BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Bahaa Al-Hariri said on Friday that he would continue the journey of his father, the late Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, and would “enter the battle to take back” the country.
Bahaa’s younger brother, Saad, a three times prime minister, announced earlier this week that he was not running in a forthcoming parliamentary election and was stepping back from his role in political life, calling on his political party to do the same.
Bahaa, 55, who has not held public office before and largely kept away from politics, said in a recorded speech sent to news outlets, including Sawt Beirut, that he “will fight the battle to restore the country and restore the sovereignty of the country from its occupiers.”
He added that “any misinformation or intimidation” alluding to a power vacuum among Lebanon’s Sunni Muslims “serves only the enemies of the country.”
Saad cited Iran’s influence as one of the reasons he saw little hope of positive change for Lebanon, an influence it wields through Shiite group Hezbollah.
Bahaa has been an open, fierce critic of his brother’s policy toward the Iran-backed group.
“The son of the martyr Rafik Hariri will not leave Lebanon, I am with you and very soon I will be among you,” Bahaa said in his speech.
Full address, as reported by Sawt Beirut:
“My Lebanese brothers and sisters…
Greetings from the heart…
The absence was prolonged, but you were always present in my heart and mind. I will not talk about the seriousness of the stage because you know its dangerousness and the accuracy of the upcoming stage.
First of all, it must be emphasized that neither our religion, nor our morals, nor our upbringing, we, the sons of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, allow us to abandon our responsibility and we put all our capabilities for the sake of Lebanon’s renaissance, Lebanon the message, Lebanon the symbol, Lebanon the homeland.
The family of the martyr Rafik Hariri, the small as his big family, did not, does not, and will not disintegrate. In partnership and solidarity, we will fight the battle to restore the homeland and restore the sovereignty of the homeland from its occupiers.
I will continue the path of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
We are continuing what we learned from the parents of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
We learned that:
We are the people of moderation, not extremism;
We are the people of reconstruction, not collapse;
We are people of citizenship, not discrimination;
We are the people of sovereignty, not dependence;
We are the people of the Arab depth;
The son of the martyr Rafik Hariri will not leave Lebanon, we are with you and very soon we will show you.
Long live free and independent Lebanon.