Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Hariri and returning to his roots | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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I have never seen as clear or as frank a speech by former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri as the speech he gave last week. In this speech, Hariri took a step closer to all the people of Lebanon, announcing clear positions on the international tribunal investigating the death of the martyr Rafiq Haririr, the issue of arms, and Lebanese unity. In this speech, Hariri truly returned to his political roots, the roots of his cause, and the cause of all Lebanese.

In his last speech, Hariri clearly stated, and in a manner far removed from the clever ideas of those seeking political power in Lebanon, or Syria’s disciples [in the country], that “”I entered political life after the assassination of my father on 14 February, and since then I began national life on 14 March 2005, marching with you, and with all the people of Lebanon. These are my roots, and I will not renounce them.”

These truly are Saad Hariri’s [political] roots, and it can be said that his political birth occurred on the day that his father was assassinated, as well as the day that he went out to fight for Lebanon’s right to democracy and justice, rather than a sectarian Lebanon that is ruled from abroad. If Saad Hariri had forgotten this fact then this would have been his political end.

However, despite this, Hariri accepted the Saudi efforts, or what was known as the “S – S initiative” for two reasons that he asserted over and over again, and they are; his complete confidence in King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz’s love for Lebanon and his dedication to Arab unity. Secondly, Hariri always said “I do not want revenge, but for justice to emerge from Lebanon, out of the game of assassination and intimidation.” The importance of Hariri’s speech is that this was not ambiguous, but rather he very clear and explicit. Hariri was [also] completely correct to start his speech against the backdrop of the “S – S initiative” saying “I committed myself to silence regarding the ‘S – S initiative’ because those who want to succeed don’t leak [to the media] or issue statements, but work [in this regard].”

This is true, for all the leaks that came out were either from Damascus or the Beirut suburbs [i.e. Hezbollah]. Media sources are well-known, and there is no secret over this, for the media would say that “the Syrian official said…” or “the Syrian official confirmed…” without any official confirmation or denial coming from Syria about such leaks. Therefore Hariri has done very well to explicitly inform all Lebanese about what was going on [during this period] as well as his opinions of this. This is no less important than the statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Minister in which he announced that his country was washing its hands of mediation in Lebanon. This was not because Saudi Arabia was abandoning the country, but rather in order to allow the public to clearly see which Lebanese figures wanted the best for Lebanon, and which wanted to transform the country into an Iranian province.

If Hariri had not returned to his true political roots – the death of his father and 14 March [2005] which ultimately led to the Syrian army withdrawing from Lebanon – then Lebanon as a whole would have been lost, not just its leadership. The fear today for Lebanon the state is greater than our concern for its leadership. This is what Hariri’s speech clarified. Therefore, his most recent speech will be very important for Lebanon, this is because – according to the Taif Agreement – there can be no leniency with regards to justice, no concession on the issue of arms, and no negligence with regards to Lebanese unity.

These are the roots that it is up to everybody, not just Hariri, to return and commit to, for the sake of Lebanon that must not find itself under the authority of the Wali Al Faqih, or under the guardianship of any neighbor, but rather under the umbrella of its own parliament and constitution.