“Hezbollah to Lebanese army: Stay out of refugee camp,” from CNN:
(CNN) — The leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has warned the Lebanese army not to enter the Palestinian refugee camp north of Tripoli where it has been confronting Islamic militants.
Nasrallah — in a televised address to mark the seventh anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon — said that to enter the camp would be crossing a red line, and the Palestinians should not be touched.
“Suppose that the government is having a war on terror, that doesn’t mean they should kill half of the people on the street,” he said in a reference to Palestinian civilians crammed into the Nahr el-Bared camp.
He also criticized the militants of Fatah al-Islam, who are holed up inside the camp, accusing them of an aggression against the army that was an aggression against all of Lebanon.
Hezbollah, a Shiite organization, views extremist Sunni groups such as al Qaeda and Fatah al-Islam as enemies.
While tension between Hizballah and al-Qaeda is nothing new, it’s possible that there’s even more to this, in light of reports from last fall that Hizballah was moving rockets into Palestinian camps in southern Lebanon: assets to protect, and secrets to hide.
Nasrallah said that a negotiated political settlement according to the rule of law should be reached to preserve the integrity of the Lebanese army. The Lebanese military stays out of the Palestinian camps under a 1969 agreement that allows the Palestinians to run them.
Nasrallah was also critical of the Lebanese government’s request to the United States for military aid during the crisis.
“We should be aware of the American interference,” he said. “[As for] the American intervention in this incident there should be an investigation into who took the decision.”
The Hezbollah leader also said that Lebanon must not be allowed to become a battleground between the army and groups affiliated with al Qaeda. He said this would tempt the United States to bring the war on terror to Lebanese soil, as it had in Iraq.
“Are you willing to fight the wars of others inside Lebanon?” he asked his audience. “I want to warn that we should not be dragged by the Americans to fight their battle in Lebanon.”
Fighting the wars of others… like Iran?