Naharnet

Arslan Forges 'Unified Stance' with Jumblat against Takfiris as PSP Chief Urges Supporting Army

Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat noted on Sunday that the fight against the Islamic State group is still “at the beginning,” as Lebanese Democratic Party chief MP Talal Arslan said there is a “unified stance” with the head of the Progressive Socialist Party in the face of the “impending danger.”

“Political diversity in Baisour is valuable for Lebanon and the nation and we must preserve diversity in order to boost stability and fight the takfiris,” said Jumblat during a joint visit with Arslan to the Aley District town.

“We salute the martyrs of the army and the Internal Security Forces, through whom we foiled major terrorist plots,” Jumblat added, referring to the recent battle against extremist groups in the Bekaa border town of Arsal and its surroundings.

“We're still in the beginning of the road in front of a beast that is killing everyone in sight, not only Christians but also Yezidis,” the Druze leader said of the Islamic State's persecution of minorities in Iraq.

For his part, Arslan warned that Lebanon is facing an “impending danger.”

“In the face of this threat there is no room for hesitation or for wasting time with political and sectarian absurdities and lethal selfishness,” he added.

“So many times have we sacrificed our rights for the sake of civil peace among the Lebanese and to consolidate stability, without which the country and the economy would collapse,” Arslan pointed out.

“We immediately unite our concerns and rise above some of our differences whenever we sense that there is a looming danger that is threatening the country,” the Druze lawmaker added.

He saluted “the martyrs of the national Islamic resistance (Hizbullah) who fell in Syria in defense of Lebanon and the Lebanese people.”

On his warming ties with Jumblat, Arslan added: “We stress the firmness of our unified stance with Walid Beik and we won't allow anyone to harm Lebanon's unity.”

“We underscore our full embracement of our dear army and we insist that it should be equipped. We salute its martyrs and underline its role in protecting Lebanon,” he stated.

Earlier on Sunday, Jumblat highlighted the importance of supporting the army, considering it a “mandatory” issue in Lebanon's battle against terrorism.

“Our fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and terrorism is still at the beginning,” Jumblat said as he toured the Aley town of Kayfoun.

The fighting that erupted in the northeastern town of Arsal on August 2 between Islamist gunmen and the Lebanese army has raised new concerns about the effects of the Syrian conflict on Lebanon.

Despite officially distancing itself from the war, Lebanon's existing sectarian and political tensions have been worsened by the conflict next door.

It is also hosting more than one million Syrian refugees, who have tested its limited resources and the patience of its four million citizens.

Jumblat also lashed out at politicians, without naming them, who compared Hizbullah to ISIL, describing the accusations as “heresy” and "stupidity."

On Thursday, Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said that Hizbullah and ISIL are similar, pointing out that “Hizbullah's Iranian project in Lebanon doesn't differ much from ISIL's plans.”

Turning to the presidential impasse, Jumblat pointed out that the “issue concerns all the Lebanese and not only the Christians.”

The Druze leader revealed that he is seeking with Speaker Nabih Berri and Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to “reach a settlement to end the deadlock.”

He noted that state institutions must not be paralyzed.

Lebanon's top Christian post was left vacant in May this year when the rival MPs failed to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman over their differences on a compromise candidate.

The majority of the March 8 alliance's MPs, including Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun's parliamentary bloc, boycotted the sessions aimed at electing a head of state, causing lack of quorum.

H.K./Y.R.


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