Few people, other than historians, remember Churchill, Stalin or Mao Zedong, in spite of the significance of these leaders’ achievements. This is for two reasons. Their actions veered between war and peace and between good and beneficial and because the fates of their countries changed after them, to the complete opposite in some cases.
Zayed and Hariri
This is not the case with the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for example as he established a state that none of his contemporaries could have imagined accomplishing. He led this state to success during his time and his sons followed on his steps and have achieved marvelous success. His sons have continued to build on the success of the founding father, and here they are celebrating the centennial of their great father as they continue to build upon what he established.
This is also the case with Rafiq Hariri as he contributed to ending the civil war and in reconstructing Lebanon. He educated generations, promoted peace and harmony and drew in everybody’s participation. It is for this reason that each success in Lebanon, reminds people of him and his path. Every failure of the state or the community also reminds of him in the context of why did Hariri succeed, while his enemies fail?
After 13 years of his martyrdom, Rafiq Hariri is still widely remembered. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is investigating his murder, will soon give its verdict against those accused of killing him, based on 1,236 pieces of evidence. Of course, Lebanon and the region witnessed tremendous changes since Hariri’s death. Thus the news of a verdict by the STL soon – after people were about to give up on the court – came as a shock to several parties.
After 13 years of his martyrdom, Rafiq Hariri is still widely remembered.Radwan al-Sayed
Hezbollah and the STL
As for Hezbollah which the STL accused four of its members of assassinating Hariri, a verdict against them will come at a totally unsuitable time. After the assassination, Hezbollah became too big, fought a war against Israel, occupied Beirut, controlled state institutions and the premiership, the presidency of the republic and the speakership of parliament. It also indulged in vandalism on the instructions of Vilayat-e Faqih. The leader of the party himself considered that the “Resistance” forces to be more powerful than all Arab armies! However, now that it has been categorized as a terror group and became internationally pursued, the STL has worsened its reputation and noted that Hezbollah’s glories included criminal political assassinations, most importantly of Rafiq Hariri.
The Iranians had believed that their opportunity in the Levant had come when the US occupied Iraq in 2003. While Iran was going back to revive its nuclear program and infiltrating Iraq, the region lost some of its most important leaders like Sheikh Zayed, King Hussein, King Fahd, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein.
Thus the Iranians thought that by killing Hariri, who was widely popular around the world, the Middle East would be left without big leaders. They told Bashar al-Assad (who unlike his father was not inclined to Hariri) that Hariri posed a threat to him even in Syria. All senior officials in Hafez Assad’s administration were friends of Hariri. However, like all assassins, they did not consider the long term consequences so they attacked Lebanon’s leaders and high-ranking Assad regime officials in order to give a chance to Bashar al-Assad to govern. However, leaders of the March 14 movement, who were powerful in the Lebanese government and the parliament at that time, did not stand idle and sought the establishment of the STL to try Hariri’s assassins, especially after Syrian troops withdrew from the country.
Alive after death
When we say that the situation has changed a lot since Hariri’s assassination in 2005, it’s because Hariri’s enemies have taken control over power everywhere but later the countdown for their glories and control began even in Iraq and Syria. This is happening in Iraq after the consequences of their sabotaging acts began to surface and it’s happening in Syria because despite everything they provided for Assad, the Russians have the upper hand. In addition to being attacked by Israel without responding to it, these enemies have suffered from the same burdens Iran is suffering from due to the policies of murder, displacement, nuclear weapons’ programs and militias that are brought from across the world and due to the US’ confrontation of them for their encroachment during Trump’s term.
Iran’s sectarian project still has its supporters in Lebanon, as well as in Syria and Iraq. However, even after his death, Rafiq Hariri can still tell his opponents and supporters that he is still present with his peaceful developmental and constructive agenda and his Arab political integrity.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Radwan al Sayed is a Lebanese thinker and writer who attained a bachelor degree from the Faculty of Theology at al-Azhar University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tübingen in Germany. He has been a scholar of Islamic studies for decades and is the former editor-in-chief of the quarterly al-Ijtihad magazine. Radwan is also the author of many books and has written for Arab dailies such as al-Ittihad, al-Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat.