Identity, Equality, Unity
|A file photograph of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. (The Daily Star)|
BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri slammed Hezbollah’s leader Saturday for intervening in the conflict in Syria, warning that the resistance had sealed its fate by assisting President Bashar Assad’s fighters against rebels in the Syrian border town of Qusair.
“The resistance ends by your [Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah] hands and will. The resistance announced its political and military suicide in Qusair,” said Hariri, referring to the Syrian border city where battles between Syrian government forces led by Hezbollah and rebels have raged since Sunday.
“You have taken the resistance to defeat in Qusair,” he said.
“You have carved in Syria and with the blood of children and women and the elderly … an abyss that you wanted the resistance to fall into it. Your speech is a frank announcement that you have fallen into the abyss,” Hariri, a staunch critic of the resistance group, said.
He also accused the Hezbollah chief of inciting sectarian sentiments.
“You incited sectarian and religious sentiments like never before [during your speech],” Hariri, addressing Nasrallah, said.
During a one-hour televised speech, Nasrallah admitted his fighters were participating in the conflict in Lebanon’s neighbor and vowed his group would secure victory in Syria.
The Hezbollah chief, who regards the crisis in Syria as a conspiracy by foreigners targeting Assad, described the Damascus regime as the resistance’s “backbone” and argued that the toppling of the embattled Syrian leader would pave the way for Israel to target his group next.
The comments by Hariri, who heads Lebanon’s March 14 coalition, came only hours after Nasrallah delivered a speech on the 13th anniversary of Liberation and Resistance Day – Israel’s withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000.
Hariri, who praised the Lebanese who had sacrificed their lives to liberate Lebanon from Israeli occupation, also accused Nasrallah of hijacking the occasion, portraying the victory as one by Hezbollah alone.
“I would like to salute on this occasion the souls of those who were martyred during the march to liberation, stressing that the victory of 2000 is the [product] of the single Lebanese will and unanimity over the right of Lebanese to liberate their lands and defend them by all means,” he said.
“This truth has been hijacked on more than one occasion since 2000 and Hezbollah, and its followers, want to regard it as an exclusive and partisan right that concerns only one side that has the prerogative to struggle against the enemy and the prerogative to possess arms and point them in any direction it chooses without the rest of the Lebanese,” he added.
“The party is still adamant on turning this memory into occasion for partisanship,” he said.
Hariri also accused Nasrallah of using the occasion to denigrate the Lebanese state and all its facets.
“[Hezbollah] uses the memory as an occasion to accuse the Lebanese state, the people and the Army of shortcomings at the national level and the inability to provide the factors for sovereignty and defense,” he said.
“Nasrallah has denied the Lebanese state, the people and Army and civil society the ability to face anything,” Hariri said.
“This state, in the eyes, beliefs and ideology of Nasrallah, is good for nothing, neither at the political, security, defense or economic levels,” he added.
During his speech, Nasrallah scorned the Lebanese state, saying it was ill-prepared to defend against any potential threat from Israel.
“This state can’t even agree on an electoral law,” Nasrallah told his followers.
Hariri said Nasrallah’s ultimate objective behind putting down the state was to usurp it.
“The solution for Hezbollah is for the party to take the seat of power and that weapons remain in its hands forever.
During his speech, Nasrallah also took aim at the national defense strategy put forward by President Michel Sleiman, which the Lebanese leader envisages would place the Hezbollah’s arsenal under the command of the Army.
Hariri slammed Nasrallah for his dismissing of Sleiman’s plan.
“Nasrallah tells the president and all the heads of the National Dialogue Committee that any talk of a defense strategy or placing of the resistance’s weapons under the authority of the state is talk that Nasrallah has decided to throw in the party’s trash can,” Hariri said.
“[By this] Nasrallah is telling all the Lebanese: don’t tire yourselves for there is one side and one sect in Lebanon that is responsible about national sovereignty and it alone is entrusted with defending the borders and possessing arms and the use of such weapons at any time and any place it chooses,” the Future Movement leader said.
“Nasrallah calls on the Lebanese and the president and all the political leaderships and parties and sects to acknowledge Hezbollah’s state whose word rises above the word and will of the Lebanese republic,” he added.
Hariri said Nasrallah had devised an “ingenious fatwa” for sanctioning Lebanese taking up arms and fighting wherever they chose.
“You Lebanese, if you want to fight, then Nasrallah has invented an ingenious fatwa for fighting. You Lebanese can now fight on Syrian soil and send projects of death and martyrs to Qusair and Homs’ outskirts,” Hariri said.
“We say to Nasrallah bluntly and honestly, you can shout whatever you want and you can threaten, launch accusations and describe the state in whatever terms pleases you … your latest speech is worth nothing,” he said.