Imad Hout, Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya MP in the Lebanese parliament, stressed that some parties have tried to achieve a set of specific gains – through the events of Arsal – so Arsal pays the price of standing with the Syrian people in their revolution by embracing refugees. He added that those parties are trying to lure the Lebanese army into a battle of attrition with Syrian militants on their behalf, while they portray the situation as acts of terrorism, pushing for new local, regional and international alliances.
In an exclusive statement to Ikhwanweb, MP Hout said: "Since the beginning of the Arsal developments, there was a Lebanese consensus on refusing militants entry to Arsal. Priorities had been identified as: defending Lebanon’s sovereignty over its own territories, getting militants out of Arsal, securing the release of abducted soldiers, and protecting civilians so they would not be the victims in this battle.
"These priorities were the background for various initiatives, from both Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya and the Association of Muslim scholars. They aimed to achieve these priorities with minimum sacrifices and costs, in coordination with the government and the army leadership. A significant portion of these priorities has been accomplished. But the situation today calls for the Lebanese government to take responsibility for this issue directly, away from the media circus. This has led to the suspension of these initiatives, while everyone continues to put themselves at the disposal of the government."
MP Hout affirmed that the security situation is stable in Arsal at present, and that no gunmen remain in the region. He also pointed that work is underway to rebuild the camps which were destroyed or burned as a result of the clashes, with civil society organizations, led by the Union of Relief Organizations, in cooperation with various Arab charities.
"As a part of the solution to the crisis, Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya and many Lebanese parties demand that the Lebanese army and Lebanese stakeholders deal firmly with all forces that seek to drag Lebanon in this conflict. They also demand the closure of the Lebanese border with Syria to militants – in both directions, a ban on military parades by certain Lebanese factions, and renewed calls for Hezbollah to stop its adventures in Syria and Iraq so as not to drag Lebanon in regional conflicts.
"They also demand a return to national dialogue about the question of arms, to develop a Lebanese defense strategy under state administration, which must end the arms chaos in Lebanon and benefit from the energies and experiences of the resistance in maintaining the element of deterrence in the face of the Zionist enemy."