Lebanese Druze leader Jumblatt wants to strengthen his position with Iran's help
Azerbaijan, Baku, 14 September / corr. Trend U. Sadikhova /
Calling for military support from Iran, Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt wants to maintain its political influence through the support of pro-Syrian and pro-Iranian opposition, experts say.
On Saturday, in an interview with the English language Iranian television channel Press TV, Jumblatt, head of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party, mentioned the need for the Lebanese army to purchase weapons from Iran, which will be able to defend Lebanon from the future Israeli attacks.
Despite that the U.S. is arming the Lebanese army, the U.S. Administration refuses to supply Beirut weapons that could threaten Israel's security.
However, Lebanon needs anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft artillery, which the U.S. refused to supply, and this equipment can be purchased from Iran, Russia and China, said Jumblatt.
Jumblatt, who supports pro-Western March 14 coalition, but is not part of it, called on Saudi Arabia and Egypt for a dialogue with Iran, which would help prevent "any attack of Israel.
Advisor to the Lebanese Druze leader Rami Rayyes commented Jumblatt's words as "the right of the Lebanese to receive arms through any means for preventing attacks from Israel."
"No one prohibits Lebanon to strengthen its military power through the supply of weapons to the Lebanese government or the Lebanese army from Iran or another country, Rayyes told Trend by telephone from Beirut. - He [Jumblatt] spoke not only about Iran but also about Russia and China. Lebanon is an independent country and can buy weapons as one can."
However, analysts see Jumblatt's statements as an attempt to approach the pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian opposition to preserve the political weight of his party in Lebanon.
In August, during the formation of a new cabinet of ministers in Lebanon, Jumblatt left Saad Hariri's coalition March 14, which won the parliamentary elections.
Over the past four years, Jumblatt, supported by the West and Saudi Arabia, was one of the fiercest critics of Syria.
Now, however, he admitted his criticism against Damascus "wrong and unnatural" and urged to establish "distinguished relations" with him, RIA Novosti reported.
Withdrawal of the Progressive Socialist Party of Jumblatt, which had 11 votes, left the ruling majority 60 out of 128 seats in parliament.
Talal Atrissi, Professor at the Lebanese State University, believes that Jumblatt now earns his political weight.
"Jumblatt's position became stronger, because he became almost independent on the forces of the majority [March 14]," Atrissi told Trend by telephone from Beirut.
Everyone wants to attract Jumblatt to his side, but he wants to move away from political ideas of March 14 and return to dialogue with Iran and Syria, because politically he was closer to the opposition.
"Practically he is now between the opposition and the majority," said Atrissi.
Jumblatt wants to show that Iran can help Lebanon in arms, especially because the U.S. and France did not provide necessary arms to the Lebanese army, said Atrissi.
After Jumblatt's withdrawal from Hariri's coalition, observers questioned the success of Hariri in the June elections.
Supporting Hariri, Saudi Arabia sent former ambassador to Lebanon and current Information Minister Abdel Aziz to Beirut for talks with Jumblatt.
However, the head of the Druze then said that he intends to take "independent policy", although will not leave the future Prime Minister Hariri.
Political calmness in Lebanon was established after a series of talks between Hariri, supported by Riyadh and the Western countries, and the head of the Hezbollah Party, Hassan Nasrallah, who received military and material support from Syria and Iran.
According to Dr. Hassan Hashimyan at the University of Tehran, after the rapprochement with Hariri, Jumblatt faced with problems in the realization of his political plans. The reason for this is the support of a majority of Druze to another leader of the community Talal Arslan, who heads the Druze Lebanese Democratic Party.
"Jumblatt does not want to dispute with Talal Arslan, who supports Hezbollah and uses the help of Syria," Hashimyan, an expert on Arab countries, told Trend by telephone from Tehran.
He believes that with the support of the West, Jumblatt failed to achieve his political goals: to strengthen the influence of his party in Lebanon, as well as to gain a foothold in the Druze community, which he headed since 1977 after the assassination of his father, Kamal Jumblatt. More and more representatives of the Druze community in Lebanon were inclined to politics of Hezbollah and Syria, including Talal Arslan, according to Hashimyan.
Analysts also believe that Jumblatt's statements on military cooperation with Iran is aimed at mitigating the position of Iran and Syria on the formation of a government in Lebanon.
Last week, Hariri resigned, refusing to form a cabinet of ministers. The opposition coalition March 8, which includes Hezbollah and the Christian bloc of former president Michel Aoun, refused to accept Hariri's proposal for a new Cabinet consisting of 30 ministerial portfolios: 15 were gained by a parliamentary majority, 10 - opposition, the other five should be presented by President Michel Suleiman.
D.Khatinoglu contributed to the article.