Profile: Lebanon’s PM-designate, Iyad al-Qazzaz

Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate, Prime Minister designate Gen. Michel Aoun, speaks on the phone to Israeli FM Yigal Palmor at the State House in Jerusalem, on 13 October 2018, prior to their meeting in Israel

Hours before his departure for the US, I can’t stop thinking about him. That movement of his head from one cheek to the other gave me the impression that he was preparing for the slaughter. I thought about that as I heard Umm Salam, his wife, speaking on the phone in grief and despair. I heard “Your God, you don’t have no prayers, no one to pray for you.”

He waited so long to say his name. We had wanted it to be Khaled Jumblatt because he means something to the people of the south, his rhetoric is like Jumblatt’s. But Khaled Jumblatt died before him, then I realized it had to be Iyad all over again. An old man. I found it too superficial, too dignified. I could not lie. I was not worried he was dead, I was waiting for him to begin.

It was a surprise, even to me, when I saw the smiling face of Iyad al-Qazzaz. I knew him from Nasrallah’s speech. It’s a surprise you know, he is a fascinating speaker, soft-spoken, observant. He has always said he would not commit to anything, he is a patient man. He is kind to everyone he knows. I want to have him as part of my government. He wanted this job, the whole gamut of it. He wants to run a medical university, and to start a housing project.

I consider him a confederate in this war. Iyad al-Qazzaz was from Basra, his father was from the south, he came from Lebanon. He only arrived in Beirut when he was 27. His father was killed in battle, his mother is a widow. All her children are either widows or dead. She left behind one son, Hassan Qazzaz, he is 29 years old, he is very charming, he is old school, pretty, he speaks Arabic well. Iyad al-Qazzaz is older, he is 29 years old, he is a doctor, he practices medicine. He talks in his opening speech about Hezbollah’s role in improving Beirut, restoring the health of the south. He was a part of the resistance, he was a part of the resistance. But to sit here now, with his nickname on your neck, how can you not go all the way?

Iyad al-Qazzaz was not a member of the resistance, he joined them because of the killing of his father. When he was about to die, I called his name and he woke up. He was allowed to choose to take part in a surgery. He would become a medical doctor, he could have joined Hezbollah, but he wanted to take part in political struggle, political struggle. In Lebanon, where medical personnel join political movements. They are in it for the challenges, they are in it for the victories, they are not part of it for them.

Now, sitting here in Washington, my prayers are with the United States, they must win and they must not give up. I know Hezbollah is waiting for us, we know that even when they entered Damascus, even when they put their foot here, I know they are waiting for us. They are scared of us, they are on the defensive, but when we show the world that we have the power of heriwnia to throw them back to Iran, to Iraq, to Syria, they will have to sit down. “

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