Hezbollah: France is our Friend

Posted by John Rosenthal

The following extract from an interview in yesterday’s Le Figaro with Trad Hamadé, Minister of Labor in the Lebanese government and member of Hezbollah. Throughout the interview Hamadé speaks in the name of Hezbollah and he is here responding to the question "Does Hezbollah support the idea of an international stabilization force that would be deployed in southern Lebanon?".

After Qana, Hezbollah continues to support the Siniora plan for ending the conflict, a plan that is close to that defended by France. What is needed is an international convergence [of positions], so that the United States is forced to accept an immediate cease-fire. We are asking all of Europe to support the Siniora plan. The Iranians support it. The French, the Lebanese, and the Iranians converge in this crisis. France should not accept Israel destroying our country. France is a friend of Lebanon, but for a decade now it is also a friend of Hezbollah. The Shiite community is more and more francophone. In 2004, France evacuated Hezbollah sympathizers with French passports from the Côte d’Ivoire. Today, Paris could again become the motor for developments in the Middle East.


Though somewhat removed from current headlines, the remark on the Côte d’Ivoire is also of interest, since it suggests that France – which continues to maintain thousands of troops in the Côte d’Ivoire on an ostensible "peace-keeping mission" – has supported Islamist forces in the crisis in that country.


[Note: for background on France in the Côte d'Ivoire, see my article "The Black Tuesday of the French Army".]



Somewhat astonishingly, Le Figaro has translated the full interview with Trad Hamadé on its English-language site here.


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