In an interview with Al-Hadath, Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil claimed that the Lebanese army had shortcomings in its fight against Daesh (ISIS) in Lebanon until Hezbollah intervened.
“When the Lebanese army failed short, Hezbollah was there to fight the terrorists,” issued Bassil, who was recently accused of covering up for and empowering Hezbollah, one of the probable reasons for being sanctioned by the United States.
In that recent televised interview, Bassil claimed that the army was not given orders, or was not allowed, to fight Daesh due to a political decision during Tammam Salam’s time as prime minister.
It sounded as if the decision meant to forbid the Lebanese Army to fight the terrorists and defend the country and its borders, which brings more question marks to the table. If true, of course.
“When Michel Aoun came to reign, the necessary decisions were made, and the army did what it had to do and succeeded,” Bassil said, confusingly as usual.
“…and Daesh were driven out in airconditioned buses,” sarcastically remarked the host, Lebanese news reporter Bassam Abou Zeid, who recently resigned from LBCI after 30+ years there.
Naturally, the Lebanese people felt offended by Bassil’s direct criticism of the revered Lebanese army, accusing him of shaming and discrediting the army while putting Hezbollah on a pedestal.
It is to note that, for a long while now, Hezbollah partisans keep offending the Lebanese Army by brazenly stating on social media that it is “weak” and that “it can’t protect the country without Hezbollah.”
Weirdly enough, these people degrading the Lebanese Army as “weak” and “incapable” have never been detained nor stopped, although their revolting comments are an insult against the state, hence punishable by law.
Fact is, the Lebanese Army, to whom we owe all respect and honor and who has given so many sacrifices and martyrs defending Lebanon, has existed and protected this country decades before Hezbollah even existed.
It is widely known that it is, in fact, the presence of Hezbollah’s military, topped with “political correctness” or fear by the leaders of this country, that has weakened not the Lebanese army but its position, giving leeway and authority to Hezbollah military, which the state empowers at the account of Lebanon’s army.
For a politician like Bassil – who has held more than one ministerial role – to say that the army isn’t able to protect the country without a foreign-government-backed party military, it is declaring the state’s failure to preserve its sovereignty.
And yet, he said it, and not without ardor, and insinuated it again further in the interview:
Bassil issued that he would break away from Hezbollah if America provided Lebanon with something that would “secure Lebanon’s stability, strength, security” such as, “6 billion dollars a year” to empower Lebanon’s army to stand against Israel.
In that as well, Bassil unfairly abated the capability of the Lebanese Army and the capability of the state to duly invest in and take care of its own army, all while corruption has been bleeding the country out of its finances.
The FPM news outlet “Tayyar” tried later to patch up its leader’s offensive blunder, claiming that Bassil’s words were misquoted. The attempt was futile since the video of the interview has been circulating on social media along with intense backlashes by the public.
During that interview, Bassil also declared that he is with having peace with Israel. He denied his affiliation with the Hezbollah axis and said that he rejects Hezbollah’s interference in other countries in the region.
However, just recently, right after the US sanctions against him, Bassil addressed his relationship with Hezbollah saying that he would never betray a Lebanese in favor of a foreigner.
His public statement was immediately countered the next day by U.S. Ambassador Dorothy Shea who revealed that Bassil had actually expressed to the US his willingness to cut ties with Hezbollah.