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Mr. Hariri’s office said on Saturday that his wife, Lara, and his eldest son, Houssam, would be present at a lunch in the Lebanese prime minister’s honor at the Élysée Palace. Mr. Hariri’s wife had accompanied him on the flight from Saudi Arabia, and his son was said to have flown in from Britain.
Mr. Hariri’s two younger children, a 16-year-old daughter, Loulwa, and a 12-year-old son, Abdulaziz, did not appear in television footage of his arrival. The two have been attending school in Saudi Arabia and could have stayed behind for that reason, but their apparent absence was an obstacle to ending concerns that Mr. Hariri was not acting freely, because it left room for speculation that the Saudis had pressured Mr. Hariri to leave them in the country as leverage.
Rafic Baha El Deen Al Hariri (Arabic: رفيق بهاء الدين الحريري; Arabic pronunciation: [rafiːq ħariːriː] 1 November 1944 – 14 February 2005) was a Lebanese business tycoon and the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation on 20 October 2004. He headed five cabinets during his tenure. Hariri dominated the country's post-war political and business life and is widely credited with reconstructing the capital Beirut after the 15-year civil war. Hariri was assassinated on 14 February 2005 when explosives equivalent to around 1800 kg of TNT were detonated as his motorcade drove past the St. George Hotel in Beirut. Alleged Hezbollah supporters Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra have been indicted for the assassination and are currently being tried in absentia by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, but others have linked the assassination to the Syrian government.
During a BBC interview in 2001, Harīrī was asked by Tim Sebastian why he refused to hand over members of Hezbollah that were accused by America of being terrorists. He responded that Hezbollah were the ones protecting Lebanon against the Israeli occupation and called for implementation of passed United Nations resolutions against Israel. He was further accused of making the American coalition in the war on terrorism worthless and asked if he was ready for the consequences of his refusal, reminding him that George W. Bush had said: "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." He replied that he had hoped there would be no consequences, but would deal with them if they arrive. Hariri further said that he opposed the killing of all humans – Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian or Lebanese – and believed in dialogue as a solution. He further went on to say that Syria would have to stay in Lebanon for protection of Lebanon until they are no longer needed and Lebanon asks them to leave.
Zerohedge had a piece as well www.zerohedge.com...
A few days ago, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Hamad Bin Jassim in an interview with the BBC announced that his country had been providing all sorts of assistance to the armed opposition groups in Syria through Turkey for years. At the same time, Doha wasn’t alone to show its supports to anti-Assad forces, as it was joined by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and Turkey itself. All this began back in 2007 after Israel suffered a humiliating defeat in South Lebanon, while being unable to overcome Hezbollah’s resistance in 2006. According to the former Qatari Prime Minister, Qatar was in charge of the so-called “Syrian Dossier” on behalf of the US and Saudi Arabia, adding that he had access to both American and Saudi paperwork on the staging of a so-called “Syrian civil war.” Hamad Bin Jassim announced that weapons and equipment was distributed to all sorts of opposition groups via Turkey.
This operations were a common routine of American, Turkish and Saudi military personnel in this country. At the same time, the Incirlik Air Force base would host a joint operational headquarters, where intelligence officers from the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Jordan, Israel, France and Great Britain would coordinate the course of proxy operations in Syria. Washington has gone as far as to dispatch 6 special reconnaissance satellites for those officers to observe the entire territory of Syria 24 hours a day non-stop. This operational command center was in charge of military operations in the north of Syria. As for the operations in southern parts Syria, to coordinate those Washington created a similar command center at the King Hussein Air Base in Jordan , where officers from Jordan, Israel, the United States, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar would join their efforts in a bid to outsmart Syria’s government. journal-neo.org...
HARIRI DOES PARIS - THE TRUE STORY It’s not that Saad Hariri was itching for a shopping spree at Avenue Montaigne. French MSM is spicing up the steak tartare to oblivion trying to spin a foreign policy “victory”. Nonsense. The true story starts in Abu Dhabi when Sun King Macron was having dinner with all-powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) during the inauguration of the Louvre in the Sands (doesn’t it sound like a casino?) What happened is that MBZ grabbed his mobile and secured a meeting between Macron and MBS for the day after. Easy; after all MBZ is MBS’s mentor – and de facto chief strategist. Macron’s people had been trying FOR WEEKS to get a meeting with MBS. Zayed did it with one single phone call. Afterwards, MBS threw a breadcrumb to the begging Macron; OK, you can meet Hariri and even take him away. But under certain conditions; French Minister Le Drian had to publicly scold Iran – which he did; and on top of it Le Drian cancelled his trip to Tehran next week to prepare the terrain for Macron’s own visit. Talk about “French power”. Additionally, Hariri WAS indeed kidnapped and under house arrest in Riyadh – as many of us reported.
Indeed, the emergence of Saudi-backed Rafik Hariri to lead post-war Lebanon gave Riyadh a seat at the table, but the Syrian regime kept Hariri in check as he began to develop an extensive network of contacts with world leaders. Riyadh helped Hariri consolidate power at the expense of all other Sunni leaders in Lebanon, as demonstrated in the 2000 parliamentary elections. His assassination in February 2005 ended Syrian-Saudi cooperation in Lebanon and forced Syrian troops out of the country. Iran gradually filled the void, and Hezbollah became directly involved in Lebanese politics.
Pressuring Saad Hariri to resign and confront Hezbollah marks a landmark shift in Saudi policy. Riyadh's policy tradition in Lebanon had long been to mediate between rivals, maintaining the same distance from all Lebanese groups and supporting the central government. Riyadh has been most effective in Lebanese politics when acting in the shadow of the United States or Syria, rather than in the forefront. Saudi policy has traditionally viewed Lebanon through the lens of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Riyadh has been known to pull back from Lebanese politics when confronted with adversity and re-engage when rival parties appear ready to talk. In 1979, after gunfire hit the helicopter of the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Riyadh withdrew nearly 700 soldiers from the Arab Deterrent Force deployed to preserve Lebanon's stability. That move allowed the Syrian army to gradually gain control of Lebanon and paved the way for the Israeli invasion in 1982. In May 2008, when Hezbollah clashed with and disarmed the Future Movement, led by Saad Hariri, Saudi Arabia backed away and endorsed the Doha Agreement, which ended Lebanon's political crisis in 2008. The guiding principles of Saudi policy have now completely changed.
One cannot underestimate the long-term implications of the kingdom's move. In the past few weeks, the anti-Saudi sentiment within the Lebanese Sunni community has been alarming and unprecedented. Riyadh inadvertently made Hariri the most popular Lebanese leader, endorsed by everyone except his own principal in Riyadh. In the past two decades, Saudi policy weakened every Sunni leader to prop up Rafik Hariri and is now complaining that Saad Hariri cannot politically confront Hezbollah after gradually stripping him of power, including financial resources.