Saad Hariri and Walid Jumblatt both held press conferences....
Saad spoke of national unity but stressed the importance of the state, the sole authority in the country. He refused that the state be a synonym for weakness, its institutions discarded and abandoned. He strongly affirmed that the Lebanese cannot have dignity without their state and warned of the dangers that lurk as a result of the latest Israeli aggression, reitirating that it would no longer be allowed for the state to be the weakest player in the country.
He referred to the dangers that originate from the wreckless speeches coming from abroad, an obvious reference to Bashar's speech, citing it as all the more reason for rallying behind a strong state. Saad also spoke of the army, looking forward to the role that it, with the help of the international community, will play in the south. He further attacked Bashar, describing the Syrian president's latest speech as heavy shelling and bombing of a different kind. He described it as a speech inciting hatred and not becoming of the position of the president of Syria, interfering in Lebanese matters, giving lessons in patriotism and resistance while his Golan heights are occupied. Saad then addressed the Syrian people contrasting their love and friendship towards the Lebanese to their regime's hatred and lies, reminding them again of the occupied Golan. He accused the regime in Syria of trading in the blood of the children of Qana, Gaza and Baghdad to further its own goals. He also sympathized with the Syrian people's plight, and with their quest for freedom as they have to watch their dictatorial regime attacking democratically elected governments.
He warned that Lebanon is flanked by two neighbors that it should be wary of, for different reasons, and ended his speech by stressing national unity...
In short, Hariri focused on the need for a strong state and dedicated some time to replying to the Syrian president's tirade against lebanon.
Jumblatt started his press conference by referring to US president G.W. Bush's policy of pre-emptive strikes, and his invasion of Iraq and the insuing chaos over there. He also referred to the Iranians and their nuclear program.
He said that wars should not play out in Lebanon, whether initiated by Syria and Iran or the US and Israel.
He then reminded Nasralla of the fact that he and others of March 14 who defended the resistance at various occasions on the international scenes, but asked who the "resistance" pledges loyalty to.
More importantly he referred to Nasralla's claims that the Americans and Israelis had this all planned out from before, asking him whether the government deserved to know of such information. Jumblatt went on point by point referring to Nasralla's various speeches highlighting his blatant disregard to the Lebanese state.
Jumblatt then pointed out that it was easy for Nasralla to rebuild the destroyed homes using Iranian money, but that it would not be that easy to rebuild the destroyed trust in Lebanon. He also reminded that not once in any of his speeches did Nasralla mention the Taif accord or the Lebanon-Israel armistice agreement, two very important documents in Jumblatt's opinions. He then asked again, now that the army was heading south... whether it would be possible to finally apply the armistice agreement, or would we have to fight till eternity while not a shot is fired from the Syrian Golan heights... Jumblatt then addressed the topic of dignity, asking whether the only path to dignity is by adhering to the Iran/Syria axis, adding whether a country's "dignity" is achievable without state institutions.
Jumblatt returned to the issue of the army heading south, calling the agreement by which such a move was authorized vague (in reference to the cabinet meeting and decision). He pointed out that Nasralla on the one hand says yes to the army, and on the other maneuvers against it. He then referenced Nasralla's veiled questioning of the Taif state, saying that this was uncalled for. He refuted Nasralla's argument of protecting Lebanon by remaining outside the state institutions by citing all the destruction that fell on the state and the people despite those intentions.
He then asked whether we were destined to be like Abu-mazen and Arafat's authority in Palestine? He pointed out that one day Olmert would fall and Netanyahu would take his place, and the cycle of violence would continue, only in Lebanon the one field for everyone's war games. He addressed the resistance crowd, i.e. the Shia, to respect the feelings of the rest of the Lebanese, who do not want to see their country destroyed... He ended this part of his speech by saluting the fighters, and the people who held strong during the crisis.
Jumblatt then moved on to discuss Assad's speech. He reminded the Syrian regime that Jumblatt had chosen to move past his father's assassination (by Syria), in order to protect both the Lebanese and Syrian people against a surrender to Israel (May 17). He asked whether the only way Assad knew how to conduct resistance was by using Lebanon to improve your negotiating position with the US. He stressed that the Syrian game is clear, pausing to ask Nasralla whether the consensus on the international tribunal on the Hariri assasination still held. Pointing out that criminals usually go back to the scene of the crime, he noted how Assad refers to the Hariri investigation. He also pointed out how Assad was exporting militants to Iraq, wondering whether that will be our destiny in Lebanon as well.
Jumblatt ended by quoting former Iranian president Khatami who had said that promoting moderate islam and moderate christianity reduce the risk of confrontation, and that Lebanon is a model of such moderation... Khatami had also said that Israel sees no problem pursuing some of its historic goals; thus, she should be given no excuse to allow her to do so... Jumblatt then referred to another Shia, the very well respected late sheikh Shamsiddine who had asked the Shias to immerse themselves in their countries and not to create for themselves different paths than those of their compatriots... and not to heed the calls that promise to differentiate between them and others... and to stay firm ... on the Taif path ...
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Saad Hariri and Walid Jumblatt both held press conferences....