Since the assassination of his father Rafik al-Hariri and his entry into the Lebanese political arena, adjectives like “young”, “inexperienced”, “[foreign] supported”, and “one does not reply to arms with arms” have been associated with Saad al-Hariri in order to diminish him.
These words were not just issued by his political opponents, and the above description falls under the category that being wronged by those close to oneself [is more painful than being stabbed with a sword], according to the Arab poet. However today, and after approximately 4 years, Saad al-Hariri has become the Prime Minister of Lebanon.
Saad al-Hariri is not Nabih Berri, and his greatest accomplishment will be to ensure that parliament remains open over the next four years. Saad al-Hariri is similarly not Michel Aoun, who craves power, or Hassan Nasrallah, the religious figure who receives his inspiration from Tehran.
Saad al-Hariri is not a political project, but an idea. He arrived at a time when the Syrian occupiers were withdrawing from Lebanon, and he entered the political arena at a time when a large wave of political assassinations were taking place throughout the country. Lebanon did not get over this wave [of assassinations] until the country became embroiled in a new adventure. This was Bin Nasrallah’s adventure in the summer of 2006 that resulted in the Israeli war that destroyed Lebanon, and from which [Hezbollah] emerge with international and Arab political and financial support. However the crises in Lebanon did not end here, and the country and Saad al-Hariri found themselves in even more trouble. Saad al-Hariri found himself, his allies, and his community under a new occupation when Hezbollah occupied Beirut. Saad a-Hariri, found himself, along with the rest of Beirut, under siege, and people were saying “Didn’t we tell you that he was inexperienced and lacked courage. Where are his arms and his money [now]? Where are his allies, since nobody has come to rescue him or us? This would never have happened if [his father] Rafik al-Hariri was here.” However those who said this forgot that Rafik al-Hariri was killed treacherously, and that the same will happen to all those who follow his [political] trend.
Saad al-Hariri emerged from under this occupation stronger, calmer and more determined than before. I asked him “People are saying, where are your weapons? Where are your men? How could you allow Bin Nasrallah to do what he did [and occupy Beirut?”
He answered “(At First) they attacked me because I armed (My People), and arrived with a militia, but after Beirut was occupied they attacked me for not having weapons.” Al-Hariri said “Hear me well, I will not arm, and I will not use weapons, my project is nation-building, not militia-building” adding “I made my pledge at the International Tribunal, and I have fulfilled this, and my battle now is to build a nation.”
Today building a nation is Saad al-Hariri’s project, and he is Prime Minister [of Lebanon] and the undisputed majority leader. However al-Hariri comes to office at a time when his country and the entire region are at a historic crossroads – as he himself said yesterday – for Iran is preoccupied [with internal affairs], a large portion of the lies and deception in our region has been uncovered, and Lebanon is approaching the end of the International Tribunal.
We are also closer to reaching peace [in the region] and we have witnessed significant change in the web of alliances at the national level, not to mention changes in the alliances of organizations and militias. The best thing today is that the [political] game is now taking place in the open; however unfortunately timidity is not one of the rules of this game.
Therefore what is important with regards to Saad al-Hariri becoming Prime Minster is not one group triumphing over another, but the triumph of Saad al-Hariri’s idea, namely the idea of building a nation.