Nohad Mashnouq Slams Saudi Arabia
26 May 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Just because his movement lost in the latest municipal elections, he refuted
Saudi Arabia's history and major role it has played in his country during the
past 10 years!
It is hard to believe that this person is Nohad Mashnouq, the Lebanese
Minister of Interior and Municipalities, the Sunni who is loyal to Hariri
All these denials were made only to justify his loss in the municipal
Instead of taking responsibility for the loss in Tripoli to another Sunni,
Ashraf Rifi, Mashnouq slammed Saudi Arabia and the late King Abdullah, blaming
them for a rise in criticism against his ally Saad Hariri.
Regardless of any of these good values such as loyalty, chivalry and nobility,
we expected from him at least some kind of integrity to the history.
I am certain that Mashnouq will not be able to convince the majority of
Lebanese people, including the Sunnis, with his remarks against Saudi Arabia
and its late king.
Saudi Arabia is almost the only country that has stood by Lebanon and
supported Mashnouq's political movement. Mashnouq is fully aware of reality
and knows very well that Saudi Arabia is not to be blamed for Hariri's
retrogressions in the past few years. I suppose he was triggered by the
emotions of the scandalous defeat in Tripoli.
King Abdullah is considered an important leader in the region, and I believe
he will be remembered positively in Lebanon's history.
He was one of the only leaders to stand by the country after it was targeted
by the Syrian regime and its allies with assassinations, starting with the
late Rafiq Hariri.
Despite what Mashnouq and other politicians have been saying, Paris and
Washington have not played a decisive role in Lebanon, and Riyadh considers
the Lebanese issue crucial and rejected many attempts to stop facing Assad's
Riyadh and King Abdullah played a crucial role in the Syrian army's withdrawal
from Lebanon, the issuing of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the
establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), and the support for
the governments that were handled by March 14 leaders.
The Syrian regime and its allies Iran and Hezbollah sought to control Lebanon
by assassinating its prominent leaders, especially after Israel's withdrawal
from the south.
Mashnouq knows that Saudi Arabia, and especially the late King Abdullah, could
have only sent condolence letters for the assassinated families and left the
Lebanese face their fates alone; usually things happen this way in the region.
However, King Abdullah defended the Lebanese cause until his death.
Riyadh's stance was presented by letting ally countries, such as Cairo,
Washington, Paris, and Oman issue decisions against the Syrian presence in
Lebanon and form diplomatic front to face Assad's regime in the Arab League,
United Nations, Europe, and the United States; those that lasted years at the
diplomatic, legal, economic, security and media levels.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has tried hard several times, through many
intermediaries, to convince Riyadh to abandon its stance and its allies. He
even resorted to threats and insults against King Abdullah, but Riyadh
continued supporting Lebanon and the March 14 movement.
In order to justify losing in the municipal elections, Mashnouq selected
whatever he found appropriate to blame others without explaining tactic
situations or the period when these situations had happened; including
Hariri's visit to Damascus, which was within the latter's promises that
Mashnouq agreed on at that time.
King Abdullah reacted firmly after this visit, yet this did not prevent the
Kingdom from supporting Lebanon along the years of conflict.
Rivalry among Lebanese Sunni leaders is not new, yet it does not require
accusing others to justify a defeat in the municipality.
In Lebanese politics, Sunni and Christian leaders reflect the diversity of
voters, who do not feel condemned to external powers or to the sanctity of
certain leaders as is the case in the Iran-dominated Shiite community.
Saad Hariri's Future Movement should not justify its defeat, burn bridges and
offend its allies for some marginal and illusory gains. Rather than offending
the Saudis, the movement should work on the ground to regain people's trust.
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of
Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is
currently based in Dubai.