Nasrallah: Opposition Unanimously Agreed Not to Name Hariri as Lebanon's Next PM
Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday made his first public comments since the collapse of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government.
He defended the decision to bring down the government, saying Hizbullah did so without resorting to violence and will not be intimidated by world reaction.
"We carried out a constitutional, legal and democratic step to bring down the government. We did not use weapons," Nasrallah said. "We are not scared of speeches, statements or anyone's threats in this world."
He said the Opposition has unanimously agreed not to name Hariri as Lebanon's next prime minister.
"As soon as the Opposition raised the possibility of naming a candidate other than Hariri, every single Western capital mobilized" to promote the acting premier, Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
The crisis in Lebanon is the climax of long-simmering tensions over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Hizbullah denounces the STL as a conspiracy by the U.S. and Israel and has demanded Hariri's government reject the court's findings even before they come out.
Nasrallah accused the U.S. and Israel of torpedoing the Saudi-Syrian initiative that aimed to find an exit to the STL crisis.
"The U.S. and the Israelis have been rejecting the S-S agreement since the beginning," he said, wondering: "Is it possible for Americans to allow the success of the Arab bid which disrupts their sabotage effort?"
"After all those developments, can such a Government last?" Nasrallah wondered in reference to Hariri's Cabinet.
He said among the reasons for the government resignation, "its inability to refer the false witnesses issue to the Judicial Council and its inability to face the repercussions of indictments while insisting on financing a tribunal which is conspiring against the Resistance."
Nasrallah also believed there were two simultaneous paths -- the path of parliamentary consultations and the path of Bellemare.
"Whatever the outcome of consultations, the indictments are something else," he believed.
Nasrallah vowed "not to remain silent anymore" about any government that backs the false witnesses.
"We will not allow anybody to mess with the Resistance," he stressed.
Nasrallah reiterated that the indictment is "the work of Tel Aviv."
"I have already expressed my belief that the Israelis assassinated Rafik Hariri to change the whole situation in Lebanon," he added.
Nasrallah vowed that that Hizbullah would defend itself against likely charges over Hariri's murder on the eve of expected indictments in the case.
"We will not allow our reputation and our dignity to be tarnished nor will we allow anyone to conspire against us or to unjustly drench us in Hariri's blood," Nasrallah said.
"We will act to defend our dignity, our existence and our reputation," he added.
Nasrallah said Hizbullah would disclose in coming days how it planned to defend itself against the indictments.
His speech came one day before Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare was expected to submit his charges in the 2005 murder to pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen.
Lebanese officials said the government had been notified that the indictments would be submitted on Monday.