Alwaght- The head of Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea recently at a private meeting with Walid Jumblatt of Progressive Socialist Party proposed the resignation of lawmakers of the two parties and added that he was bent on confronting Hezbollah “to the end.” He reportedly said that “I have 15,000 fighters and we can counter Hezbollah which is very weakened due to home and regional conditions.”
The remarks by the former militia commander come as Lebanon is undergoing a state of political disorder and crisis as the PM-designate Mustafa Adib failed to form a new cabinet and stepped down from the post two weeks ago.
The threats give rise to a question: Why is Geagea making such comments at the time being and essentially what is behind his remarks about readiness to counter and even wage a war against Hezbollah?
Geagea: A criminal-turned-politician
To shed light on the recent comments by Geagea, we need to take a flashback to the past and records of the warlord-turned-politician. Geagea is one of the main actors of the Lebanese civil war that started in the 1970s and ended in 1990 with the Syrian intervention. He was commander of Christian militias dubbed “Falangists” during the civil war. When the war ended, he rose to act in politics as a pro-Western anti-resistance figure.
Geagea, 68, carried out many political assassinations and kidnapping operations. For example, in 1982 his fighters kidnapped four Iranian diplomats at a checkpoint, with their fate remaining unknown to date. He also was an accomplice to the Israeli massacre of Palestinian and Shiite Lebanese refugees in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1989, during which over 3,000 innocent civilians were killed.
After the war, the Judicial Council, Lebanon's highest court, tried and imprisoned him for war crimes. His initial verdict was execution, however it was shifted to life sentence. He was handed life sentences several times for political assassinations, including killing Prime Minister Rashid al-Karami in 1987. He however was released after 11 years in prison in 2005 following a parliamentary bill granting amnesty, turning into one of the key poles of power within the ranks of the Western-sponsored March 14 Alliance. He is presently leading part of the Christians in the country. His record of the civil war shows that he is seeking to ignite a new crisis and even farther a new civil war in the shadow of the unfolding political developments in the country.
Geagea, a pawn to the crisis-making domino
In analyzing Geagea’s recent announcement about readiness for a military confrontation with Hezbollah in the current conditions the secret Saudi and American role in provoking him to create a crisis and conclude the plot of driving Hezbollah out of the government and the politics should be taken into consideration.
Over the past years, Washington and Riyadh have gone to great lengths to expel the resistant movement from the political structure only to meet their failure each time. Over the past few months, especially after the suspicious blast that destroyed a vast part of the capital Beirut including the vital port, the Americans and Saudis, as well as the Israelis, stepped up their anti-Hezbollah push.
Meanwhile, Geagea and his forces are the pieces of the puzzle to implement the anti-Hezbollah scheme. The basis of the plan is that the government in Lebanon sinks in unending crises and instability, so complicated that no manager can settle the national troubles.
The third layer of the plot is preventing the formation of a coalition government. As it was clear, they faked a blast to fail the government of PM Hassan Diab. The next move was setting up big roadblocks ahead of Adib’s efforts to form a new government.
As part of this path, Geagea in the past few months put the skids under all of the political initiatives, including that proposed by France. Absence in Diab’s government, avoiding cooperation with Adib, and showing lack of commitment even now that Hariri can secure the PM post all signal his meaningful political actions.
From another aspect, it can be asked that in such critical economic conditions, where the budget for 15,000 fighters and their arms come from and why the US and Europe which constantly seek Hezbollah disarmament never question arms of the Geagea militia that has a black criminal record.
It can be daringly said that Geagea and his militia are a pawn to the American, Saudi, and Israeli program to fuel crisis in Lebanon and pressure the Hezbollah to concede to the so-called technocratic government, whose sole aim is to isolate the movement in politics, and disarmament.
Can Geagea threats against Hezbollah be implemented on the ground?
Certainly, the anti-Hezbollah threats of the former warlord are to prepare the ground for a new civil war and implementation of “scorched earth” policy, reminding the bitter years of the civil war in the country.
This situation only serves the sides and parties that are afraid of democracy and resorting to ballot boxes, where the Lebanese resistance managed to garner public support and win the 2018 general elections. Contrary to Geagea's actions and behavior, Hezbollah and resistance’s arms in Lebanon serve the national security and independence in the face of the Israeli threats and at home Hezbollah is committed to democracy.
In the current conditions threatening to resort to scorched earth to put strains on Hezbollah is unviable. In case of such threat, Hezbollah, which is now a regional actor paralyzing the armed-to-the-teeth and allegedly invincible Israeli military, can nip in the bud any internally assisted foreign conspiracy with the help of the army and popular forces as it foiled ISIS emergence conspiracy in Lebanon in 2016 and 2017.