Al-Rahi Says Hizbullah ‘Hegemony’ behind Economic and Financial Crisis

Lebanon's Maronite Christian Patriarch Bishara Rai speaks during an interview with AFP in his summer residence in Diman in northern Lebanon on September 6, 2012. Syria's Christians do not support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, but they do want stability in the war-torn country, Rai told AFP a week before the arrival in Lebanon of Pope Benedict XVI. AFP PHOTO / ANWAR AMRO

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi openly criticized Hizbullah on Thursday and blamed Lebanon’s compounded political, economic and financial crisis on its “hegemony” over the government and Lebanese politics.

“Lebanon is a meeting place for religions and sects that live orderly according to the constitution, the National Pact and the Taef Accord. What’s new today is that there is some sort of hegemony by Hizbullah over the government and Lebanese politics, due to engaging in Arab and international wars and events that Lebanon does not want in the first place,” al-Rahi said in an interview with the Vatican News portal.

“This has created a major political crisis and a very severe economic, financial and social crisis that the Lebanese are going through,” the patriarch added.

“Today we are saying that for the good of all Lebanese without exception, there is no salvation for Lebanon except through declaring the system of effective, positive and committed neutrality. This would pull us out of the hegemony of any Lebanese component and of political and military conflicts,” al-Rahi went on to say.

He noted that today Lebanon is facing threats because it has been “abandoned by the Arab countries, especially the Gulf, as well as Europe and America.”

“Everyone says that they can’t help Lebanon because through helping Lebanon they would be helping Hizbullah because it controls the country. We say that we are not against Hizbullah, but we want to live together equally and to build our Lebanese society,” al-Rahi added.

Asked about the mechanism to achieve Lebanon’s “neutrality,” the patriarch said one or two permanent U.N. Security Council member states can present a suggestion to the U.N. Secretary General to create “a system of positive and effective neutrality” for Lebanon.

“The Secretary-General would then put the issue to a vote… and we are counting on the effective role of the Holy See regarding this issue,” al-Rahi went on to say.



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