Lebanon wants its identity back , says Patriarch Rai

File photo of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai in a Sunday sermon.

In an indirect criticism of the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group over its role in regional conflicts, Maronite Patriarch Beshara el-Rahi renewed on Tuesday his calls for Lebanon neutrality towards regional conflicts, stressing that Lebanon has become isolated and is losing its original identity.

“We said nothing new when we demanded Lebanon’s neutrality from regional conflicts. We want back our basic identity, a neutral Lebanon, a civil state, pluralism and coexitence,” said Rai in a statement from the patriarch’s his residence in the northern town of Dimane.

“Lebanon was open to all countries, east and west, except Israel which occupied our land. Lebanon was Switzerland of the east … Today, Lebanon has become isolated from the whole world. This is not our identity. Our identity is positive and constructive neutrality, not a warrior Lebanon,” added the Patriarch.

Lebanon was Switzerland of the east … Today, Lebanon has become isolated from the whole world. This is not our identity. Our identity is positive and constructive neutrality, not a warrior Lebanon,” said Patriarch Rai.

He emphasized that “neutrality is a basic international, European and Arab demand. When we demand neutrality we demand commitment to justice, safety, human rights and that bridge between the East and West. We must not antagonize the whole nations.”

The 2012 Baabda Declaration, which had underscored Lebanon’s neutrality with regard to the events in the Middle East region was aimed at dissociating Lebanon from regional conflicts, but Hezbollah which signed off on the declaration continues to violate it .

Its support for the Syrian regime and the Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Shiite militias throughout the Middle East where Iran is involved and its attacks against the Arabian gulf countries have isolated Lebanon from its traditional allies.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah even pledged allegiance to Iran in September 2019 . Iran on the other hand claims its borders starts in southern Lebanon , a Hezbollah stronghold bordering Israel.

Lebanon’s main problem

With its arms Hezbollah has been able to completely control all the 3 branches of the government .

Thru its alliance with the Amal Movement which is headed by Speaker Nabih Berri it controls the leadership of the parliament and thru its alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement whose founder is Michel Aoun, it now controls the presidency and by appointing PM Diab ( who is only supported by Hezbollah and its allies ) Hezbollah now controls the government .

For this reason many analysts claim that Lebanon a has become a colony of Iran that is administered by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

For the same reasons there has been many protests calling for implementing UN Resolution 1559 which calls for disarming Hezbollah

Lebanese politician Dr. Ahmed Fatfat, a former minister of youth and sports, said recently that all the militias in his country – first and foremost Hezbollah – should be dismantled in accordance with the Taif Agreement and the Lebanese constitution. ( Hezbollah was the only militia that did not give up its arms at the end of the civil war )

Hezbollah has been designated as a terrorist group by several western countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Argentina, Paraguay , as well as some Arab League members . Some countries, such as Australia and France, classify Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization.

Fatfat recently told the media that Hezbollah , which has carried out acts of terrorism in several countries including Lebanon is Lebanon’s main problem.

He added

It is preventing any reforms in the country from taking place.

It is occupying Lebanon and its political decision-making process;

It believes in Iran’s Rule of Jurisprudence ( Wilayat al Faqih ) rather than the Lebanese Constitution

Hassan Nasrallah, is effectively the person ruling Lebanon not president Aoun

Lebanon is suffering a financial meltdown which marks the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.

Lebanon’s crisis is rooted in decades of state corruption and bad governance by the sectarian ruling elite and Hezbollah with its arms is now the main defender of the corrupt political class in Lebanon, according to observers

Hezbollah’s alliance with Iran has isolated Lebanon from the Gulf Arab states that used to be Lebanon’s main source of financial aid

Nasrallah has called on Lebanon to look east ( to China ) as it seeks help to fix the economy, but China’s horror stories about its debt traps scare the Lebanese.