Former Lebanese Minister of Communications Boutrus Harb said that after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Hizbullah has no reason to exist other than to impose its opinions, to control political decision-making, and to paralyze politics. Harb made his remarks during an interview with Asharq TV (Saudi Arabia) that aired on February 14, 2021. He said that all groups must abide by the Taif Agreement and lay down their arms, including Hizbullah, or else Lebanon would be rife with many armed groups and militias fighting each other and destroying the country. Harb continued to say that Syria pushed for Hizbullah to be exempt from laying down its weapons in accordance with the Taif Agreement, so it would continue to operate on behalf of the Syrian-Iranian axis. He added that before the Syrians left Lebanon, they made sure that the Shebaa Farms would be included in the maps of Lebanon’s territory so Hizbullah would have a pretext to continue to carry arms.
Boutrus Harb: "All that talk about having to take every possible measure to liberate Southern [Lebanon] – who said that it is Hizbullah that has to take these measures? We are a part of a Lebanese state. We are all rebuilding the Lebanese state, after it had been destroyed. It is the duty of the Lebanese state to protect its sovereignty. Otherwise, should everyone just set up shop on their own? Should everyone form a militia of their own? Everybody says that their goal is to liberate Lebanese land, either from Israeli occupation or Syrian or Iranian presence, or whatever. The country has turned into a bunch of gangs or armed militias that fight one another and destroy the country once again. Therefore, any exemption [from disarming all militias], is wrong."
Interviewer: "Who pushed for the exemption of Hizbullah?"
Harb: "Syria and its allies, because it is in their interest. Let me remind you of a historic event. After Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was assassinated, and the Syrians were forced to withdraw from Lebanon, just before they left Lebanon, they figured out that there is someone to take their place that belongs to the Iranian-Syrian 'resistance axis,' and that was Hizbullah. [The Syrians] thought that Hizbullah could fill their role, and indeed they did. At the time, there were official maps of Lebanon in which the Shebaa Farms were not included [in Lebanon]. Before [the Syrians] left [Lebanon] they altered the maps, and added the Shebaa Farms to Lebanon, so Hizbullah would be able to say: 'There are Lebanese lands that still have not been liberated, and so we must keep our weapons.' Using this pretext, Hizbullah kept their weapons, contrary to the Taif Agreement, and contrary to what the Lebanese agreed upon amongst themselves – putting an end to the presence of illegal arms in Lebanon.
"You [i.e. Hizbullah] are welcome as a political party. We cherish the martyrs that died until Israel withdrew [from Lebanon] in 2000, but after 2000, why do you exist, other than to impose your decisions, control Lebanese political decision-making, impose the president, prime minister, and ministers you want, and paralyze politics?"