and the kingdom will remain the same friend who stood by us in the worst times,” he added.

Furthermore, Rifi stated: “My participation in this government was not a goal, but it was an expression of my will to serve my nation and people with all my determination and what God has bestowed me to meet the aspirations of the Lebanese people because this nation deserves so much from us.”

“We wanted this cabinet to ease tensions to avoid slipping into complete vacuum, but they wanted to use it to further their destructive agenda,” he continued.

“We wanted this government to avert economic collapse and save what is left, but they obstructed it and deprived the people of the most minimal hope of economic revival and instead we witnessed a decline in central services and in all vital sectors,” he added.

“We wanted this government to stand in the way of attempts to violate the state and its sovereignty, so they used it to destroy Lebanon’s ties and they completely disregarded the state’s sovereignty and dignity,” he remarked.

“I was never accustomed to shying away from my responsibilities and have shouldered them during the worst times,” he stressed.

“I will remain by your side and I will strive for the sake of Lebanon’s unity, sovereignty, and dignity, but I refuse to be turned into a false witness and I will not provide cover to those trying to take over the state and its institutions,” vowed Rifi.

“I therefore submit my resignation to you  ( The Lebanese people ) and Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

“I will continue on the path paved by slain former Premier Raik Hariri and the martyrs of the Cedar Revolution. I will continue to confront the statelet and remain by you, the honorable Lebanese people, in the battle of saving Lebanon,” he pledged.

“I have faith that Lebanon the state will be victorious with you and for you no matter the challenges,” he concluded.

As a result of Hezbollah’s  attacks against Saudi Arabia and Bassil’s stance at the Arab League  Saudi Arabia canceled on Friday  a $4 billion aid package for the army and the security forces