Arab League Condemns Hezbollah Intervention in Syria, Nasrallah Criticism of Bahrain

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Friday, January 16, 2015

Lebanon on Thursday refused to comment on the statement made by the Arab ministers of foreign affairs condemning Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria saying it had “made it a field for violence and war.”

At a special meeting in Cairo, Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said that the League condemned all forms of foreign intervention in Syria, especially that of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, which has provided military support to Syrian government forces against the opposition militants.

In his latest interview with Al-Mayadeen television on Thursday, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said that Hezbollah fighters in Syria are battling extremist groups in an attempt to counter threats for Syria, Lebanon and the entire region.

He described the fight in Syria as “existential,” and said the plot against the neighboring country targets the resistance and their intervention into Syria was in order to preserve the country as well as Lebanon.

The Syrian conflict has been rife with foreign intervention, including that of Gulf Arab states, who have trained and armed rebels in the country.

In another statement, the Arab League foreign ministers expressed their total opposition to Nasrallah’s “repetitive interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain.”

They strongly condemned remarks by Nasrallah against Bahrain as “a clear and unacceptable interference” in the kingdom’s internal affairs, calling on the Lebanese government to take a clear stance on Hezbollah’s remarks.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil objected to the statements and dissociated himself from the decision in order to maintain the solidarity of the Lebanese government and its unity.

The Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Khaled bin Ahmad pointed out that the statement made by the Arab League with regards to the “terrorist” Nasrallah was “clear as day,” and that Lebanon must “stand with its brothers as they stood by it for better and for worse.”

On Bassil’s reservations bin Ahmad remarked that “the Lebanese delegate to the Arab League preferred to hold on to a fabricated national unity over the Arab solidarity that saved him from war and has not hesitated to stand by him at all times.”

He said that Lebanon was a great country that has been governed by honorable men, “as for today it is unfortunately being controlled by a terrorist agent.”

In a speech last week, Nasrallah criticized the Bahraini authorities for detaining Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of al-Wefaq opposition movement, and accused the al-Khalifa ruling family of “systematic naturalization of foreigners” in a bid to alter demographic balance in its favor.

The Bahraini regime described Nasrallah’s statements as “completely incompatible with the nature of the fraternal relations” between Lebanon and Bahrain, adding that “they harm mutual cooperation between both countries in various fields.”

Salman was arrested on December 28, a day after he, among other figures, led a peaceful rally near the capital Manama staged to protest against November's general elections, which the opposition boycotted, and call for the dismissal of both the parliament and the government.

Salman was accused of "insulting the judiciary and the executive branch,” "sectarian incitement,” "spreading false news likely to cause panic and undermine security," and "participation in events detrimental to the economy.”

Nasrallah said Bahraini protesters continue to peacefully demand the creation of a democratic constitutional monarchy, yet “the regime continues to violently crack down on all dissent.”

Countries worldwide denounced Salman’s arrest and over 37 international human rights organizations demanded in a statement his immediate and unconditional release following his arrest.

Salman “is known to be a political and national figure that has always called for dialogue and peaceful procedures as clearly stated in The Non-Violence Principles Declaration," the statement read. "He also calls for the peaceful transfer of power according to what international treaties stipulate.”

At least 93 people are estimated to have been killed in addition to hundreds arrested and tried, including political activists who have been prosecuted for attempting to expose the human rights violations by the ruling family, since peaceful protests erupted.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf neighbors sent troops into Bahrain in March 2011, reinforcing a crackdown that led to accusations of serious human rights violations.

Besides the Arab and foreign military presence in Bahrain, military cooperation with Western countries is very common in the oil-rich kingdom.

Britain said on December 5 it had sealed a deal to open a new military base in Bahrain, its first permanent base in the Middle East since it formally withdrew from the Gulf in 1971, drawing concern from Bahraini opposition groups.

Washington is also a long-standing ally of the ruling al-Khalifa dynasty, Bahrain being home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

(Elnashra, Al-Akhbar)


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