“And I searched for a fellow Muslim than is willing to vote for this project [Civil Marriage], and I did not find this Muslim colleague to sign this project with me.
(Hands of some deputies rise and they say I sign)
Who ? You? You? You? I want a Sunni one.”
Raymond Edde didn’t live to see it, but apparently, Saad Hariri is the “Sunni one”. And this major step from the former PM means a lot.
Going against the Mufti. The fatwa made any Muslim official voting for the law an apostate. Hariri, after making sure for the past two years that he was the representative of the Sunnis by his sectarian speeches, is now making sure that he takes down any official religious influence (like the one coming from the Grand Mufti) by opposing it since the very beginning. Also by saying no to the Mufti, It’s going to be harder from now on for M8 to call him a sectarian or a salafi supporter. Meet the newest Sunni moderate, Saad Hariri.
A National Stand. Mikati keeps describing himself as a centrist. He is always shown as a wise man, that is ready to give up anything “for the sake of Lebanon”. At first he accepts the premiership in June 2011 so that Lebanon doesn’t get destabilized, then he refuses to resign in October 2012 so that the country doesn’t sink into chaos. At both times, he goes against the majority of the Sunnis, “for the sake of Lebanon”. Meanwhile, Mikati adopts a self-dissociation policy from Syria to show himself as a neutral politician that only cares about Lebanon. Hariri understood that unless he shows himself as a Lebanese citizen, ready to sacrifice his ideals for the sake of Lebanon, he will not be able to make it as a prime minister. Hariri told Marcel Ghanem that he wouldn’t allow his children to have civil marriage, but that he would support civil marriage it because he represents the Lebanese. Hariri is now going against his sect (or at least the Grand Mufti) “for the sake of Lebanon”.
Hezbollah’s strategy against Hezbollah. Hariri understood what Hezbollah did during the electoral debate. Hezbollah knew from the beginning that Future Movement would go against the Orthodox Gathering law, so he supported it. Now Hariri is doing the same thing. He knows that Hezbollah wouldn’t accept civil marriage as a religious party, so he makes sure he’s the first to support civil marriage putting Michel Aoun’s Muslim allies in an embarrassing situation. It’s all about the timing. Notice Hezbollah’s silence.
It seems that Hariri is learning from his mistakes.