A report from the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors, translates and reports on media activity in the region, has documented a claim from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah about Christian “forces” in the region.
That is that the Lebanese Forces Party “has an armed force of 100,000 fighting men,” according to the MEMRI documentation.
Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist political party and militant group and its financial arm recently was designated by Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organization.
The Lebanese Forces, meanwhile, is a former militia and now political party that holds 15 of the 64 Christian seats in Lebanon’s parliament.
It has battled, at various times, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Lebanese National Movement, the National Resistance Front, the Syrian Army and more.
The comments from Nasrallah came in a public address that was aired on U-News in Lebanon recently.
Nasrallah said that the Lebanese Forces Party really wants a civil war in Lebanon, which will drive the Christians into Christian enclaves ruled by the Lebanese Forces Party. He added that Hezbollah has an armed force of 100,000 fighting men. He explained that he is divulging this information in order to “prevent civil war” rather than to instigate one. Nasrallah’s speech comes following a recent shootout in which seven members of Hezbollah were killed.
The AP reported that the speech “appeared to be meant as a deterrent to domestic foes following the nation’s worst internal violence in years.”
Just recently, a gunfight on a Beirut street resulted in the deaths of seven people, and appeared to be part of a long-running dispute over last year’s port blast in the city. That explosion happened Aug. 4, 2020, and killed 215 people.
The report explained, “It is difficult to verify the 100,000 fighters figure as Hezbollah is largely secretive. If true, it would be larger than the size of Lebanon’s armed forces, estimated at about 85,000.”
Nasrallah claimed that the leader of a Christian party there, Samir Geagea, was trying to trigger a civil war.
The report noted that at the end of 15 years of civil war in the country, back in 1990, Hezbollah retain its weapons, but no other group did.
Since then it has repeatedly engaged in wartime behavior against Israel.
Recent street clashes have focused on claims that a judge in charge of the port blast review was biased.
The report said Nasrallah was accusing Geagea and his party of seeking to scare Lebanon’s Christians over Hezbollah’s intentions. AP reported, “He said that’s mostly to serve foreign countries that have also made the Shiite group an enemy, including the United States, Israel and some Gulf states.”
Geagea is an ally of Saudi Arabia, but that country opposes Hezbollah, which has the backing of Iran.
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