“The starvation process that Lebanon is exposed to is run by the US and its allies, and meant to force the country into capitulating to their policies and achieving the Israeli regime’s objectives,” Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said in an interview with the Arabic-language al-Ahed news website published on Tuesday.
“In other words, the resistance front is a thorn in the side of Israel and poses a threat to it. The US, therefore, wants to pull the plug on the resistance front,” added Sheikh Qassem.
Hezbollah’s deputy chief further highlighted the acute shortage of dollar in Lebanon amid an economic downturn, saying Washington is “primarily responsible” for the problem because it is blocking the flow of cash into the Arab country.
The US, he added, is “seeking to interfere in the outline of economic reforms and their implementation [in Lebanon] and is pressuring the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stonewall loans and financial aids.”
Sheikh Qassem also dismissed recent comments made by US Ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea about the resistance group’s role in Lebanon, saying Washington is trying to compensate for the failure of its smear campaign against Hezbollah through such allegations.
Shea was summoned for a meeting with Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti after she expressed “great concerns” over Hezbollah’s role in the Lebanese government in an interview with a Saudi-owned TV.
President Michel Aoun also condemned the US envoy’s anti-Hezbollah remarks, criticizing Washington’s continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Lebanon.
Sheikh Qassem said, “While Hezbollah is keen [to protect] the independence of Lebanon, there are those who are concerned with the issue. It is a matter of honor for us that we are contributing to Lebanon’s independence.”
Hezbollah, the official added, adheres to “the trilogy of the army, nation and the resistance front and many political leaders and the Lebanese people view it as a force protecting Lebanon against Israeli threats.”
“We are proud of this conduct and will not renounce it,” the high-ranking Hezbollah official noted.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Sheikh Qassem praised late Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, saying he was one of the main military figures in Hezbollah’s command center in the course of the July 2006 Israeli military aggression against Lebanon.
The top Iranian anti-terror general offer guidelines on certain operations carried out by resistance fighters back then, he added.
Lieutenant General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, second-in-command of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units and a number of their companions were assassinated in a US drone strike ordered by Trump near Baghdad International Airport early on January 3.
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in her report published on Tuesday that the US drone strike was “unlawful.”