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Hezbollah retaliates against Macron after he condemns the militia

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a joint press conference held with Iraqi President Barham Salih (not seen) in Baghdad, Iraq on September 02, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani - Anadolu Agency]
French President Emmanuel Macron in Baghdad, Iraq on 2 September 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Hezbollah has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron following his comments against the group on Sunday, stressing that it will continue to operate as a militant group.

In its main editorial broadcast last night, Hezbollah’s official news channel Al-Manar TV condemned the French president and stated that the Iran-backed militia “is and will remain an army facing Israel and will keep supporting Syria and its people against extremists.”

The channel also claimed that the group and other Shia factions within Lebanon were not responsible for Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib’s resignation and his failure to form a government, calling Macron’s comments and ultimatum against Lebanese leaders “unjustified and unacceptable”.

The condemnation of Macron by Hezbollah came after the French leader criticised the militia saying: “Hezbollah can’t be at the same time an army at war with Israel, an unrestrained militia against civilians in Syria and a respectable party in Lebanon.”

READ: How long will Lebanon and Iraq tolerate militias which undermine national sovereignty?

He also questioned the militia’s political credibility, asking: “Is it really a political party or does it proceed just in a logic dictated by Iran, and its terrorist forces? I want us to see if in the next few weeks something is possible. I’m not naive.”

His comments were in reference to Hezbollah and the other Shia party Amal’s alleged blocking of the formation of a new cabinet by Adib, primarily due to their demands to run the country’s finance ministry.

In his conference, however, Macron did not only blame Hezbollah but also the entirety of Lebanon’s political class for not living up to the reforms roadmap he set out for the country. “I am ashamed of Lebanon’s political leaders,” he said, claiming that they “did not want, clearly and resolutely, to respect the commitments made to France and the international community. They decided to betray this commitment.”

READ: Macron’s ‘red lines’ against Turkey reveals France’s neo-Napoleonic mission

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