image Photo: Reuters, Flash90

Macron blames Hezbollah for Lebanon’s woes

Lebanon’s Prime Minister-Designate Mustapha Adib rendered his resignation even before taking office, after being unable to form a government of specialists to implement critically-needed reform.

After saying he was “doomed to fail” at meeting criteria set for coalescing a ruling government, Mustapha Adib announced that “out of my concern for national unity with its constitutionality and its credibility, I excuse myself from the task of forming the government.” He then wished his successor “to handle this daunting task”… “all the luck confronting the dangers facing our country, people and economy.”

The outgoing Prime Minister-Designate also said he wished to “sincerely apologize to the Lebanese people, who suffered and are still suffering,” for his inability “to form a reformative team, to work with the initiative of French President (Emmanuel) Macron for the Lebanese people.”

He closed his farewell address by expressing his assurance “that this initiative must continue because it shows good will from France and President Macron personally to support Lebanon. God protects Lebanon and the Lebanese people.”

French President Macron responded to Adib’s resignation with vocal displeasure at Beirut leaders. “What happened these past hours, these past days, is a fundamental clarification: the Lebanese political forces, their leaders, the leaders of Lebanese institutions did not want – clearly, resolutely, explicitly – did not want to respect the commitments made to France and the international community,” decried Macron, adding, “They decided – and I am obliged to make a cruel observation for all of us – one month later, they decided to betray this commitment.”

The French leader attributed full responsibility to the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah and its Shi’ite ally Amal for the failure to reach a political consensus. “I understood who has been deciding. Hezbollah. And I understood that the desire of Amal (political party associated with Shia community) and Hezbollah – and this is what happened these past days – was to not give any concessions, was to not respect what they had told me, explicitly across from the table, eye-to-eye, that yes there was a government on a mission, that yes there was a roadmap to reform.”

Macron went on to argue that, “Hezbollah can’t be at the same time an army at war with Israel, an unrestrained militia against civilians in Syria and a respectable party in Lebanon. It must not believe that it is stronger than it is. And it’s for them to demonstrate that they respect the Lebanese people as a whole. These past days, they have clearly shown the opposite.”

President Macron concluded by warning the Lebanese leadership that they have only 4 to 6 weeks to get in line.

Nevertheless in response to a question, the French leader commented that punitive sanctions against Lebanon will only be considered at a later stage, in conjunction with other powers.