Hezbollah over the weekend took an unprecedented swipe at Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, saying the Lebanese leader required “specialized care,” a day after the head of state implicitly slammed the party’s “army, people, resistance” formula as hindering the release of the Cabinet policy statement.
“With all due respect to the office of the president ... the latest speech we heard makes us believe that Baabda Palace in the days left [of the presidency] needs specialized care because its occupant cannot differentiate anymore between gold and wood,” Hezbollah said in a statement Saturday.
During a speech at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) Friday, Sleiman implicitly urged Hezbollah to cede ground over the divisive tripartite “army, people, resistance” formula, saying all sides needed to avoid clinging “to wooden [inflexible] equations that hinder the birth of this [ministerial] statement.”
Shortly after Hezbollah’s comments, Sleiman reiterated in a Twitter post the need for adherence to the Baabda Declaration, a pact between rival political leaders to distance Lebanon from regional turmoil, particularly in Syria.
“Baabda Palace needs that the decisions that have been taken unanimously, namely the Baabda Declaration, be recognized,” Sleiman tweeted.
The 2012 agreement reached at the Presidential Palace was breached when Hezbollah acknowledged sending fighters to Syria to back forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
Lebanon’s political rivals have yet to reach a deal over the new Cabinet’s policy statement. The March 14 camp rejects including the “army-people-resistance” formula, which their March 8 rivals insist upon.
Israeli embassies increase security alert
Meanwhile, Israeli embassies worldwide increased their security alert over the weekend out of fear of a possible Hezbollah retaliation for last week’s Israeli airstrike in Lebanon, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.
Israeli has been bracing for a possible Hezbollah attack since the Lebanese Shia group said on Wednesday that it had been hit by Israeli planes near the Syrian border earlier in the week.
The Zionist regime has not confirmed involvement in the reported strike, though a high-ranking official told Time magazine that the Israel Defense Forces was behind the attack.
Last week, Israel put its own troops on the northern border with Lebanon on high alert, shortly after Hezbollah threatened retaliation.
Military in communities near the Lebanese border were instructed to be on alert for a Hezbollah reprisal, and farmers in the north were told to stay away from the border fence.
Lebanese media reported Monday that Israeli Air Force jets struck targets near the border with Syria in the Bekaa Valley.
On Wednesday, Hezbollah acknowledged it was attacked by Israel and warned that it would strike back when and where it deemed appropriate.
The organization’s chief, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, warned key military personnel of the possibility of war with the Zionist regime, a Lebanese journalist with close ties to Hezbollah said on Thursday.
“In his recent speech, Hassan Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah’s readiness against the [Israeli] enemy has nothing to do with other battles,” Ibrahim al-Amin, editor of Lebanon’s al-Akhbar daily wrote in a column. “What he did not say publicly, he told his party’s military personnel in closed meetings where he called them to action, saying that the resistance [Hezbollah] may be forced to wage a battle on three fronts at the same time: in Syria, inside [Lebanon], and against the [Israeli] enemy.”
Also Friday, the Lebanese government lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations over the strike, demanding that Israel be forced to comply with UN Resolution 1701, which was intended to resolve the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.
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