Caretaker Energy and Water Minister Jebran Bassil on Sunday warned that the rebel assault on the Syrian Christian town of Maalula was a “serious signal that the plot to displace Christians from the Levant has started.” “The West's stance can be best summed up by what former French president Nicolas Sarkozy had told (Maronite) Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in 2011, when he said that Christians have no place in the Levant, especially in Lebanon and Syria, and by what we heard from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry two days ago when he said that there is no need to protect minorities,” Bassil said at a press conference he held at his Batroun residence. “In contrast, there are the stances of the BRICS and Russia, which has defended Christians and the church's stance,” Bassil added. The minister criticized some Lebanese politicians and media outlets for claiming that “nothing is happening” in Maalula. “What must happen so that they believe these incidents are taking place? Should they take place in Kesrouan for us to believe them?” he asked rhetorically. Bassil noted that Christians in Lebanon have endorsed two different choices. “Our choice is the Levantine Christian policy that calls for openness towards everyone, which we started through a memorandum of understanding with Hizbullah and which we want to continue with the other parties. It also started with (Free Patriotic Movement leader) General Michel Aoun's visit to Maalula … while the other choice is accepting the Takfiris' rise to power under the pretext of democracy,” he said. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea “urged us a week ago to reconsider our stance but the Maalula incidents have answered him,” Bassil added. “We are not pleased that it turned out we were right, as what is the use if we are right and an attack happens against all of us?” he said.
“We need a unified stance so that we can reject the Takfiris. We first need to reject their rise to power and we then need to reject war because it will lead to the displacement of Christians,” Bassil added.