Author`s name Lyuba Lulko

Can France disarm Hezbollah indeed or does Macron go too far?

Can Lebanon respond to Macron's requirement to disarm Hezbollah? Sergei Medvedko, associate professor of the Russian State University of Humanitarian Sciences, candidate of historical sciences, journalist, orientalist and Arabist, shares his opinion on the subject in an interview with Pravda.Ru.

"What are interests do Iran and Hezbollah pursue in Lebanon? The West claims that Macron tries to force Hezbollah out from the Middle East."

"Now the Shiite population constitutes a very serious part, almost the majority of the population of Lebanon. They have been living here since time immemorial, but have always been oppressed as second-class people. Today, speaking about them and the Hezbollah party, one should mention that there is more than one party there. Hezbollah emerged from another Shiite organization - Amal, and those people were most effective fighters against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.

"The Lebanese army is much weaker, not even from the point of view of weapons, but rather from the point of view of conviction and fortitude. I know this party and its members - I met its leaders. At first, I had a feeling that, as they say in the West, Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. (Russia does not consider it as such, nor do the Lebanese). When I interviewed the spiritual leader of the party, Sheikh Fadlallah, he realized that I was Belarusian, and he asked whether my father had been a warrior.

"Belarus, he says, is known for its partisan movement. Your relatives who fought, are they considered terrorists?" I say, "Are you out of your mind?" - "Why do your colleagues call us terrorists? Our territory is occupied. Yes, we carry out explosions, we use suicide bombers, but as long as they are staying in the south of the country, we will continue doing so."

"The Israelis speak victoriously about all their wars, but they do not like to remember 2006. That was the year of the invasion after retreat to southern Lebanon when Israel was under the attack of a whole coalition of states - Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Algeria, Iraq - including Hezbollah.

"That was the only war where the losses were not one to a hundred, as it was before, but one to one. The Israelis lost more than 50 tanks in the first few days alone. They lost their ships and left Lebanon once and for all. And now we hear Macron saying: "Hezbollah must disarm."

"Do you think it will disarm?"

"Well, this is an internal affair of Lebanon, and we shouldn't interfere and talk. Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a French-born Christian to the bone, a very brave and talented military general, realized that the most patriotic part of Lebanon was Hezbollah, and he created a bloc with the movement. Now he is the president of the country, but Macron wants him out."

"Do they have direct elections, or does the parliament elect the president?"

"It is the parliament that elects and the president must be a Christian. This balance must be respected. This is the most multi-confessional country in the Middle East, where there are all areas of Christianity and Islam. This balance was partly responsible for peace in the nation. Armenians, Christians of all confessions live beautifully there. They have escaped the Turkish extermination, and they thank the Lebanese, because they are always ready to reach out and save those in need."

Lebanon loves Russia

"What interests does Russia have in Lebanon? Are there any?"

"Russia's interests had been asserted there even during the time of Catherine the Great, when the Russian fleet defended Christians from the Turks. Historically, we have had both the same enemies and the same allies. Wars had been fought against Genghis Khan, Alexander Nevsky had fought crusaders there. Napoleon had fought against the Ottoman Turks too. Well, speaking of modern history, Russia was against Zionism and the Israeli occupation, and Israel felt the sting on its own skin. As for our interests - Orthodox faith arrived from then Great Syria, came Orthodoxy. Back in the day, there was no Jordan, Israel, Lebanon - there was Syria instead all of those states.

"The first baptist of Holy Russia was a monk from those places - Mikhail Sirin. He baptized us, and we received spiritual connections with the Middle East from him. There is still a Russian diaspora there: best engineers, best artists - there are many Russians among those people, and they treat the Russians very well there. The French have left a big mark there and they want to take advantage of it."

"How do you think the state of affairs is going to develop in Lebanon now? What is going to happen to Lebanon?"

"If one wants the situation to grow tense, then one needs to attract the French and the Americans.  Believe me, the Lebanese are wise enough. They are one of the most politically literate and educated people - they are not some wild, excuse me, Bedouins. Therefore, they do not need any such instructions of how to act.

I have a feeling that someone is trying to set Muslims against Muslims, Shiites against Sunnis, Christians of all kinds against Christians, and all Christians against all Muslims and so on and so forth. Reading Lebanese coffee grounds makes no sense - this is an unpredictable country.