Did Saudi Arabia Really Kidnap Lebanon PM Saad Hariri?

A Middle Eastern News Agency quoted the Lebanese sources as saying that Saudi Arabia decided to remove the outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri from the political scene “because he was not ready to confront Hezbollah, ” the sources revealed details about Hariri’s call to Riyadh and “his house arrest there.”

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“How did Saudi Arabia turn against Saad Hariri?” Sources close to Hariri said Saudi Arabia “concluded that Saad Hariri had to leave the political scene because he was not prepared to confront the Hezbollah.”

“I think PM Hariri convinced the Saudi officials of the need to maintain a consensus with Hezbollah for the stability of Lebanon and that confrontation with Hezbollah would destabilize the country,” added the source

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The source close to Saad Hariri said that the latter told the Saudi Minister of Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan that “the issue of Hezbollah is not a local issue, and we could not be held responsible for its actions.

“It seems that Hariri has played down the Saudi position toward Hezbollah, but for the Saudis, it is an existential battle. As Harari was deposing his officials, he told them he would be back on Monday to resume the discussions. Harari told his media team he would meet them in Sharm el-Sheikh, where Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the World Youth Congress.

Upon arriving in Riyadh, Hariri “understood the message immediately after the arrival of his plane, and soon after his mobile phone was confiscated.  The source, who is close to Hariri, said the prime minister came from a Saudi protocol official on Saturday morning and asked him to attend a meeting with Crown Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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“The Saudi Officials made PM Saad Hariri wait about four hours and then gave him his resignation letter to read on television,” he said. Saying that Hariri was forced to read his resignation statement in a statement broadcast by a television channel owned by the Saudis.

In his letter of resignation, Hariri said he feared assassination and accused Iran and Hezbollah of stirring strife and vowed to cut off Iran’s hand in a language that one source said was “not Hariri’s usual language.” Sources close to Hariri said: “The Saudis while keeping Hariri under house arrest, are trying to change leadership in the Future Movement by installing his elder brother Bahaa as a new leader.

Bahaa was excluded from the top position when his father was assassinated, she said, adding that the two brothers had been at odds for years. Bahaa is believed to be in Saudi Arabia.  In response to reports that Bahaa was in a position to replace his younger brother Saad, Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk and one of Hariri’s aides said, “We are not a herd of sheep or a piece of land that is transferred from one person to another in Lebanon.

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Members of the Hariri family and political aides who have contacted him at his home in Riyadh say he is worried and hesitant to say anything that goes beyond “I’m fine” and “Thank God.” When asked if he would return, he said, “God willing