Hezbollah backs Berri in his dispute with al-Sayyed

MP Mohammad Raad , head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc
MP Mohammad Raad , head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc

The leader of Hezbollah ‘s parliamentary bloc hailed the “political role” of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, amid a war of words between the speaker’s AMAL Movement and controversial MP Jamil al-Sayyed.

Al-Sayyed, a former chief of Lebanon’s General Security agency, was elected as a parliament member representing the Baalbek-Hermel region after running on an electoral list formed by both Hezbollah and AMAL.

“This rotten regional, power-hungry and partisan fanaticism is a ploy to stir discord and everyone must confront it,” MP Mohammed Raad says in a video distributed heavily on social networking websites.

“This issue will not go unnoticed,” he stresses.

Raad adds: “The martyrs have united us and turned us into a respected force. We pride ourselves in our wise and courageous leadership and we pride ourselves in the political role that Speaker Nabih Berri is performing. It consolidates the unity of our people and we will not allow anyone to stir discord or to poison the relations, whether intentionally or unintentionally.”

“No one, near or far, will be able to fragment this path or to create gaps from which the enemies can penetrate… Small incidents cannot drag us anywhere, seeing as we are seeking to protect our country against the threats and to preserve its sovereignty,” Raad went on to say.

A war of words has escalated between al-Sayyed and the AMAL Movement in recent days.

Al-Sayyed accused some AMAL officials of accepting bribes and said the Movement’s MPs have not sought to improve the developmental situation in the impoverished Baalbek-Hermel region contrary to what they did in the South.

His remarks drew a violent response from the AMAL Movement, which issued an official statement accusing al-Sayyed of “launching accusations and fabricating stories to create a status for himself.”

“We will not be dragged into the sedition that he wants to stir in the (Shiite) arena,” AMAL added.

Generals Raymond Azar (bottom R) , Jamil Sayyed (top R) , Ali al-Hajj (bottom L) , and Mustafa Hamdan (top L) detained from 2005 to 2009 on suspicion of involvement in former PM Rafik Hariri’s murder. In April 2009, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL ) ordered their release without charges due to insufficient evidence. STL prosecutor made it clear at the time they were set free that their release did not mean they are Innocent and that once more evidence is available they could be back in jail.
Generals Raymond Azar (bottom R) , Jamil Sayyed (top R) , Ali al-Hajj (bottom L) , and Mustafa Hamdan (top L) detained from 2005 to 2009 on suspicion of involvement in former PM Rafik Hariri’s murder. In April 2009, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL ) ordered their release without charges due to insufficient evidence. STL prosecutor made it clear at the time they were set free that their release did not mean they are Innocent and that once more evidence is available they could be back in jail.

Born in the Bekaa village of al-Nabi Eila, Sayyed has a long political history that has garnered much media attention. This has been especially true in the past 11 years, as he was imprisoned on suspicion of involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and then later released due to lack of evidence.

Sayyed’s past is littered with incidents showing his opposition to president Michel Aoun, including instances in which police and intelligence agents oppressed Aoun supporters who were demonstrating against the Syrian presence in Lebanon, when Aoun was in self exile in France

Former President Emile Lahoud appointed Sayyed as the head of General Security. The two who were closely allied with the Syrian regime worked very closely together..

Following Hariri’s assassination the Cedar Revolution demonstrators demanded that Sayyed resign. He handed his position as head of General Security over to his deputy, Asaad Taesh, on May 5, 2005 . On August 25, Sayyed was arrested on suspicion of involvement in Hariri’s murder. He was held in prison for four years.