Iran Daily: Tehran Challenges Saudi Arabia Over “Arrest” of Lebanon PM Hariri

Lebanon's Prime minister Saad al-Hariri gestures during a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon, October 9, 2017 (Mohamed Azakir/Reuters)

Iran’s officials and clerics stepped up their criticism of Saudi Arabia on Friday, accusing the Kingdom of the “arrest” of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

Hariri announced his resignation last weekend from Riyadh, but has not been seen since then. The absence has fueled speculation that authorities have put Hariri, a Saudi citizen, under house arrest. On Thursday, Lebanese officials expressed concern that he may have been detained and called for his return to Beirut.

A possible explanation for Hariri’s enforced stay in Saudi Arabia is that he is being questioned in connection with a crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The rising power in the Kingdom, the Crown Prince has declared a campaign against “corruption” with the arrest of more than 200 people, including other princes and some of Saudi Arabia’s richest men.

Hariri’s father Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese Prime Minister killed in 2005 by a car bomb, built up his business interests — and helped revive Beirut after the Lebanese Civil War — with connections with Saudi business interests, including some of those who have been detained in the past week.

But Hariri’s departure from power has thrown Lebanon’s coalition government, formed in October 2016 after a two-year stalemate and including Iran’s ally Hezbollah, into disarray and fueled the possibility of conflict inside the country. Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia has accused both Iran and Hezbollah of “acts of war”.

Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ahmad Khatami said yesterday that the Saudis invited Hariri to Riyadh “and then arrested him”, as worshippers chanted “Death to America, Israel, England, and al-Saud”.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif framed his denunciation in more measured language, while linking the latest events to Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen and break with neighbor Qatar:

In Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in a televised speech, accused Riyadh of “blunt, unprecedented interference”:

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, Saudi Arabia called the prime minister on urgent matter without his aide or advisers, and [he] was forced to tender his resignation, and to read the resignation statement written by them.

We declare that the prime minister of Lebanon has not resigned. Saad Hariri is our political opponent, but he is also our prime minister.

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  1. Here’s the true reason Hariri was kidnapped — his video interview to Saud TV a few months back honestly stating that Hezbollah is a legitimate and inevitable partner in ruling Lebanon:

    This was proof positive for MBS [Madman Bin Saud] that Hariri was no longer fit for purpose as a puppet, so he leveraged the legacy economic assets of this moral weakling [Saudi Oger Ltd., his billionaire old man’s highly profitable building conglomerate, by not being paid on several major government contracts there, has been driven into bankruptcy and closed down in July 2017] to blackmail him into showing up and reading out whatever nonsense was placed before him, thus proving himself a craven traitor and ensuring his own final political oblivion before being disappeared.

    Hezbollah are naturally only raising a stink to further embarrass the Saud outlaws over the illegal method of his disposal, as they cannot be in their right minds and actually want this gutless cur back, save perhaps to hang him for treason themselves.

  2. The political incompetence of Madman Bin Saud is all-encompassing.

    This “liberal reformer”, now being feted by west warmonglers in their advertorial agit-prop rags, is currently jailing, killing, torturing, robbing and in general irretrievably tearing up his own family dynasty, making a raft of powerful enemies in the process.

    Simultaneously, with his declared intent to convert his wannabe personal fiefdom to run on eco-friendly ‘moderate Islam’ instead of the previously-employed 100% sulphurous Wahhabi-Blend, i.e. to enforce a cold-turkey break with the fundamentalist clerical establishment which has hitherto been a mainstay of the Saud dictatorship, a bottomless well of pissed-off zealots is being sunk, from which, quite naturally, AQ, IS, etc., will drink deeply.

    Even if the worthless Saud military does not split/mutiny over the internal intrigues and ructions, surely the spirit of Bin Laden is already beaming down from Heaven, gesticulating excitedly to his acolytes in anticipation of some long-overdue vengeance upon the faithless Tawāghīt of his fatherland? This could after all be the perfect campaign to heal the AQ/IS schism and with it the breast of the believers, while greatly augmenting their power if only even partially successful.

    MBS’ illegal gambit against Lebanon was another rash act born of witless frustration, a limbless Thalidomide-baby left to paddle its flippers in the air, going nowhere, as emerging details indicate — it seems the Saud dictator had plotted to replace Hariri with an estranged elder brother presumably freshly sworn to facilitate his launching of sectarian ‘civil war’ upon Lebanon, but the rest of Hariri clan & party there are not playing ball:

    Indeed the Lebanese political establishment is united in demanding return of the Hostage Hariri:

    His Schnapps-Idea to control Qatar by blockade has likewise backfired badly, breaking up the GCC and sending Qatar into the arms of Iran & Turkey, who show further signs of a tactical alliance to oppose his destabilising madcap schemes, including over the Syrian Rojava, where a slimy Saud Princeling was recently spotted parading in Raqqa.

    Then there is crucified Yemen, where famine, cholera and destruction are expanding nicely, alongside the black hole in the Saud budget, all while the indomitable, khat-powered Houthis show no signs of surrender.

    When will this Boy-Wonder get something right? Well, it seems he succeeded in eliminating AJE’s comments section:
    … so chalk one up in the MBS victory column, I suppose …

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