Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday evening denied “rumors” that his party was engaged in fighting in Syria and accused his opponents of seeking to stir sectarian strife in Lebanon.
“Media reports…[said] that there is a project between Hezbollah and the Syrian regime to control a number of Sunni towns in [Homs], like Qusayr, but there is no evidence backing these claims,” he said in reference to Syrian rebels’ allegations that Hezbollah had been fighting on the side of the Bashar al-Assad regime against the Free Syrian Army in Homs.
Last week, the Free Syrian Army said that it would target Hezbollah in retaliation to the Shiite party’s alleged campaign against rebels in Syria.
“Hezbollah members till now have not controlled any Sunni towns in the area at all,” the Hezbollah chief said, instead adding that “the armed opposition took over Shiite Lebanese towns and burned some of them like Em al-Damamel.”
Nasrallah also repudiated reports that he was ill, saying “the rumors… pushed me to move forward a media appearance,” in reference to Turkish Anadolu news agency’s report Tuesday night that the Hezbollah chief had been rushed to Iran after facing a medical emergency.
“The rumors prove that there has been a media war against Hezbollah in the past years.”
Nasrallah turned his ire to Sunni opponents, saying that their accusations against his party aimed to sow Shiite-Sunni discord in Lebanon, a country that is starkly divided over the conflict in Syria.
The pro-Damascus regime leader said that “differences in point of views on Syria is not a Sunni-Shiite conflict, it is a political one,” and rejected accusations from critics that his party had been involved in recent security incidents in the country.
“They want to lure us into conflict.”
Nasrallah asked: “Are there no sages? Is there no responsible state? Are we asked to fight each other?”
“We want to make sure that nobody does anything [wrong] to us. We do not want to [storm] anyone’s apartment or mosque. We are busy as it is with [finding ways] to stand up against the Israeli enemy and this country is all of our responsibility.”
Nasrallah added that “we must make all efforts to maintain it [Lebanon] and the state must be [aware] of its responsibilities.”
The Hezbollah chief turned to domestic political disputes, denying that Hezbollah was seeking to delay the parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2013.
“Most law proposals give us the majority, therefore it is in our interest to hold the elections on time.”
As for the ongoing public sector strike, he called for “the cabinet to hold an emergency session and transfer the law to the parliament.”
“[Lebanon’s Economic Committees] should not be threatening the government,” he said in reference to the committees’ announcement to boycott the upcoming sessions on economic dialogue after Premier Najib Miqati called for the parliament earlier in February to discuss raising public teachers’ salaries.
“In parliament the Syndicate Coordination Committee, the Economic Committees and all other concerned parties will discuss their point of views.”
Lebanese school teachers and government employees are on an ongoing open strike which began on February 19 and have been staging general strikes across the country demanding that the government speed up its approval of wage increases.
In early September 2012, the Lebanese cabinet approved a new ranks and salaries system. However, a debate is ongoing regarding the requisite funds to cover the wage increase for public employees.
The Hezbollah leader also voiced his readiness to support an electoral law based on one electoral constituency and proportional voting in which Lebanese citizens would vote for candidates in a parliament evenly split between Christians and Muslims.
“There is an opportunity for the national and humanitarian dream to come true through this proposal.”
Hezbollah has retained a low profile regarding the Orthodox electoral law—which calls for proportional voting along sectarian lines—approved earlier in February by the joint parliamentary commissions, but the party has backed the Free Patriotic Movement’s endorsement for the Orthodox law.