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Leadership is sacrifice - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I have often heard men say that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, had a lot of respect and appreciation for the late Kamal Jumblatt. The King believes that Jumblatt held a stance which ultimately cost him his life, but he never compromised his position.

I recalled this after a recent press conference, in which Walid Jumblatt, the son of the late Lebanese leader, declared that he had changed his allegiances [regarding the nomination of the next Prime Minster], and joined forces with Syria and Hezbollah. This move was considered a complete reversal of his previous position, and thus there is a clear difference between the son and his father! Walid says that he wants to maintain civil peace in Lebanon, and this desire is both sincere and noble. It is a desire which I have repeatedly heard from Jumblatt himself, whether over the telephone or in person during my last interview with him in Beirut. However, this is also one of the most important reasons to hold everyone to the International Tribunal, in order to put an end to assassinations and political crimes, and furthermore to put an end to the manipulation of Lebanon, and the constant threats to its unity, sects, and above all, its existence.

Regarding Jumblatt’s recent statements, some believe that he has not completely closed the door on the March 14th Alliance, which he insinuated by saying he had joined Syria and Hezbollah. It could be that his deputies hold a different stance regarding nominations for the next Prime Minister. The irony is that Hezbollah and its allies, and those behind them of course, want to nominate Omar Karami as Prime Minster…the man who held that very post when Rafik Hariri was assassinated, yet today he is being put forth as a candidate to lead a government intending to abolish the Hariri Tribunal! I was thoroughly convinced by what Eli Maroni, a member of al-Kata’ib bloc, said the day before yesterday in our newspaper, stating “MP Jumblatt’s move to stand with Syria and Hezbollah was imposed upon him by threats and intimidation. This happened as a result of the strong presence of armed Hezbollah militants between my town Qmatiye and Aley (all predominantly Druze areas). This has left the Lebanese in a state of constant anxiety, stemming from the fear of weapons”. I sensed this much from sporadic conversations with Walid Jumblatt, and I have also heard such comments from those close to Jumblatt himself, and others who are in communication with him.

Thus someone might say Walid Jumblatt is changing his stance based on a rational motive; to protect his followers, the Druze. This is true, for it is the duty of a leader, any leader, to take into account the interests of those who follow him. However, only taking the interests of supporters into account is an act of self-preservation, whereas it is also the duty of the leader to achieve a larger objective, namely the preservation of the Lebanese state. He must protect all components of Lebanon, including the Druze, but not at the expense of others. If Lebanon does indeed end up with a government led by Iran and Syria, as hinted by Samir Geagea, this will mean an end to the Lebanese state, and even an end to the Druze community. They will either be transformed into followers of the Wali al-Faqih, or handed over to the intelligence services.

To give Lebanon to Iran, with the blessing of the Lebanese leaders, is both cowardly and weak. [Lebanese leaders] ought to be reminded of the piece of history that I am recalling today, that Kamal Jumblatt was a brave man and uncompromising in his positions. Therefore we say to Mr. Walid Jumblatt: leadership is sacrifice.

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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