BEIRUT: Allies of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri reacted with scorn on Sunday after an apparent attempt by his elder brother Bahaa Hariri to return to the political arena.
Mustafa Alloush, a member of the political bureau of Saad’s Future Movement, told Arab News he was surprised by Bahaa’s sudden “zeal for Lebanon, from which he has been away since the assassination of his father.”
The two men’s father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, died when his convoy in central Beirut was targeted by a van bomb widely attributed to Hezbollah in February 2005.
Alloush was responding to a statement by Bahaa Hariri in which he offered his support to forces calling for political change in Lebanon.
Bahaa said that after the end of the coronavirus pandemic, Lebanon would return to a corrupt and greedy system that used hollow sectarian rhetoric to “steal our country’s capabilities.”
He called for the restoration of “the dignity of the Lebanese people, which has been lost” because of a corrupt political system.
“There is no strong, responsible, honest or economically robust state to shoulder the burden of inspiring activity across the country,” he said.
Bahaa expressed support for “the rightful demands” of “the people’s revolution against the system of corruption and illegal weapons.”
He criticized the tendency of most politicians and political parties after his father’s assassination in 2005 to accumulate power and money at the expense of the country and citizens’ interests by forming multiparty alliances.
Bahaa Hariri, who was born in Saudi Arabia in 1966, is thought to be worth more than $2 billion.
These alliances, he said, were formed on the basis of “we will be quiet about your arms and your party’s violation of national sovereignty, if you are quiet about our deals and theft of public money.” This, he said, was hurting Lebanon, its people and its international reputation.
Alloush said he could not find any plausible explanation for Bahaa’s statements. He said he believed there were parties in Lebanon that wanted to bring Bahaa back to the Lebanese political scene to take advantage of his wealth.
Bahaa Hariri, who was born in Saudi Arabia in 1966, is thought to be worth more than $2 billion. He worked in the family construction and development company, Saudi Oger, until 2008, when he set up his own operation in Switzerland.
Hariri also established the Horizon property development company, which has major projects in Beirut as well as the Abdali development in central Amman in Jordan.