BEIRUT – The head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammad Raad, on Tuesday warned his party’s opponents in the incoming new Parliament against acting “as shields for the Zionists and the Americans” and opposing a national unity government, an implicit broadside against the Lebanese Forces and other rivals of Hezbollah who notched electoral successes.
Here’s what we know:
• After winning a seat in Parliament from Nabatieh in South Lebanon, Raad said, “We accept you as opponents in the Parliament, but we will not accept you as shields for the Zionists and the Americans.”
• “Do not be fuel for a civil war. We are very tolerant, but we will surprise you,” he added in a meeting with a delegation in the town, according to the National News Agency.
• “If you do not want a national government, you are leading Lebanon to the abyss,” he added. “The language of hatred and malice that is still on the tongues of the opponents of the resistance and its people does not make a homeland.”
• Hezbollah won 13 seats in the elections held Sunday, with another 3 seats for allies on the electoral lists. The Lebanese Forces, meanwhile, won 19 seats, up from 14 in 2018. The LF ran together in Tripoli alongside Ashraf Rifi — a former justice minister and Internal Security Forces chief vehemently opposed to Hezbollah — who won a seat for the first time in Parliament.
• Already poor ties between Hezbollah and the LF disintegrated after the Oct. 14, 2020 clashes in Beirut’s Tayyouneh neighbor, with Hezbollah accusing their rivals of killing protesters affiliated with Hezbollah and the Amal Movement gathered at the time to demonstrate against Judge Tarek Bitar’s investigation into the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port explosion.