Alwaght- The secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement has warned on Friday that nationwide protests could push the country into chaos, collapse and, "God forbid," civil war.
“We have information that an anti-resistance scheme is being prepared for Lebanon. Several sides are exploiting popular protests to settle their account with Hezbollah and implement foreign agendas,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in an address to his supporters in a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Friday evening.
"Social and livelihood demands have been diverted to target (Hezbollah) resistance (movement). Some protests have been financed by embassies and suspicious sides. Certain elements are seeking to stir political tensions in Lebanon in a bid to create political vacuum in the country."
“Lebanon has entered a dangerous phase. There are prospects that our country will be politically targeted by international and regional powers,” Nasrallah noted.
The Hezbollah chief further underlined that some people are even after a military confrontation between Iran and the United States in the hope of changing regional equations and redrawing the map of the Middle East.
“What started spontaneously (in Lebanon) has been largely exploited by political parties. Blocking roads was something normal at the start of the protests, but some acts have been unacceptable,” Nasrallah said.
He emphasized that Hezbollah will not accept resignation of the current government and early parliament elections.
"We are open to any solution without resorting to political vacuum because it will be disastrous for the country,” Nasrallah said.
The Hezbollah secretary-general added that his movement cannot accept early parliamentary elections because it is a complicated issue.
“We are protecting the country against political vacuum, which could lead to deterioration. Our duty is to protect our country and people,” Nasrallah said.
The Hezbollah chief then called upon protesters to appoint a representative to discuss their demands with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
Nasrallah also described the raft of economic reforms approved by the cabinet as “the first step on the path to fight corruption,” saying “the popular protests have pushed Lebanese political parties and factions to get serious in the fight against corruption.”
“Popular protests indicate that people have regained self-confidence, and are harboring hopes for fundamental change. The government is committed to implement announced reforms on their due dates. Hezbollah will not allow any delay concerning their implementation,” he said.
The Hezbollah secretary-general then termed the dismissal of the package of reforms agreed by the Lebanese government as “wrong and suspicious.”
“Hezbollah can’t take part in popular protests since they have to be far away from political affiliations. We have stressed that Hezbollah respects the rallies,” Hezbollah said.
Growth in Lebanon has plummeted in the wake of endless political deadlocks and an economic crisis in recent years.
The country hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees, and their presence is often blamed for putting pressure on the already struggling economy.
Unemployment stands at more than 20 percent, according to official figures.
The Lebanese Finance Ministry says the national debt is hovering around $85 billion, which accounts for more than 150 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Successive governments have failed to address a waste management crisis or improve the electricity grid, which is plagued by daily power cuts.