Hezbollah Maneuvers, Calls for ‘Unconditioned Dialogue’ to Elect President

Jihad Azour is a former minister and the director of the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia department. (AFP/File)
Jihad Azour is a former minister and the director of the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia department. (AFP/File)
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Hezbollah Maneuvers, Calls for ‘Unconditioned Dialogue’ to Elect President

Jihad Azour is a former minister and the director of the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia department. (AFP/File)
Jihad Azour is a former minister and the director of the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia department. (AFP/File)

Hezbollah party in Lebanon is maneuvering around the country’s presidential crisis, one time resorting to tactics of threats, and another to calling for dialogue to agree on a candidate for the top state post.

Hezbollah deputies and officials have not shunned away from addressing this major entitlement in their statements now that the opposition has named former minister Jihad Azour as their candidate for the post, facing the party’s candidate, Suleiman Franjieh.

The political scene has shifted after bringing Azour forward to the forefront. The Shiite duo (Hezbollah and AMAL Movement) have shown some confusion which became evident in the latest statement of the party officials.

Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem and Hezbollah official Sheikh Nabil Qaouq have recently called for “unconditioned dialogue”, refusing to say that the party wishes to impose its own candidate.

Qassem called for “unconditioned dialogue in order to elect a president,” and for a “dialogue session without any conditions or reservations on any party or side in Lebanon in a bid to discuss the whole options publicly...in order to reach results”.

Qassem added that “no political party in Lebanon is capable of imposing its candidate this way. Don't be afraid of dialogue, in the end you will choose what you want and what you are convinced of, and we will pick what we want and what we are convinced of.”

Qaouq on the other hand, said on Wednesday that Hezbollah “has not imposed a president on anyone”, and similarly "refuses to have anything imposed on it".

“Hezbollah is not looking for shares in ministries and administrations, but wants a president who embodies national consensus to sail the salvation ship with the help of everyone”, he noted.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Lebanese Forces spokesman Charles Jabbour commented on Hezbollah’s latest positions.

He said that through its rhetoric, Hezbollah is distributing roles among its officials in order to impose their own candidate (Suleiman Franjieh). “This has become impossible”, remarked Jabbour.

“There is confusion inside the party as the result of the opposition’s agreement on a single candidate”, he stated.

When Hezbollah calls for dialogue, it does so to garner agreement on its own candidate, added the LF spokesman.

Lebanon, plagued by a major economic crisis since 2019, has been without a president since the term of Michel Aoun ended in October.

 



Israeli Strikes Reportedly Target Hezbollah Ammunition Depot in Lebanon

Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024.  (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
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Israeli Strikes Reportedly Target Hezbollah Ammunition Depot in Lebanon

Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024.  (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)

Israeli strikes late on Saturday targeted a depot storing ammunition belonging to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, three security sources told Reuters.

The strikes on the town of Adloun, about 40 km north of Lebanon's border with Israel, set off a string of loud explosions heard by witnesses across the south of Lebanon.

At least four civilians in Adloun were wounded in the strikes, a medical source and a security source told Reuters.

Hezbollah said that its fighters fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel on Saturday, targeting a kibbutz for the first time in nine months in retaliation for an Israeli drone strike earlier in the day that wounded several people including children.
Also Saturday, Hamas said it fired rockets from Lebanon toward an Israeli army post in the northern Israeli village of Shomera in retaliation for the “Zionists massacres” in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has carried out such attacks form Lebanon over the past several months, but they have been rare.
Hezbollah’s attack with dozens of Katyusha rockets on the northern Israeli kibbutz of Dafna came few hours after an Israeli drone strike hit a car in the southern Lebanese village of Burj al-Muluk, and shrapnel from the missile wounded several people who were standing nearby. The state-run National News Agency said that the wounded civilians are Syrian citizens and they included children.

The Israeli military said that about 45 projectiles were detected crossing from Lebanon into northern Israel in three separate barrages. It said that some were intercepted, while others fell in open areas, causing no injuries, but triggering several fires in the Golan Heights.