Pres. Aoun: Saudi Holding Hariri an Act of Aggression

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The Beirut newspaper Al-Nahar [The Day] reports that President Michel Aoun of Lebanon said Wednesday, “Nothing justifies Prime minister Saad Hariri’s failure to return to Beirut after the passage of 12 days from his announcement of his resignation.” Aoun said he considered Hariri to have been detained in Saudi Arabia, and suffering from limited mobility in the place where he is being held.

He branded the detaining of Hariri, still legally the prime minister of Lebanon (you can’t resign long distance in Lebanese law) “a demonstration of enmity” against Lebanon. He said that Saudi Arabia had violated the International Declaration of Human Rights of the UN, given that the prime minister is being held without charge.

He called the detention of Hariri by the Saudi royal family an act of aggression against Lebanon and its independence and dignity and on the relationships that bind Lebanon to Saudi Arabia.

He asked Lebanese media to join in a campaign to reinforce national unity.

Addressing a Lebanese audience, Aoun asked them to have no fear for the country’s economy or security, since there was no sign of any economic fall out from the crisis.

He said that Hariri was welcome to come to Lebanon and resign properly, after which a new government would be formed in accordance with parliamentary rules. Or, he said, Hariri was welcome to rethink and withdraw the resignation. “It’s a perfectly free country,” the president remarked.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

France24: “Lebanon: President Aoun accuses Saudi Arabia of detaining former PM Saad Hariri”

4 Responses

  1. The Saudis look like they are getting right off the rails on this one. Detaining the PM of another country?
    Add it to their Qatar blockade and Yemen fiasco. Is petrodollars alone enough to stop their allies from having firm words?

  2. The Saudis and their new best friends the Israelis do not seem to understand that both al-Hashed al-Sha’bi in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon are not foreign forces, and cannot go home. When Israel invaded Lebanon, Hezbollah was the main force to fight against them and force them to leave. When ISIS attacked Syria and Iraq, the National Defence Forces (NDF) in Syria and al-Hashed al-Sha’bi in Iraq were important components of the fight against the terrorists.

    It should be remembered that the Saudis allegedly encouraged Israel to attack Lebanon in 2006, as they seem to be doing again. The Saudis have lost in Yemen, in Iraq and in their support for the Kurdish independence. The defeat of insurgents in Syria, especially Jibhat al-Nusra that the Israelis and the Saudis supported, has made them feel desperate and they are meddling in Lebanon in order to make up for their defeat. Forcing the Lebanese prime minister to resign has robbed the Lebanese Sunnis of their leader and has inadvertently strengthened Hezbollah and the Iranians. Instead of dragging the Middle East towards a major confrontation they should accept their defeat and try to think of some positive policies to bring the regional countries together.

  3. What about the secondary effects of this? In 1978 Shi‘ite cleric Musa al-Sadr who disappeared on a visit to Libya. After that any political leader would think twice about visiting Libya.

    Will Saudi Arabia suffer the same effect? Will it be fair game on Saudi diplomats from now on?

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