Mikati new Lebanese PM

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday said that Lebanon should give Prime Minister designate Najib Mikati a chance, saying, “We aim to cooperate with each other to cross this dangerous phase.”

“Today there is a new opportunity. Threats against Mikati will be useless,” he added during a speech delivered on the occasion of Arba’een, a Shia Muslim holiday commemorating the anniversary of the passage of 40 days following Imam Hussein’s martyrdom.

Nasrallah also said that Hezbollah supports Mikati and wants him to form a national unity cabinet.

He denied that Hezbollah seeks to control Lebanon or impose an Iranian project, adding that such accusations are meant to provoke foreign powers, including the US and Israel, against Lebanon.

The Hezbollah chief also said that a March 14 rejection to participate in the next cabinet would show that the alliance wants “to rule the country alone.”

According to Nasrallah, Western powers are not condemning recent protests in Lebanon because they are bound to political calculations to support March 14 against March 8.

“[March 14] went to Washington and made commitments and are plotting against the Resistance. You asked for the [2006] July War on Lebanon and today comes the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) to get rid of the Resistance, but you will fail.”

“We are going to die in the South… leave us alone. Let us be killed by gunshots pointed at our chest, not our backs.”

President Michel Sleiman earlier in the day appointed ex-premier Najib Mikati as Lebanon’s new prime minister and tasked him with forming a cabinet.

The appointment of Mikati—who is backed by March 8—has caused an eruption of protests across Lebanon, including by Sunni Muslims. They see it as an attempt by Hezbollah to impose its will on Lebanon, which has plunged into political turmoil over the STL probe of the 2005 murder of former PM Rafik Hariri that is expected to charge Hezbollah for the murder.