Saad Hariri versus the ‘supreme leader’

Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri touched upon several important issues in his speech delivered recently. The most important part of his speech was: “Lebanon will not be, under any circumstances, an Iranian province. We are Arabs, and Arabs we shall remain.” This goes on to show that there is awareness as far as the dangers of Iranian expansionism is concerned.

Hariri was speaking at an event marking the 11th anniversary of his father Rafiq Hariri's assassination. Throughout his speech, he referred to efforts being made to get rid of his father’s legacy. He said he was aware of the plots against Lebanon since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted on extending the term of former Lebanese president Emile Lahoud.

This was followed by a surge in assassinations, the 2006 war with Israel, an attempt to establish an Islamic emirate in northern Lebanon, and a sit-in in downtown Beirut intended to destroy the country’s economy and the city center.

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All these events, followed by the invasion of Beirut and the Shouf Mountains by Hezbollah in May 2008, must be recalled. The party imposed itself on government formation by armed forces in order to humiliate the Sunnis and Christians, and to prepare for Hariri’s departure from Lebanon due to serious threats to his life.

There is a “supreme leader” of Lebanon called Hassan Nasrallah who decides who will be president - Lebanese deputies are only required to validate what he decides

Khairallah Khairallah

The link between these events appears today in the form of the presidential vacuum imposed by Hezbollah. It boycotted sessions to elect a president after it decided to participate in a sectarian conflict against the Syrian people by a ruling minority that has no legitimacy. Hezbollah will not elect a president unless its conditions are met - first and foremost, to have the final say in Lebanon, especially in presidential elections.

In his speech Hariri highlighted the risk of Hezbollah’s ambitions materializing. The danger lies in its desire to indirectly change the nature of the Lebanese system. There is a “supreme leader” of Lebanon called Hassan Nasrallah who decides who will be president - Lebanese deputies are only required to validate what he decides.

Hariri emphasized that Lebanon’s president is elected by parliament and will not be chosen by Nasrallah. He said he would give his blessing to whosoever is elected. There is resistance to the take-over of Lebanon.

This article first appeared in Al-Arab on Feb. 17, 2016.
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Khairallah Khairallah is an Arab columnist who was formerly Annahar's foreign editor (1976-1988) and Al-Hayat's managing editor (1988-1998).

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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