Former LF MP to Al-Ahed: Iran is A Friend, Lebanon Needs Actual Help Not Words
By Sara Raad
After the disarray surrounding the recent stances voiced by Lebanese businessman and Member of the Parliament who was previously labelled as a “Lebanese Forces” [LF] affiliate, Cesar Maalouf, al-Ahed News was briefed by the Zahlé MP who asserted that he doesn’t belong the LF Party, and noted that: “I don’t have a ‘Lebanese Forces’ card, I am an ally of this party in Zahlé, and they have been tolerating my words over the past three years; this time, however, they didn’t tolerate what I’ve said, and they blocked me from LF WhatsApp groups.”
Maalouf pointed to that the background of his stances was neither political nor electoral: “I don’t speak politics, and I don’t care for my political position; however, any country that helps Lebanon today is a friend of it. Friends indeed are friends in need. And today, it is clear who is Lebanon’s friends and who is its enemy. The friend is the one that supports Lebanon. In this case I am not speaking about axes, but instead about the conditions of people waiting in front of gas stations, pharmacies and bakeries. Lebanon is at the last gasp, heading towards the brink, and we are just watching.”
Regarding the Christian community’s reaction to Hezbollah’s initiative to import oil from Iran, Maalouf explained that “Christians, just like Sunnis and Shia, don’t care who is the MP, minister, or president, they only care for their dignity and that of their children and their livelihood. They do care for a question which is: Where is the country heading to? And how would the solution be?”
In response to al-Ahed’s question about the reason that pushed an LF-categorized member of the parliament to confront the US Ambassador, which is known to be the patron of the ‘Lebanese Forces’ party, Maalouf answered: “If the Lebanese Forces have a patron, I [myself] am not under anybody’s patronage, I address the US ambassador to tell her: Do not undermine, but help this sinking country. Do offer actual help to the Lebanese Army, or even help improve the supply of electricity. Do not impose a veto on us for drilling oil. We need not slogans or words of support, but rather an actual support.”
In the context of being accused of attacking Saudi Arabia, Maalouf made clear: “I didn’t attack Saudi Arabia. On the contrary, I asked them and all Arab countries not to abandon Lebanon and to help the country and support it. We do thank whoever helps us.” He then underscored that Iran is not a hostile country, it is rather a friendly one. The only enemy is the ‘Israeli’ enemy.
Maalouf then asked: “When was oil categorized as Iranian, Gulf, or American? Does oil belong to a certain sect? Did we ever ask about the sect of oil at gas stations? We shouldn’t sectarianize everything to abet the Christians.”
When asked about his political future, MP Cesar Maalouf affirmed that in the meantime, he doesn’t care about politics, but about “the pain and suffering of people.” The Lebanese lawmaker finally called for a speedy government formation not to have the country being taken to the unknown and to chaos, and to stop this breakdown.