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Lebanese minister Mashnouq slams Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is almost the only country that has stood by Lebanon and supported his political movement

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq justified his movement’s loss in municipal elections by denying history and the crucial role Saudi Arabia has played in his country.

Rather than take responsibility for the loss in Tripoli to another Sunni, Ashraf Rifi, Mashnouq slammed Saudi Arabia and the late King Abdullah, blaming them for a rise in criticism against his ally Saad Hariri.

Where are good values such as loyalty, chivalry and nobility? Mashnouq will not be able to convince the majority of the Lebanese people, including the Sunnis, with his remarks.

Saudi Arabia is almost the only country that has stood by Lebanon and supported his political movement. Mashnouq is fully aware of reality. I suppose he was triggered by the emotions of the scandalous defeat in Tripoli.

Loyalty

King Abdullah is considered an important leader in the region, and will be remembered positively in Lebanon’s history. He was one of the only leaders to stand by the country after it was targeted by the Syrian regime and its allies with assassinations, starting with the late Rafiq Hariri. While Paris and Washington have not played a decisive role in Lebanon, Riyadh considers the Lebanese issue essential.

Saad Hariri’s Future Movement should not justify its defeat, burn bridges and offend its allies for some marginal and illusory gains

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Riyadh and King Abdullah played a crucial role in the Syrian army’s withdrawal from Lebanon, the issuing of UN Security Council resolutions, and the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

They always supported the March 14 movement, while the Syrian regime and its allies Iran and Hezbollah sought to control Lebanon via assassinations, especially after Israel’s withdrawal from the south. King Abdullah defended the Lebanese cause until his death.

Syrian President Bash al-Assad has tried hard several times, and through many intermediaries, to convince Riyadh to abandon its position. He even resorted to threats and insults against King Abdullah, but Riyadh continued supporting Lebanon and the March 14 movement.

Accountability

Rivalry between Lebanese Sunni leaders is not new, but it does not require accusing others to justify defeat. In Lebanese politics, Sunni and Christian leaders reflect the diversity of voters, who do not feel condemned to external powers or to the sanctity of certain leaders, as is the case in the Iran-dominated Shiite community.

Saad Hariri’s Future Movement should not justify its defeat, burn bridges and offend its allies for some marginal and illusory gains. Rather than offend the Saudis, the movement should work on the ground to regain people’s trust.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Jun. 08, 2016.
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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed

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