February 17, 2020
Hezbollah on Saturday unveiled a monument to Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike on Jan. 3.
The monument, on a hill in the southern Lebanese border town of Maroun Al-Ras, has been widely criticized on social media and by Lebanese politicians opposed to Hezbollah. “Are we in Lebanon or Iran? Why insist on changing the identity of Lebanon,” tweeted May Chidiac, former minister for administrative development.
“Every day, Hezbollah asserts that it is a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards … not (a) Lebanese (party).”
Former Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said: “The establishment of the Soleimani Monument in the south has nothing to do with the confrontation with Israel, but rather with the assertion of Iran’s mandate over Lebanon.”
He added: “The (Iranian) Quds Forces did not fight for Jerusalem, but rather destroyed Syria and Iraq and transformed Lebanon into a failed state.” Meanwhile, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday called for a boycott of American goods and for “resistance” throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds. His remarks came as Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani arrived in Beirut to meet with senior Lebanese leaders.
Larijani had come from Syria, where he met with President Bashar Assad and reiterated Tehran’s support for Damascus.
Nasrallah appeared on a screen at a gathering that Hezbollah had organized in southern Beirut to mark 40 days since the US drone strike that killed Soleimani and the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.