Ex Lebanese PM, Saad Hariri To Hezbollah: Time to get out of Syrian fire
The Daily Star/Oct. 29, 2014
BEIRUT: Lebanon must disengage from the civil war destroying Syria, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Tuesday, strongly condemning calls for Sunnis to defect from the Lebanese Army.
“The itinerant incidents we are witnessing these days in the Bekaa, Tripoli, Akkar, Minyeh, Dinnieh, and elsewhere, are a small sample of the huge fire that broke out in Syria,” Hariri said in a statement, “and impacts of the war that Bashar Assad told us would reach Lebanon and other countries.”
His message, which came a day after the Lebanese Army defeated a group of Islamist militants that were reportedly aiming to create an Islamic emirate in north Lebanon, laid out a series of principles that Hariri said the country must hold to in order to avert catastrophe.
The Future Movement leader called on Sunnis to remain united with the state, rejecting the idea of a Sunni revolution as “far from the aspirations and goals” of the sect.
“All calls to defect from the Army and incite the Sunni youth in particular to leave their posts and join armed organizations in Lebanon or abroad are condemned and rejected,” Hariri said.
“This call is equal to the plots to end the Lebanese formula and replace it with incomplete mini-states based on sectarianism that survive on the rubble of joint national life.
“The Sunnis in Lebanon were and always will be the solid base for moderation and unity. They are entrusted with a national and patriotic legacy and will not abandon it, regardless of the intensity of bullying against them with foreign weapons and weapons of those who depart from the state and its institutions.”Hariri insisted that Lebanon must implement an integrated security strategy, making the legitimate security forces “exclusively responsible for protecting the borders with Syria and preventing any military action in both directions, whether from Syrian groups toward Lebanon or Lebanese groups toward Syria.”
Hariri said that the advocates of the Syrian regime were making a considerable effort “to hold us responsible for a share of the fire and its spreading in a number of areas, in order to establish a Lebanese sectarian balance in the Syrian war that would justify the armed participation of Hezbollah in the Syrian war, and establish an equivalence … between the humanitarian and political support we offer the Syrian revolution, and the violation of the border by thousands of militants who went to Syria for the defense of Bashar Assad’s regime.”
“Our stance about the Syrian revolution is based on the noble meanings on which this revolution was built,” he said.
“We still have the firm conviction that the Syrians will be able to get through this ordeal and will refuse to choose between tyranny and terrorism regardless of the extent of despair and criminality.”
However, Hariri called on Syrian fighters to leave Lebanon out of their battle, saying it would only serve “the dearest wishes of the Syrian regime.”
“The armed and terrorist groups that are crossing the Lebanese borders and avenging Hezbollah on its own ground … are giving Hezbollah a new pretext to intervene in the Syrian war and to expand its security and military action in Lebanon,” he warned.
He also called on the government to balance the humanitarian needs of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon with national security concerns, while pressing political figures to come together to end the presidential vacancy.
“All partners in the country should put Lebanon’s interest over any other, and not allow the interest of the Syrian regime or any other external party to prevail over it,” he said.
“The time has come to be aware of the dangers of the deliberate involvement in the Syrian fire and to disengage from the Syrian front.”