To climb out of crisis, Lebanon must look east: Hezbollah leader
The Cradle, March 23, 2023 —
Hassan Nasrallah criticized political leaders for their ‘unjustified fear’ of accepting Chinese investment offers.
During a televised speech on 22 March, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, urged the country’s leaders to look east for foreign investments to help Lebanon climb out of a desperate economic crisis.
“Saudi Arabia has invited the Chinese president to Riyadh and set up three summits for him, and the figures indicate that they started investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars … Why is there so much fear and slowness in Lebanon? This issue is not only the prime minister’s responsibility but also the political forces,” Nasrallah said.
“The fear in Lebanon of cooperation with China is unjustified and requires political decision and courage,” the resistance leader added.
In December, Chinese President Xi Jinping told caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati that Beijing wants to develop bilateral cooperation. However, Lebanese officials have hesitated to accept help from countries like Iran, Russia, and China, fearing angering their western sponsors.
Nasrallah questioned Lebanon’s blind trust in the west when the global financial system is on the verge of collapse, calling the current banking crisis “the tip of the iceberg” and renewing calls for cooperation, solidarity, and compassion among Lebanese.
“There are economies that are vulnerable to collapse in the world, and many major countries may collapse quickly … [There must be] cooperation and solidarity among people to help, especially at the start of the month of Ramadan,” the Hezbollah chief stressed.
Regarding Lebanon’s deteriorating economic collapse, Nasrallah urged the state not to remain idle and slammed this week’s unhinged dollar rate fluctuations and the policies adopted by the central bank.
“Amid the difficult economic and living conditions and the dollar’s rate increase, the state cannot stand idly. There are measures that must be taken and can mitigate the crisis,” he said before highlighting that all Lebanese political forces need to take responsibility for the economic collapse.
“Rescuing the situation and the lira needs a real, comprehensive, multi-dimensional plan … We have consistently urged to prioritize economic discussions over political disputes and come together to establish a dialogue table, not for political gain, but to save our struggling economy and improve the livelihoods of our people,” Nasrallah added.
The resistance leader also dismissed recent threats issued by Israeli officials concerning possible military aggression on Lebanon, saying that any attack from Israel would be met with a decisive response.
“Any Zionist aggression, whether military or security, that affects any area in Lebanon and any person, whether he is Lebanese, Palestinian or of another nationality, the resistance will definitely and quickly respond to it,” Nasrallah said.
He also spoke about the resistance operation in the northern city of Megiddo on 13 March, saying this showed Israel “at its weakest” and that Hezbollah’s silence regarding the operation “is part of the psychological media war with the enemy.”
“It is not our responsibility to answer what confuses the enemy, and sometimes our answer is in not commenting on the incident,” Nasrallah said before highlighting that the devolving political crisis in Israel is evidence that “there has not been in the history of this entity such weakness and debilitation as there is today.”