Rifi Slams ex-Allies for 'Bowing to Hizbullah', Vows to Beat Party's Candidates in Polls

Former justice minister Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi has lashed out at his former allies in the March 14 coalition, accusing them of “bowing to Hizbullah.”

“Corrupts cannot build a state and those who surrender cannot build a state. We are against corruption and surrender,” Rifi said in an interview with Kuwait's al-Qabas newspaper.

"Some of us endorse a principled approach while others resort to pragmatism... Pragmatists might cooperate with the occupier in a certain period while principled individuals shun any post or personal gains,” Rifi added.

He warned that “the approach of pragmatism sometimes leads to high treason.”

“Military imbalance does not at all justify agreeing to Hizbullah's policies,” Rifi added, pledging to continue confronting the Iran-backed party his stances.

Asked about his opposition to Prime Minister Saad Hariri's policies, the ex-minister said: “He who wants to bow let him bow alone. I will not let leniency go down in my history and I cannot find a convincing justification for this.”

“Hizbullah cannot overlook or eliminate me, even if it possesses 200,000 rockets. I'm not engaged in a military confrontation with them. We're equal demographically and we are present on the same land,” Rifi went on to say.

As for the new government, the ex-minister described it as “Hizbullah's government.”

“The party has 17 ministers in this government and this is a major national crime against the cause,” Rifi lamented.

As for the districts in which he will field candidates in the next parliamentary elections, the ex-minister said he will have nominees in Tripoli, Minieh, Dinniyeh, Akkar, central and western Bekaa, Iqlim al-Kharroub and Beirut's second and third electoral regions.

“We will not engage in Sidon's electoral battle out of respect for (MP) Mrs. Bahia Hariri and ex-PM Fouad Saniora,” Rifi added.

“We will not allow a win for any of Hizbullah's candidates in our electoral strongholds,” the former minister vowed.

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