Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has cautioned Israel against waging a war on his country, citing Beirut’s confidence to secure victory in the battle.
In an interview with Russia’s international television network RT, Bassil said Lebanon is capable to counter “any threat,” but at the same time wants peace and stability in the region.
“We should not be provoking Israel into a war simply because it is likely to lose it. We should restrain Israel from starting a war exactly because Lebanon is sure to win it,” he said.
Israel launched two wars on Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, in both of which the Hezbollah resistance movement inflicted heavy losses on the regime’s military. Over the past months, Israeli officials have threatened another war on Lebanon.
Elsewhere in his interview, Bassil touched on Saad Hariri’s abrupt resignation as Lebanon’s prime minister two weeks ago while in Saudi Arabia. Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said Saudi Arabia had “kidnapped” the premier.
The top Lebanese diplomat said Hariri’s resignation was a “good example [showing that] virtually anyone can start a war against us.”
Bassil also noted that Lebanon has always adopted “constructive and sound policies” towards the Arab world though such strategies have not prevented “hostile actions” against Beirut.
“We are ready to act in case of such developments, but we are trying to do everything we can to prevent this from happening and to maintain a good relationship with Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Bassil said Lebanon would “stick to” its peaceful approach “unless forced to defend ourselves.”
In a separate interview with Russia’s Interfax news agency, the Lebanese foreign minister warned of an anti-Lebanon campaign in the Middle East aimed at “intimidating” the country.
“Some countries are trying to use certain forces to remove the head of Lebanon,” Bassil said without elaborating further.
“The same forces that unleashed the war in Syria and those who are feeding into terrorists are now trying to damage Lebanon,” he pointed out.
In November 10, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Saudi authorities had clearly and openly declared a war on Lebanon by holding Hariri hostage.
Saudi Arabia, he said, has even appealed to Israel to launch a military onslaught against Lebanon in the name of fighting Hezbollah, and is ready to spend billions of dollars to attain this objective.
“Saudi wants to destroy Lebanon under the pretext of combating Hezbollah. It was the main architect of Israel’s war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006,” Nasrallah said.