Last updated: 20 October, 2011

Lebanon’s Hariri warns ‘tyrants’ to face Kadhafi’s fate

Lebanon’s Western-backed opposition leader Saad Hariri warned that “despotic regimes” and “tyrants” across the region would face the fate of Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi, killed Thursday in his hometown Sirte.

“The end of Moamer Kadhafi is the inevitable end of all tyrants who have responded to the free, democratic will of their people with killing and oppression and blood,” said the former minister in a statement.

Kadhafi, 69, governed Libya with an iron grip for almost 42 years until a February 15 revolt challenged his rule and pushed the country into civil war which saw his capital overrun in August.

He was killed as former rebels — forces loyal to the internationally recognised National Transitional Council — took Sirte, the flamboyant strongman’s final bastion.

The dramatic death of Kadhafi in Libya offered “a lesson for despotic systems that have taken to tyranny to control their people,” Hariri said, adding that he now hoped to see the people of Syria “win freedom.”

“Any Arab citizen watching the events in Libya is now looking to the revolution of the people in Syria… who deserve to win freedom and democracy after a long fight against decades of repression.”

In Syria, protests calling for greater freedoms and the fall of the regime of Bashar al-Assad erupted mid-March but were met with violent crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 3,000 people, according to the UN.

Hariri, whose government collapsed in January when a rival alliance led by Hezbollah pulled their ministers from cabinet, has criticised the Lebanese state over its failure to back protesters in Syria.

“Lebanon has always been a pioneer of freedom and democracy in the Arab world … yet it is today standing by injustice, tyranny, murder and repression, especially in Syria,” he said, adding that the current government did not represent Lebanon.

Hariri rose to power after the 2005 assassination of his father, billionaire ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

The bombing in a Beirut bombing was initially blamed on Syria, which pulled its troops in the aftermath of the murder, ending a 29-year deployment.

The powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah, an ally of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, currently controls the majority of seats in cabinet with its allies.