Like much of the rest of the world, Lebanon is currently battling the coronavirus epidemic and taking measures to limit the spread of the disease.

Some in the country, and especially those belonging to the anti-Hezbollah March 14 camp, have accused Hezbollah of causing the outbreak by refusing for several weeks to halt flights from Iran and close the border with Syria.

In a March 13 speech, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah rejected the accusation, calling on citizens not to politicize the pandemic or use it as an opportunity for political score-settling. He also dispensed advice and instructions on how to avoid contracting the virus, while calling on the banks in Lebanon to behave responsibly and on the government to give priority to battling the epidemic.

In response to this speech, Lebanese journalist Khayrallah Khayrallah—known for his opposition to Hezbollah—published a scathing column in the London-based daily Al-Arab, in which he accused Nasrallah of considering himself the “Supreme Leader” of Lebanon (as Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of Iran).

Nasrallah’s “empty slogans of resistance,” he said, will not help Lebanon fight the coronavirus.

Hezbollah, he added, is nothing more than a battalion in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Lebanon, he wrote, needs to free itself from Tehran, which he said had impeded the efforts to stop the spread of the virus from Iran to Lebanon.

Despite the current dire circumstances, he said, Lebanon is still resisting Hezbollah, and “some people in it say no to Nasrallah and to everything he represents.”

The full article is available at the MEMRI website.

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