Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
The case, and subsequently fate, of Lebanon’s missing Prime Minister, Sa’d al-Hariri, seems to be taking a curious turn every passing day.
The only thing clear about him is that he is in Riyadh, but no one is sure whether or not he is a free person in his home in the capital of Saudi Arabia, where he was born, grew up, and holds local citizenship.
It means, he is not his own person anymore, let alone the executive head of Lebanon, a post he was forced to relinquish by his lawful and legal overlords in Riyadh, who were obviously not pleased with his balancing efforts to maintain Lebanon’s security, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity through coordination with all political currents, especially the legendry anti-terrorist movement, Hezbollah – at the mention of which the terrorist-supporting Saudi Salafis quake in their "thobes”.
We need not review his farcical interview a couple of days ago on al-Mustaqbal TV Channel, and his stereo-type repeating of the accusations he had heaped upon Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran earlier on November 3 in a radio broadcast from Riyadh – all of which the world’s media have analyzed as spoon-fed by taking note of his tense 80-minute TV appearance with a faltering voice, nervous glances at those behind cameras dictating the text, and barely controlled tears, interspersed with frequent sipping of water.
It should be pointed out that his last official meeting as Lebanese Premier was with Iran’s former longtime foreign minister Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati on Friday November 3, during which he appeared relaxed and smiling as usual, followed by release of an official statement on the positive and fruitful talks.
This was the last thing Saudi Arabia could tolerate and immediately summoned its subject to Riyadh, in a move which the whole Lebanese nation has termed as not just meddling in Lebanon’s internal affairs, but humiliating the entire nation of Lebanon.
Since then, Saudi officials have indulged in cheap propaganda tirade against the Islamic Republic in violation of all diplomatic norms.
In contrast, Iranian officials have asked them in a polite manner to tone down the rhetoric and to desist from biting the US-Zionist bait by confounding the fate of Lebanon and the Lebanese people.
Interestingly, Dr. Velayati, who currently serves as International Affairs Advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and is back in Tehran after a several-day trip to Lebanon and Syria and meeting with the senior officials of those countries, decided to lay bare the facts of his meeting with Hariri.
He appeared on IRIB TV to categorically refute Hariri’s dictated claim of a tense meeting with him on November 3 in Beirut and protest to Iran to stay out of Lebanese affairs.
On the contrary, said Dr. Velayati, "Our meeting was not tense or violent at all. These are all lies. As a matter of fact, Prime Minister Hariri in our meeting offered to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the offer was welcomed.”
Velayati regretting that Saudi Arabia was fanning flames of tension because "it could not tolerate the strategic friendship between Tehran and Beirut, said: Tehran hopes Hariri would return to Lebanon and continue as Prime Minister, if Lebanese laws allow”.
The question is: Will Hariri return to Beirut in a few days, as he said in his TV talk, or mysteriously made to disappear in midway?
We earnestly hope he will return, and will have the courage to disclose the facts to the Lebanese president, the parliament, and the people, of all that transpired in Riyadh, including the threats he was subjected to and the conditions set for his release – without repeating the allegations he aired from in his two public broadcasts from the Saudi capital.
Could he do it? This is the million-dollar question doing the rounds in the media, in view of the fact his family is being kept hostage in Riyadh, which means Saudi Arabia, or more properly its Heir Apparent, Mohammad bin Salman, mad at the debacles of Daesh in Iraq and Syria and the resolve of the Yemenis to humiliate him in the almost three-year war, seems all set on a suicidal course in Lebanon.