On February 16, the website of the March 14 forces, 14march.org, carried the following report by Tareq Najm:
Sheikh Mohammad al-Hajj Hassan, the leader of the Free Shia Movement, praised the positions adopted on February 14, 2011 considering they set the foundations for a new stage. He assured in exclusive statements to 14march.org that Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri always enjoyed positions that were far away from sectarianism and that his choice to head toward the opposition was right on the mark. Al-Hajj Hassan also criticized Hezbollah and the March 8 team in general, for having used arms on the domestic arena and for having wasted the S-S initiative by stabbing Al- Hariri in the back. And while he congratulated the Tunisian and Egyptian people for their revolutions, [he] warned however against an Iranian exploitation of the freedoms of the people to strike the leaders of the Arab world and the stability of the Arab countries, in order to spread its influence and set the foundation for its Persian empire.
At the beginning of his statements to our website, Sheikh Al-Hajj Hassan considered that “such positions should have been adopted a long time ago and should have been expressed by the leaders of the Cedars Revolution as the spokesmen of the Lebanese people who rebelled on March 14, 2005 not for the person of Rafik al-Hariri and the honorable martyrs who fell with him, but for the state of institutions and freedoms that can uphold the citizens’ rights and stop the practices of the security regime. But maybe the brothers in March 14 were wagering on the path of dialogue and understanding, in order for the work to be done with all the people of this country. But since the faces were exposed on May 2008…, we had hoped to see the adoption of this position at the time, due to the fact that the attack was not only against the Beirut population, but against those who represent the Beirut population, the Northern population and all the Lebanese in their march toward the project of the state.”
His Eminence described this step as being “gigantic,” adding: “The leaders of the Cedars Revolution should learn from what happened to them in the past and we should learn how to maintain the revolution of the youth on March 14, 2005 based on what the youth want and not on the interests of some. Therefore, we say that today it is possible to open a new page, in order to revive the spirit of March 14 and launch a serious opposition to correct the flaw, i.e. the hijacking of power and the decision of the Lebanese state by hands that are unfortunately not Lebanese. We are now in this opposition that was launched yesterday by Sheikh Saad al-Hariri. We will oppose any process targeting the status of the state or any Lebanese citizen…”
He then commented on the clarification presented by Prime Minister Al- Hariri regarding the fact that the international tribunal was not directed against the Shia sect by saying: “Al-Hariri issued many previous positions to clarify this issue. Ever since Jamil al-Sayyed and his leaks to Der Spiegel emerged, Saad al-Hariri has been saying that the Shia sect was not targeted, that no specific party was targeted and that the issue was related to individuals, regardless of the side to which they belong… We are convinced there are wise people in the Shia sect who enjoy free thinking and will realize that no one in Lebanon is targeting them, and that there are rather some in Lebanon targeting the project of the state. At this point, there are two options: either to live under the rule of the state that protects all the sects, or be under the mercy of a sectarian mini-state affiliated with an Islamic state called Iran, in which case each Lebanese sect will have to define its own fate.”
Al-Hajj Hassan then criticized Hezbollah’s use of the arms on several occasions, assuring: “Through its weapons and this tool, Hezbollah is trying to subjugate the Lebanese, to secure political gains and to divest the people of their rights and freedoms. I do not think this is the last time Hezbollah will use these weapons on the domestic arena. Therefore, I call on all the sides to adopt a unified position whenever these arms are used…, and call on the Lebanese army and the security forces to impose their authority over all the Lebanese territories without any exception...”
Asked why he suspended his participation in the commemoration of the martyrdom of Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, His Eminence indicated: “The suspension of the participation was due to the wrong dealing by the March 14 forces General Secretariat with the independent Shia of the Cedars Revolution. The latter should have been included in its decisions, so that the Shia citizens feel they are part of this popular uprising in rejection of tutelage and monopolization. We rejected this situation and said that the responsibility should be common. Our role should not be limited to attending celebrations or occasions to which we are invited to sit in the front row and applaud…” Sheikh Al-Hajj Hassan concluded by saying: “We should not be very pleased about what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, although we highly value the cries of the rebellious youth who rose in favor of their rights and freedoms. We should not disregard what lies under these demands and uprisings in terms of conspiracies being weaved to undermine stability in the Arab region. This is not in defense of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali or President Hosni Mubarak, but rather to prevent the Arab leaders from becoming prone to attacks whenever others wish to strike them.”
Al-Hajj Hassan thus called for the “assessment of the statements of the Iranians whose arrogance reached the point of asking the ruling Egyptian military council to immediately form a civilian government. Moreover, the Iranians are saying that the face of the region will change and that a new Islamic Middle East is imminent. We ask the latter to stop their lies and hypocrisy under the headline of the freedom of the people and at the expense of their suffering... We must be alert because the Iranian regime wants to destroy the Arab nation to achieve its dream of establishing the Persian Empire… However, this will not be seen because we are holding on to our Arab identity and with God’s will, the Tunisian and Egyptian people will enjoy stability imminently. At this point I blame some television channels that showed hypocrisy and encouraged strife during the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, but we did not see them doing the same today toward the uprising of the people in Bahrain and Iran.”