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If I Were to Advise Hariri - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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If I was an advisor to Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, having read the interview with Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari, in which he said “we do not consider things in terms of the 14th, 15th, 16th of March, for it is a cardboard box”, and added, “March 14th and March 15th, who are these [groups]?” I would say to myself (as Hariri’s advisor): “If this is how an official representative of Syria talks, I can’t imagine what ruder individuals might say!” Then I would hurry to my office and write Hariri the following letter:

Dear Prime Minister,

Greetings,

You must be aware, since the resumption of relations between you [Lebanon] and Damascus, about an unprecedented attack launched by the Syrian Prime Minister against the March 14th forces. Your country knows that this attack comes after a series of media insults issued from Damascus, undermining your rights and the right of the March 14th Alliance, via media outlets funded by Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran, in addition to what you already know and what’s been revealed to you by those that are informed. So I am writing to you, as a trusted advisor, to inform you that the time has come to make the appropriate decision, according to current circumstances and interests. This decision, your Excellency, is to resign as Prime Minister.

Your Excellency…

You fought the elections with your movement behind you, and your supporters, of whom there are many, and you secured a victory. However, you were unable to form a government, but you sensed your responsibility, went to Doha, and made concessions in order to preserve Lebanon. Then came the battle regarding the International Tribunal [investigating the murder] of Rafik Hariri and his companions, and you set up camp for justice in the heart of Lebanon. The court has now become an untouchable reality. You opened a new page of relations with Syria, and the Syrian President, and you visited Damascus. Furthermore, you spoke with positive language in your interview with ‘Asharq al-Awsat’, where you said: “Yes we made mistakes. The matter does not end at this point, but they ask the impossible today”.

The [current situation] is an impossible one, your Excellency. Either you contest the International Tribunal, merely so Hezbollah are acquitted, or they [Hezbollah] will continue to disrupt your work, paralyzing the government by calling for an investigation into false witnesses, although the Tribunal has stated that it has not and will not be based on such witnesses. All that is happening today is blackmail, in order to damage the reputation of the Tribunal before it issues its indictments, and this is political, moral and leadership suicide, your Excellency.

Accordingly, we believe that you should offer your resignation as Prime Minister, for no other Sunni politician will be able to assume office and make a decision that affects the Tribunal. Whoever the next Prime Minister is, the [implementation of the] Tribunal was an international decision, and thus any attempt to infringe upon it would be a great betrayal, and would not be accepted by influential Arab countries, let alone the West. Afterwards you will become, wherever you may be, a sanctuary [for the new leaders]. They will come to you because you will be their saviour. They will not be able to endure the Lebanese public, who will discover the threat they pose.

Resign today your Excellency as you have completed your duties, and made enough sacrifices and concessions. The time has come, your Excellency, to do as your father did, God bless his soul, when he found that all his roads were blocked, and entrusted Lebanon and its people to God.

This is what we have seen, and this is what our conscience dictates, may God watch over you.

The question now is will Hariri resign?

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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