Rising above the fray

Lebanese army soldiers sit atop of an armoured carrier at the entrance of the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley August 5, 2014.REUTERS/Hassan Abdallah

Politicians in Lebanon have overwhelmingly come out in support of the Army as it works to contain an extremely dangerous situation in the town of Arsal.

Former premier Saad Hariri this week offered his unequivocal support for the military in a resounding rebuttal to his political rivals. For too long, they have made accusations – whether in public or in private – that the Future Movement leader somehow works to undermine national institutions such as the military or security agencies.

Hariri’s stance shows that nothing could be further than the truth, and it should be read carefully for its uncompromising support for the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces, and its uncompromising denunciation of terrorism and takfiri religious extremism.

The problem, as Hariri pointed out, is that an entire town, or sectarian community, is identified by some unscrupulous politicians as representing a “hotbed” or “incubator” of terror, when in fact the opposite is the case. Hariri voiced his disappointment that people in Arsal have been “turned into hostages” even though they have rejected takfiri extremists, while bearing the burden of caring for thousands of Syrian refugees.

When it comes to matters of such importance, Hariri’s unequivocal voice of support for the Army and opposition to takfiri extremism should be a model for politicians who regularly allow their own interests, and narrow sectarian considerations, to influence their positions.

If a firm stand against all types of extremism, and in support of healthy and functioning national institutions, had been adopted by politicians across the board in recent years, Lebanon would be in a much better situation than it now finds itself in.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 06, 2014, on page 7.




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