Nasrallah says March 8 agreed to not support Hariri for premiership

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday said that the March 8 coalition has agreed to not back Prime Minister Saad Hariri as the next premier of Lebanon.

We will not remain silent on a cabinet that protects “false witnesses,” he added during a televised speech.

“We act according to our convictions. We should be thanked that we resigned in a constitutional way.”

The Hezbollah chief did not name who he supports to become the next premier, but said that the parliamentary blocs will announce their nominees on Monday.

Nasrallah also that Hezbollah will deal with the issues of the premiership consultations and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) upcoming indictment independent of each other.

“I know for sure that the Lebanese government was officially informed that the indictment will be submitted [to STL Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen] on Monday.”

The Hezbollah chief also spoke about the Saudi-Syrian efforts to resolve the political impasse in Lebanon, blaming the US and Israel for their collapse.

He added that his party’s demands in the talks were for Lebanon to withdraw its judges from the STL, quit funding the tribunal, and abrogate its agreement with the court.

According to Nasrallah, Saudi Arabia and Hariri agreed to the three conditions and made demands of their own, one of them being for March 8 to drop the issue of witnesses who gave unreliable testimonies to the international investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

However, he added that out of nowhere Saudi Arabia contacted Damascus and said it can no longer carry out the efforts.

“[Hariri] acted in a way that prevented [Lebanon] from containing the repercussions of the STL’s indictment.”

Lebanon's unity government collapsed Wednesday after Hezbollah and its allies pulled their 10 ministers from cabinet and one minister close to President Michel Sleiman announced his withdrawal, providing the necessary number of resignations for the government to fall.

Syrian and Saudi officials were reportedly communicating to resolve the crisis after March 8 and March 14 ministers were for months deadlocked over how to resolve the issue of “false witnesses.” 

Hariri is now heading a caretaker government pending the outcome of consultations due to start Monday between Sleiman and parliamentarians on the appointment of a new premier.

For more of the speech, click here.  

-NOW Lebanon 

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    Nasrallah has brought the Shia community imaginary victories and real misery and isolation. Hizbollah has used bullying tactics that destroyed trust and useful idiots that split communities. Worse, if STL accusations are true (hopefully not), Hizb would cause generational harms to its community. M14 should not commit similar mistakes and start addressing the legitimate concerns of the Shia community and providing them with a convincing alternative to Hizb’s nightmare , obsessions, obstructions, culture of hate and war, and indoctrination. This requires developing real plans to bring equal education, services, and opportunities to all Lebanon, and giving Shia an effective role in executive power. It is time to live up to Gebran's Oath and bring the Shia under the tent of freedom and democracy to be one of the most important foundations of our democracy and a light of democracy and civility for the growing Shia communities throughout the world.

    January 16, 2011