Lebanon's Hariri pledges to confront radicals

Lebanon's Hariri pledges to confront radicals
Sat Feb 15, 2014 09:25:20

Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri has vowed to tackle sectarian radicalism, calling on all factions in Lebanon to avoid being drawn into a "sectarian holocaust".

Citing the example set by his father Rafik Hariri on the ninth anniversary of his assassination, Hariri said moderation must win out as Lebanon faces violence fuelled by the foreign-sponsored Syria conflict and a political impasse in the war-torn country.

"We will confront incitement and dubious calls to drag Lebanese, particularly the Sunnis, into crazy wars with no use other than to pull Lebanon into a sectarian holocaust," he said.

Hariri was speaking to his supporters from an undisclosed location abroad via video link. He has cited security reasons for remaining outside his home country.

Hariri rejected the example of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra Front, and any call to embroil his fellow Sunnis in Lebanon in the war on the side of the Saudi-based extremist al-Qaeda groups, which follow the deviant Wahhabi ideology, opposed by most Muslims -- Sunnis as well as Shias.

"It is one of the most important speeches he has given since the eruption of the Syrian war," said Nabil Boumonsef, a columnist at the newspaper an-Nahar, describing his call for moderation as "very important" for the domestic audience.

The war in Syria has contributed to the political impasse that has left Lebanon without a government for 10 months.

The latest attempt by Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam to form a government was delayed on Friday due to differences between Hezbollah and Hariri over his nomination for interior minister, a senior political source said.


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