Saudi Arabia has issued a powerful, two-pronged signal of its stance on the security crisis gripping the Lebanese town of Arsal: the need to confront terrorist extremists, and the need to do so via state institutions.
Only days ago, King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz issued a strong warning about the danger posed by extremists who claim to represent Islam, and the damage they are causing to the reputation of the faith of the world’s more than 1 billion Muslims. He also lamented the fact that his earlier warnings on the same topic failed to inspire meaningful follow-up on the part of the international community.
Former premier Saad Hariri relayed the news that Saudi Arabia would contribute $1 billion in assistance to Lebanese military and security organizations to combat this growing threat, meaning that the kingdom is coupling its weighty words with meaningful deeds.
Hariri noted that the resources would be going to the state, which bears the responsibility of eradicating the terrorist threat that is faced by Lebanon as well as the entire region.
Saudi Arabia has made similar gestures of support to Lebanon, and it is the responsibility of Lebanese officials to ensure that the funds are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The Army and security institutions have offered the ultimate sacrifice as they confront the extremists. The Lebanese people and their politicians must return the favor, by committing themselves to true national unity and ensuring that state institutions rise to the occasion. All of the country’s political factions should recognize the urgent need to put national interests ahead of the agendas of foreign countries, which have dragged Lebanon, against its will, into a destructive involvement in Syria’s war in recent years.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 07, 2014, on page 7.