Lebanon’s PM Still MIA in Saudi Arabia
November 15, 2017
With every passing day that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri remains in Saudi Arabia, the mystery surrounding his circumstances deepens.
Today Lebanese President Michel Aoun broke his silence, declaring Saad’s continued absence to be an “act of aggression” against Lebanon. The 82-year-old Aoun is a Maronite Christian and an ally of Hezbollah, which puts him on friendly ground with Iran as well.
Prime Minister Hariri himself continues to insist that nothing is amiss with his now 12-day foreign sojourn, at least so far as the Saudi authorities are concerned. Hariri has made several public statements declaring that he is not being held against his will, and that he resigned because he feared a plot against his life back home in Lebanon.
The Saad Hariri saga has raised the troubling possibility of Lebanon being pulled back into the Saudi-Iran contest for hegemony in the Middle East. Harari himself has been vague about when he might return to Lebanon: “soon”; “in two or three days” (Nov. 12); “when the security situation allows me to submit my resignation.” But until he sets foot in Beirut, Lebanese politicians will be bracing for any new sign of escalation.