On Wednesday, the Shiite Hezbollah movement of Lebanon accused the United Nations of intervening in Lebanese affairs, days after the world body warned tension in the country could affect the whole region.
On Monday, the United Nations issued a report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, which calls for the disbanding and disarming of all militias in Lebanon and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.
In the report, issued after a controversial visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President to Lebanon last week, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon warned that Lebanon had been hit by a new clime of “uncertainty” that could cause instability throughout the Middle East.
In a statement Hezbollah said: “The report released by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Resolution 1559 … marks interference in internal Lebanese affairs as well as political interference in the affairs of the international tribunal”.
In Lebanon tension over the UN-backed tribunal has been rising, which is investigating the 2005 assassination of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri, amidst unofficial reports the court will indict members of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has warned such an contingency will have reverberations in Lebanon and called for a local probing into the murder instead.
Hezbollah’s statement said: “It would seem that Ban Ki-moon… failed to notice that Hezbollah, and for quite some time, has been at the heart of Lebanese politics through its representation in parliament and cabinet”.
“It would also seem that he did not find the time to read Lebanon’s government statement.”
In November, Saad Hariri’s government adopted a policy statement that recognized Hezbollah’s right to use its weapons against Israel, in spite of disagreement by mainly Christian members of the ruling majority.
Hezbollah fought a devastating 2006 war with Israel, and it is the only group that refused to disarm after the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war.
They reason that their arsenal is necessary to protect the country against Israel, which withdrew from southern Lebanonafter a 22-year occupation in 2000.