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Hezbollah guarded al-Assad during rally appearance – Ahmad Hariri | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Future movement Secretary-General Ahmad Hariri stressed that “it is the Syrian regime who is afraid and confused and anxious, not the Syrian people who have broken through the barrier of fear and taken the decision of change, which there can be no retreat from.”

Hariri also claimed that “when Bashar al-Assad appeared in the midst of supporters in Umayyad Square [in Damascus]…he was being guarded by members of the Hezbollah security apparatus” adding “this public appearance which did not last more than three minutes was very similar to the appearance of [Hezbollah chief] Hassan Nasrallah in front of his supporters during the Ashoura [celebrations].”

The Future Movement Secretary-General also asserted that “more than 200 cars, in addition to a bus full of passengers, travelled from Lebanon to Syria, to secure the pro-Assad demonstration during Bashar al-Assad’s appearance at Umayyad Square” adding “this represents the best evidence regarding the extent of the trouble that al-Assad and his regime is facing.”

Hariri also stressed that “large regions of Syria are outside of the control of the regime, and this confirms the seriousness and strength of this revolution, and that the Syrian people are capable of achieving victory and reaching freedom, democracy, and a dignified life.”

As for the position of the Future movement – and former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri – supporting the proposal made by Qatar to the Arab League to send an Arab peacekeeping force to Syria, the Future movement Secretary-General told Asharq Al-Awsat that “there can be no doubt that we support and are united with the Syrian people…however it is the Syrian people themselves who must decide their own fate.” He added “when there was a crisis in Lebanon, the Arab League took a decision to send the Arab Deterrent Force to Lebanon, and if the Arab League takes the decision to send such troops to Syria today for the sake of regional stability and to stop the bloodshed being carried out against the Syrian people…then we support this.”

He also stressed the necessity of “dealing with the Arab Spring as an irreversible reality, with the objective of achieving political, economic, social, and humanitarian reform; moving away from conspiracy theories.” He added “the problem that these societies have been suffering from for decades is that there is a [social] class that is accumulating wealth, and another class that is drowning in poverty.”

Responding to Syrian state television reports that he was responsible for smuggling arms from Lebanon to the city of Homs, Hariri stressed that such accusations are “false and without any legitimacy” adding “if the [Syrian] revolutionaries were armed, the situation [in Syria] would be different.” He also said that “it is well known that whenever there is any security disorder in any country, arms trade by those who do have any political affiliation occurs.”

He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Syrian regime has lost most of its cards, whether in Iraq or Palestinian, and the only card that it can play now is the Lebanese card, which it is using as a threat.” He added “this is why we have called on Lebanon not to be involved in any security threat…however this does not prevent us from expressing our political opinion to support the Syrian people.”

Hariri also asserted that “the path is now blocked in front of the Syrian regime: for the revolutionaries have broken through the barrier of fear, and the evidence of this is their defacement of images of al-Assad, and their destruction of statues of him and his father [Hafez al-Assad]. The [Syrian] protesters are taking to the streets, bear-chested, chanting ‘oh God, we rely on nobody but you’, and this is a beautiful slogan that reflects the fact that the Syrian revolutionaries have entered a crucial stage…where they are now only relying on God and themselves.”

He added “change is Syria has truly occurred, and there are scenarios that have begun to be put forward regarding how this change will play out…including the scenario that Bashar al-Assad and the pillars of his regime will flee the country.” He added “surprise is on the scene, and anything can happen, just look at how the Libyan regime confronted the [Libyan] rebels with tanks and missiles…but then suddenly Tripoli and Misrata fell [to the rebels], and the Gaddafi regime collapsed.”

Answering a question about the Arab League monitors’ mission to Syria, Hariri told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the experience of the Arab monitors in Syria failed, because the monitors did not take into account everything that was happening on the ground due to the harassment they were subject to. However there is one positive, namely they witnessed the lack of sincerity and abuses of the al-Assad regime, and we must wait for the new report which will represent an important turning point, and perhaps result in the situation being moved to another level.”

He also denied that Saad Hariri’s return to Lebanon is connected with the collapse, or survival, of the al-Assad regime, saying “this decision is in his [Saad Hariri’s] hands, and he will determine when the best time for his return is”