Bassil says doesn't see Lebanon as part of 'Shiite Crescent'


Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has described has current relation with Hezbollah as “ordinary.”

“There was an understanding between us and the part related to protecting Lebanon is still in place while the part related to domestic policies has been shaken,” Bassil said in an interview on al-Mashhad TV.

“It is a must to respect the will of the Christian component regarding the presidency and today Hezbollah is not doing that. They are practicing the opposite of what they did in 2016 when they respected this will through the election of General (Michel) Aoun as president, Bassil added.

As for his warming relation with Speaker Nabih Berri, the FPM chief described the ties as “positive,” noting that “there are mutual positive intentions from the two sides with the aim of exiting the crisis.”

Bassil also stressed that he does not see Lebanon as being part of the so-called “Shiite Crescent.”

“I do not agree to this,” he added.

The Shiite Crescent is the notionally crescent-shaped region of the Middle East where the majority population is Shiite or where the population contains a sizable Shiite minority. In recent years the term has come to identify areas under Iranian influence or control.

Areas in the Shiite Crescent include Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Yemen and western Afghanistan. The term was coined in 2004 by King Abdullah II of Jordan at a time when Iran was reportedly interfering in Iraq in the run-up to the January 2005 parliamentary elections.

“It is clear that the bonding line that Iran is establishing is military and it seems that it has managed to impose itself and the West is dealing with it accordingly. Amid this scene, I don’t want Lebanon to pay the price, neither through war nor through the change of its identity,” Bassil added.

“Any component cannot impose anything on Lebanon,” he emphasized.

Warning that “if we put the resistance ahead of the state, the state will disintegrate,” Bassil said the country needs “a consensual president who would not come with an anti-resistance vision.”

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