BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah dismissed on Saturday a United Nations call for his militant anti-Israel movement to disarm, saying it was determined to maintain a military capacity to defend Lebanon.
That's what state armies are for. Lebanon has one. Hizballah's forces are ultimately for the sake of Hizballah, to protect it not only from outside intervention, but from challenges from within Lebanon, including government forces.
"I affirm today, firmly, decisively and with the greatest conviction ... the choice of armed resistance," Nasrallah said. "These weapons, along with the Lebanese people and army, are the only guarantee of Lebanon's protection."
Mocking a demand by visiting U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Hezbollah lay down its weapons, Nasrallah said he was happy that Hezbollah's military prowess was a cause for concern.
"Your concern, Secretary-General, reassures us and pleases us. What matters to us is that you are worried, and that America ... and Israel are worried with you," he said in a televised speech marking a Shi'ite holy day.
Hezbollah, which fought a devastating month-long war with Israel in 2006, has rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution that demands that it lay down its military arsenal, as all other Lebanese armed groups did at the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.
That's Resolution 1559. Not only did Hizballah defy the resolution, they are now better armed than the regular Lebanese army. What could go wrong?
Nasrallah, in hiding since 2006 for fear of assassination, says his movement has been re-arming since the 2006 conflict, when it fired hundreds of rockets across the border daily into northern Israel.
Ban, speaking in Beirut on Friday, said he was "deeply concerned about the military capacity of Hezbollah" and the lack of progress in disarmament. "All these arms outside of the authorized state authority, it's not acceptable," he declared....