Samir Geagea said that he expected Iran’s funding of Hezbollah to decline given the recent US sanctions on Iran and said that as this happens Hezbollah’s overall influence will suffer, noting that this would mean tens of thousands of Hezbollah fighters losing their money.
He said: “The tougher the sanctions the more it will be reflected in the funding of Hezbollah as it appears on the Lebanese arena… Even though a huge part of Hezbollah is driven by ideology, doctrine and religious sentiment, we are talking about tens of thousands of people who are receiving salaries, social institutions, and a lot of aid, consequently, it will have its effect.”
Geagea said that he sees the sanctions as clamping down on the Iranian economy, which is good but warned that Iran may well make an unexpected move because it feels backed into a corner.
He said: “At any given time, Iran can make an uncalculated reaction somewhere. The Iranians are generally careful, but no one knows. In my estimation and I take the case of the Strait of Hormuz, if any Iranian reaction is misplaced, it will go down easily because the general atmosphere is that of escalation on all levels.”
Geagea also spoke about the Iranian regime’s push to export their malign revolution, which has caused unrest in many Arab countries, and how it is affecting Lebanon. He said that Lebanon would be able to overcome the challenge of Iranian interference, but dismissed the idea that that whole of Lebanon is controlled by Iran through its Hezbollah proxy, even though Hezbollah recently stopped the Lebanese government from forming until it got its own way.
He said: “There are many times where there is a kind of intersection of interests between Hezbollah, its allies and other Lebanese parties which can give the impression that Hezbollah alone is leading the disruption, but in any position where there are no shared interests we can see that Hezbollah and its immediate allies are a minority and not a majority.”
Geagea also noted that, if Iran and Russia withdraw from the conflict in Syria, then the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship would collapse, saying that Iran and Russia recaptured the rebel-held areas, not Assad.
He said: “The equation is well known, the power in Syria is in the hands of the Iranians, the Russians, the Americans and the Turks consequently we cannot talk about the presence of a state in Syria.”