Hizbullah snapped back Thursday at caretaker premier Saad Hariri, who earlier in the day accused Tehran of trying to turn Lebanon and Gulf states into Iranian protectorates.
Hariri’s “provocative stances sincerely echoed U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ latest remarks about the Iranian role in the region,” read a statement released by Hizbullah's media relations department.
"His statement is an open attempt to mask U.S. interference in the region and the confiscation of the will of the people, who seek freedom and the end of American hegemony," it added.
It also aims to “deviate attention from the (Israeli) enemy’s practices against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Sector and the West Bank and its frenzied efforts to Judaize Jerusalem.”
Hizbullah stressed that Hariri’s stances “have nothing to do with Lebanon’s posture, role or interests, but they are rather in line with the goals of the U.S. scheme to sow discord among the countries and peoples of the region.”
This American scheme “has started to crumple since the defeat of the Israeli army in July 2006,” Hizbullah added, noting that WikiLeaks cables published recently by Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar “have unveiled how much Hariri counted on that war to make Lebanon a U.S.-Israeli protectorate.”
On a separate note, the party described “Hariri’s claim that the policy adopted since the beginning of Ivory Coast’s crisis is a foolish policy” as “an unfortunate attempt to evade his responsibilities as a caretaker premier.”
Hizbullah accused Hariri of “turning his back on this national issue,” wondering “where was the premier throughout the crisis, what has he done to tackle it and why has he turned a deaf ear to the appeals and demands of the (Lebanese) community” in civil war-torn Ivory Coast.
“His recent poor response aims to save face after things deteriorated and popular protests grew,” the party went on to say in its statement.
Hariri and Hizbullah, allied with rival regional power-houses Saudi Arabia and Syria respectively, have been locked in a standoff for months over the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is investigating the 2005 murder of Hariri's father, Rafik.
The Netherlands-based court is expected to be readying to implicate Hizbullah in the murder, an accusation the armed group has warned against.
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