Lebanese Finance Minister Ashraf Rifi recently said that both the Hizbullah "mini-state in Lebanon" and ISIS would cease to exist. "In the future, there will be no place for ISIS... and likewise, this Iranian 'front' or Iranian 'instrument' will not exist," he said in an interview with Sky News Arabia, which aired on May 3. In an interview with the Lebanese Future TV channel on May 2, he compared the Syrian regime to the final days of Hitler, saying: "When a regime starts to use unqualified children to fight in its defense, this is an indication that it is in its final days."
Following are excerpts:
Sky News Arabic TV [U.K.], May 3, 2015
Ashraf Rifi: History tells us that the [Hizbullah] mini-state is bound to perish. My generation has witnessed several attempts by Lebanese factions with military and economic capabilities, which were led to believe that they could establish a semi-state or an emirate on Lebanese soil. They all collapsed. These attempts failed because they ran counter to the logical state of affairs. Likewise, the Hizbullah mini-state, the mini-state of Iran in Lebanon, will fail.
The only two groups in the Arab region to transgress the borders are Hizbullah, which transgressed the borders of Lebanon, and ISIS, which transgressed the borders of Syria and Iraq. All the other forces have respected the borders. In the future, there will be no place for ISIS, which has raised the banner of Islam, although it has nothing to do with Islam, and likewise, this Iranian "front" or Iranian "instrument" will not exist. There will be no tranquility, stability, or security in the region, so long as the so-called "export of the Iranian Revolution" continues. We heard them brag that four capitals [are now in their hands] – Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, and Sanaa. This arrogance contradicts history, and if it goes on, the chaos and turmoil in the region will, unfortunately, continue.
The Iranian people has the right to choose the regime it wants. This is none of our business, but it does not have the right to force itself upon other countries, whether under the guise of liberating Palestine – which unfortunately, is nothing but a pretext – or under any other excuse.
[Hizbullah's budget] is one billion U.S. dollars a year. When I headed the Internal Security Force and was responsible for 27,000 soldiers, I had a budget of 500 million dollars – half the budget of Hizbullah.
Future TV [Lebanon], May 2, 2015
Ashraf Rifi: The Syrian regime] reminds me of the final days of Hitler's rule, right before the fall. When a regime starts to use unqualified children to fight in its defense, this is an indication that it is in its final days.