On November 6, 2019, Lualua TV (Bahrain) aired a debate about the legitimacy of the Lebanese government and its leaders. Lebanese political analyst and criminal lawyer Sandrella Merhej said that Hizbullah and the Shiites do not control any areas in Lebanon. Amer Arnaout, another Lebanese political analyst, said that Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri are corrupt and illegitimate and that they must resign like Prime Minister Saad Hariri did. Merhej said that the protesters never criticized President Aoun, Speaker Berri, or Hizbullah. and she accused Arnaout of showing disrespect towards President Aoun. She said: “His Excellency, the President, is the crown on the head of the Lebanese Republic, along with the Lebanese resistance.”
Following are excerpts:
Sandrella Merhej: Hizbullah does not control any area in Lebanon – neither in South Lebanon or elsewhere. I oppose this kind of rhetoric in principle, and especially at this time, because this is the rhetoric of incitement. Do you belong to the fifth column that wants to use these protests for political and sectarian motives? Are you trying to make it seem as if there is a Shiite area in Lebanon that is controlled by Hizbullah? No! This is a sovereign liberated area.
Amer Arnaout: Most of the protesters were born after the Taif Agreement, and they say that this regime must be toppled. The current president of Lebanon is not a legitimate president. Michel Aoun is an illegitimate president, he just lives in the Baabda Presidential Palace. He should be gone. He should resign. Saad Hariri, the most corrupt of them all, has already resigned, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri must respect the will of the people, and he should be replaced following democratic elections. These people are militia leaders who were involved in war and bloodshed. The handles of all of them are soiled in blood – and they have also soiled their hands in the money of the Lebanese people. They have stolen $300 million from the Lebanese people and this money must be returned.
Sandrella Merhej: With regard to the anarchy he is talking about – the toppling of the president, the toppling of the parliament speaker, and the toppling of all these senior officials, only so we could say that we are moving towards optimal change… This is the constructive anarchy and the destruction that some seek. None of the protesters criticized President Michel Aoun, or even the parliament speaker, nor did they criticize the resistance and its weapons. There were some statements to that extent, here and there, and they are being abused politically.
You should respect the position of the president of your republic. That’s the least you can do as a Lebanese national, appearing on an Arab TV channel. You should respect the presidency. You should be loyal to the president and to your constitution.
Amer Arnaout: The resident of the Baabda Presidential Palace…
Sandrella Merhej: Don’t say this! Say: “His Excellency, the President.” His Excellency, the President, is the crown on the head of the Lebanese Republic, along with the Lebanese resistance.
Interviewer: I’ll let you speak last. Amer, go ahead.
Amer Arnaout: I am not used to hearing Sandrella screaming…
Sandrella Merhej: And I’m not used to hearing diplomatic curses in an embellished tone. You use diplomatic language to curse His Excellency, the President. I refuse to carry on with the show as long as he insults His Excellency, the President.
Interviewer: Help me out here, please…
Sandrella Merhej: Absolutely not! He should present his views without insulting His Excellency, the president or the position of the president. Darling, this is a republic not a terrorist takfiri state.