Nasrallah Slams Hariri, Expresses Support to Orthodox Gathering Proposal

Hizbullah Chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah lashed out on Saturday at ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri, accusing him of trying to strike a settlement over backing him for the premiership, expressing his support to the Orthodox Gathering electoral draft-law.

“You proposed to neutralize the arms of the resistance if we agreed to support you as a premier,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech commemorating Hizbullah’s “martyr leaders.”

He pointed out that Hizbullah rejected the deal over “national interests.”

Nasrallah stressed that “if the weapons of the resistance weren't to confront Israel it wouldn't be worth the sacrifice.”

Hariri said in a speech marking the 8th anniversary of ex-PM Rafik Hariri's murder that the “biggest predicament is that Hizbullah cannot see Lebanon without the military and security structure built by Iran over the last thirty years.”

Nasrallah addressed in his speech the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon probing the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

“When we deal with (Prime Minister Najib) Miqati's government, we are sure that it will not stab the resistance in the back,” he noted.

Hariri considered in Thursday's speech that Hizbullah “continues to bury its head in the sand and refuses to see the state of anxiety, alienation and division that exists in the Islamic arena as a result of its refusal to hand over the suspects.”

Four Hizbullah members have been named suspects by the STL in the Beirut truck bombing that killed Hariri and 21 others on Feb. 14 , 2005.

The party denies the charges and has refused to hand over the suspects.

Concerning the new electoral law, Nasrallah hailed the Orthodox Gathering proposal, saying: “We are convinced (that it achieves better representation) even if we had a priority to make Lebanon one district based on proportional representation.”

“We agreed on the Orthodox deaf-law and we will vote if it was proposed at the parliament,” he said.

The rival March 14 and 8 coalitions are holding crunch talks to find common ground over an electoral law to be adopted during the upcoming parliamentary election.

Several electoral draft laws have been proposed including the the so-called Orthodox Gathering proposal, which calls for a single district and allows each sect to vote for its own MPs under a proportional representation system.

But al-Mustaqbal bloc, from the opposition, and the the Democratic Gathering of centrist MP Walid Jumblat have criticized it and stood firm in favor of a winner-takes-all system.

Nasrallah said on Saturday that the split over the situation in Syria doesn't “mean that we want the turmoil to spill over into Lebanon.”

Lebanese parties are sharply divided over the situation in Syria with the opposition backing the revolt that began in March 2011, while Hizbullah and its allies supporting the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad.

“We believe in the rise of the state and the implementation of the Taif accord... We believe in coexistence and equality,” Hizbullah leader said.

Nasrallah downplayed the possibility of an Israeli attack on Lebanon, accusing Lebanese and Arab media outlets of “reporting such exaggerations.”

He rejected the Bulgarian accusations that Hizbullah was involved in the deadly attack on Israeli tourists last year.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu immediately blamed Hizbullah for the attack... But Israel doesn't wage a war as a reaction,” Nasrallah said in his speech.

Five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian driver were killed in a bus bombing at Burgas airport on the Black Sea in July, the deadliest attack on Israelis abroad since 2004.

Bulgaria recently formally blamed the attack on Hizbullah, triggering renewed pressure on the European Union to follow Canada, the United States and others in formally designating the movement a “terrorist group.”

The Bulgarian government said two people behind the attack held Canadian and Australian passports, but lived in Lebanon and were members of Hizbullah.

Hizbullah's chief pointed out that the developments in Syria didn't affect the resistance in Lebanon.

“The resistance in Lebanon is fully equipped and ready nowadays, we have everything we need to maintain our power... We don't need any arms from Syria... Israel realizes that,” Nasrallah stated.

He warned the Jewish state that the “resistance will not standstill before any attack on Lebanon and its territories.”

U.S. and Israeli officials have recently expressed concern that the “chaos” in the neighboring country Syria could allow Hizbullah to obtain sophisticated weapons from the Damascus regime.

Nasrallah offered his condolences over the death of Houssam Khosh Newes, an Iranian development officials, who was killed on his way to Lebanon from Syria.

He also saluted the Bahraini revolution, expressing hope that the national dialogue in the gulf country would be able to achieve the people's aspirations.

Hizbullah has been a strong advocate of the popular protests in Bahrain that began in 2011.

On Saturday, Bahrain's Information Minister Samira Rajab accused Hizbullah of “extremism” and "terrorism," describing it as a “terrorist militia.”

Ties between Lebanon and Bahrain reached an all-time low in 2011 when Nasrallah slammed the crackdown on the protesters.

His remarks prompted the Bahraini authorities to suspend the flights of Gulf Air and Bahraini Air between Manama and Beirut for several months.

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