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If Only Hariri Would! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Syrian President responded to the idea of the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri by saying “we believe that Saad Hariri is capable of overcoming the current situation. In the current crisis, he is capable of helping Lebanon and we believe that he is a capable individual. I believe that he is the only one able to overcome the present situation in Lebanon.” This was during an interview that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad conducted with Ghassan Charbel for Al-Hayat newspaper.

This answer by itself should be enough to convince Hariri and his supporters of the necessity of resigning now, which is what I proposed in my article “If I Were to Advise Hariri” which was published on the day that the Syrian president commented on the consequences of Hariri resigning, should this happen [25/10/2010]. The Syrian president explicitly stated that Hariri “is capable of overcoming the current situation” and that “he is the only person able to overcome the present situation.”

What does this mean?

The meaning, and importance of this, is that [Saad] Hariri is the only one capable of corrupting the value of the international tribunal, rather than postponing or even ending it. Hariri is the victim’s next of kin, and the leader of the Lebanese Sunni community in Lebanon today, as well as the country’s prime minister, and Hariri is capable of neutralizing his followers by drawing a line under his father’s assassination or attacking the international tribunal. This is what the Syrian statement means.

The seriousness of this issue lies in the fact that Hariri is not the prime minister of Lebanon’s Sunni community but rather the prime minister of all of Lebanon, and the inheritor of Rafik Hariri’s [political] project. Therefore attacking the international tribunal will be akin to attacking everybody that wants a stable future for Lebanon, especially as the Syrian statement talks about the importance of [Saad] Hariri “in this difficult period” rather than for the future of Lebanon. The international tribunal is also not solely investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri, but also his colleagues that died in the same treacherous attack, including those affiliated to other sects, which includes Christians.

Therefore Saad Hariri’s strength today lies in resigning, rather than remaining [in power]. The resignation of Saad Hariri is in the interests of Lebanon, for the present and the future, for this strengthens the position of [Lebanese] prime minister, amid the many concessions that have weakened this post for the future, which represents a threat to Lebanon. Hariri’s resignation today would also turn the tables on those that want to tarnish the reputation of the international tribunal, and make Hariri the right person not just for this stage, but for the future of Lebanon as well.

Somebody might say that the [Lebanese] opposition today is capable of replacing Hariri as prime minister; however this is not true, for no respected Lebanese Sunni leader will accept placing himself in this position, and appearing to have sold out Lebanon and its Sunni community. By moving from a position of weakness to the prime minister’s chair – solely in order to disrupt the efforts of the international tribunal – any [Lebanese Sunni] leader will be viewed in the same manner as Alaa Hussein Ali, who served as the head of a puppet government in Kuwait during Saddam Hussein’s occupation of the country. This is something that will not be accepted by the influential Arab countries in the region, nor will such a government be recognized by the West.

Therefore, unfortunately, all the data today says that the most effective solution would be for Hariri to resign, this would not mean that Hariri is deserting Lebanon – as some would like to think – but rather that he is protecting it from the Iranian project in order to restore the situation back to normal. So will Hariri resign?

So in the style of Arabic verse, let us say: Saad, this is how you lead camels to water [i.e. this is the only way to deal with the issue].

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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