The Lebanese, not the Sunni, Saad Hariri

The Future Movement leader returned to Beirut to participate in a ceremony to commemorate the 11th anniversary of his father’s assassination

Turki Aldakhil
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After being forced to stay out of Lebanon for a long time, Future Movement leader Saad Hariri returned to Beirut on Sunday to participate in a ceremony to commemorate the 11th anniversary of his father Rafiq’s assassination. Saad’s speech soothed the wounds of people who remain without a president, and suffer from economic problems and the deterioration of services such as electricity-provision and trash-collection.

His speech reminded us of Rafiq, Lebanon’s most prominent martyr who built a modern country and wanted it to be independent rather than under Syrian tutelage. Saad’s return to Lebanon will reassure his supporters, and serve the values of which he spoke during his speech, the most significant of which is the concept of a civil state.


He spoke out against militant behavior, intervening in other countries’ domestic affairs - unlike what Hezbollah is doing in Syria, Iraq and Yemen - and practises that obstruct the holding of parliamentary sessions and elections.


The current challenges in Lebanon are not easy. Al-Nusra Front controls some Lebanese areas, and Hezbollah is engaged in a fierce and bloody battle in Syria. Meanwhile, sleeper cells of Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Abdullah al-Azzam brigades will be a nightmare for security forces and the Lebanese people.

Uncontrolled borders and political divisions have helped attract several terrorist groups to Lebanon. Meanwhile, some Lebanese ministers seem to represent Iran rather than their own country. This makes them ministers of Hezbollah, not of the government of Lebanon, which includes more than 25 religious sects.

Saad’s return to Lebanon will reassure his supporters and serve the concept of a civil state

Turki Al-Dakhil

Saad’s speech represented moderation, as he did not make sectarian statements and addressed the entire Lebanese people rather than just his Sunni supporters or certain categories of society. This is why totalitarian parties were angry the next day.

For example, As-Safir newspaper accused Saad of worsening the presidential crisis. Rival parties seem to forget all his efforts to resolve the crisis. He first nominated Samir Geagea for the post, then talked about nominating Michel Aoun, and finally nominated Suleiman Franjieh. All these attempts yielded no results because Hezbollah wants to subjugate and silence other parties.

There is a huge difference between supporters of a state that unites people and respects democracy, the constitution and civil values, and militants whose hands are stained with the blood of innocent people in several Arab countries.

This article was first published by Al-Bayan newspaper on Feb. 17, 2016.
Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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