Iran: 'Shameful' Saudi Arabia begged Israel to bomb Lebanon

Marie Harrington
November 16, 2017

It was the first time Michel Aoun described Prime Minister Saad Hariri as a detainee of the kingdom, after Hariri announced his resignation under mysterious circumstances from Riyadh 12 days ago.

In recent days, several Lebanese officials reported that the prime minister is being held against his will in the Saudi kingdom, although Hariri himself denied it during an interview and said he would return soon.

Lebanon's president accused Saudi Arabia on Wednesday of detaining his country's prime minister, calling it an act of "aggression" and asking U.N. Security Council nations and European governments to intervene. He announced his unexpected resignation in a pre-recorded statement broadcast on Saudi TV on November 4, in which he lashed out at Hezbollah and said he feared for his safety.

He also expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia for "decades of support" for Lebanon's national institutions.

Israel has stressed that it does not seek war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, but has launched multiple airstrikes to prevent advanced weaponry from reaching the Iran-inspired group, the most powerful military force in Lebanon. He is due to hold talks with Hariri on Thursday.

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The resignation of the Saudi-allied Hariri's and its aftermath have put Lebanon back to the forefront of the conflict between Shi'ite-led Iran and its regional Sunni rival Saudi Arabia.

"We consider him detained, arrested" in violation of worldwide laws, Aoun wrote on his official Twitter account.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the head of Aoun's political party, said the situation was "not normal" but that Beirut wanted "good relations" with Riyadh. In his statement, Hariri said he was stepping down because he feared the growing influence of Iran on Lebanon's government. It was not immediately clear if Bassil would attend the Arab League meeting in Cairo.

Macron's office said in a statement Wednesday that he made the decision after speaking to Hariri and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he had an "informal contact" with Hariri, during his visit to Dubai, adding that France did not receive any request from Lebanese ex-prime minister to come to the country.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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