|The News Line: Feature
Monday, 18 March 2019
Germany refuses to follow UK over Hezbollah!
THE United Arab Emirates has denied Lebanon’s embassy officials the right to meet with eleven Lebanese citizens arrested in the Persian Gulf state over ties to the resistance movement Hezbollah, a media report says.
|Hezbollah fighters in the winter snow in Aleppo
According to a report by Al-Akhbar, the UAE is blocking diplomatic efforts to secure the release of these Lebanese nationals, who are in prison for two separate cases.
In the first case, three Lebanese citizens Ali Hassan al-Mubdar, Abdullah Hani Abdullah, and Ahmad al-Makkawi have been jailed since 2015 on charge of disclosing the UAE government’s ‘secrets’ to Hezbollah.
In a video message in October 2018, al-Makkawi said he had been severely tortured by UAE officials, and called for an international probe into the issue. However, the Lebanese embassy’s request to meet the detainees in Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Prison was rejected by authorities, who said such a meeting needed the prosecutor’s permission.
The prosecutor in January rejected the Lebanese embassy’s second request for a meeting, citing ‘national security’ concerns. The top security court in the United Arab Emirates has given life sentences to eleven people accused of planning terror attacks in the country.
In the second case, the UAE claims the eight Lebanese citizens have engaged in establishment of a Hezbollah ‘cell’ in the Persian Gulf country. The eight detainees have been imprisoned since February 2018, and the Lebanese government has failed to receive any information about their conditions.
During the past few years, Emirati officials have in numerous cases arrested, tried, and imprisoned individuals from Lebanon and other Arab states on charge of being linked to the Hezbollah resistance group, a key part of Lebanon’s politics.
The UAE is criticised by human rights organisations for not having any democratically-elected institutions, disappearances of foreign nationals and Emirati citizens, numerous instances of torture in incarceration, and denying prisoners’ right to a speedy trial and access to counsel.
• Germany has refused to follow Britain’s lead in designating the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation despite pressures from Saudi Arabia and the United States, a senior official says.
The decision was announced on Friday by Minister of State Niels Annen in an interview with the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel after his visit to Lebanon.
Annen described Hezbollah as ‘a relevant factor in Lebanese society’, and said Germany ‘was interested in Lebanese stability’.
Berlin made the decision despite the fact that it may fuel tensions with Saudi Arabia and the United States, which have been pressurising their allies to ban the Lebanese movement. Annen rejected US criticism that Berlin was doing too little to combat Iran’s influence in the region and said his country’s foreign policy remained focused on finding political solutions even in tough situations.
The British government last month designated the entire Hezbollah organisation – both its political and military wings – as a terrorist entity. It had previously blacklisted Hezbollah’s military apparatus as a ‘terrorist group’. Hezbollah strongly condemned the move, and described it as an insult to the Lebanese nation.
‘The British government, in this decision, insulted the sentiments and the free will of the Lebanese people, who consider Hezbollah such a political and popular force that they granted it big representation in Parliament and Cabinet,’ Hezbollah said in a statement released after the UK’s decision.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah has issued a statement ‘strongly rejecting’ a British decision to consider the resistance movement a terrorist organisation. Hezbollah is strongly supported by the people of Lebanon and has a strong representation in the country’s political process, especially after its victory in last year’s elections, where it won over half of the parliamentary seats.
As a result of the victory, it later gained control over three of 30 ministries in the government led by Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the largest number ever. In remarks made earlier on Friday, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah condemned the British government’s decision to outlaw Hezbollah in its entirety, stating that some countries would follow suit.
‘They list us as a terrorist organisation because they have failed in their military confrontations and schemes, and are fearful of a new war. Hezbollah’s will power and might is getting stronger day by day indeed,’ he noted.
Britain has become increasingly angered by Hezbollah’s role in an anti-militancy campaign in Syria, where London has for the past eight years supported terrorist groups opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah has played a major role in helping Assad purge the Syrian territory from terrorist groups. The intervention, once criticised inside Lebanon, has helped the resistance movement increase its political clout as the group now controls three ministries, a first in the history of the Lebanese government.
The Israeli regime swiftly welcomed Britain’s decision, with Israeli Security Minister Gilad Erdan saying in a tweet that the European Union, which unlike the United States has opposed the designation of Hezbollah as terrorist entity, should follow suit.
• The secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah says the anti-Israel resistance front, thanks to solid and unwavering support from Iran and Syria, has well managed to frustrate the Tel Aviv regime’s plots in the Middle East. ‘All Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups, supported by Iran and Syria, thwarted the project to pull the plug on the front. The steadfastness and resilience demonstrated by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Gazans, Syria as well as Iran foiled the fiendish plot against the region back in 2006,’ Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Friday evening.
He then praised the sacrifices made by all members of the Islamic Resistance Support Association, especially the female members, over the past 30 years.
Nasrallah also condemned a recent decision by the British government to outlaw Hezbollah in its entirety, stating that some countries would follow suit. Lebanon’s Hezbollah has issued a statement ‘strongly rejecting’ a British decision to consider the resistance movement a terrorist organisation.
‘They list us as a terrorist organisation because they have failed in their military confrontations and schemes, and are fearful of a new war. Hezbollah’s will power and might is getting stronger day by day indeed. ‘The latest US sanctions are part of the psycho-economic war against us. We expect further sanctions and punitive financial measures against Hezbollah and all its allies in the Middle East.
‘The financial difficulties, which the anti-Israel axis of resistance is currently enduring, are part of the US-Israeli war on it. ‘We must weather difficulties through patience, tolerance and good management,’ he said.
Nasrallah further noted that the United States wants to achieve through economic war what it has failed to accomplish via acts of aggression. The US has imposed new sanctions on Hezbollah, but observers say Lebanon as a whole will be affected by the punitive measures. He expressed hope that Hezbollah will eventually emerge victorious from the ongoing financial war.
Nasrallah added that Hezbollah has managed to collect more than two million dollars in donations for the crisis-hit Yemeni people, and transferred the money to relevant authorities there to be distributed among needy people. Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah touched down on the fight against corruption in Lebanon, stating that Hezbollah has launched the campaign in the country in order to preserve its national victories.
‘We have already announced that fighting corruption and reducing bureaucracy must be among the major priorities of the incumbent Lebanese government. If the economy is in the doldrums, then the government would collapse and everything would be in disorder. We cannot stand idly by and watch Lebanon plunge into chaos,’ he commented.
A Hezbollah legislator has urged the new Lebanese government to launch talks with banks to bring down the cost of servicing the state’s public debt. Nasrallah underlined that Hezbollah will never sacrifice Lebanon’s national interests to boost its own popularity, emphasising that his movement will support any group or party that would contribute to the battle against corruption.
‘Corrupt people and thieves are standing against this campaign. We will not get tired and will never lose our hopes in this regard. Hezbollah will never stop the anti-corruption campaign regardless of all the sectarian and political considerations. There is national consensus on such a need,’ the Hezbollah chief concluded.
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