A new political crisis gripping the Middle East has destroyed the relative peace of Lebanon’s coalition government, ruled – until just days ago – by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, after his stunning November 4 resignation that was announced from within Saudi Arabia, where he remains as of this moment.
Michel Aoun, Lebanon’s current sitting president, has formally inquired to the Saudi monarchy as to why, exactly, Beirut’s PM has not been allowed to return home, raising fears that Hariri has been detained, or worse, kidnapped, according to Abc.net.au.
The US and France have noted the diplomatic anomaly, expressing their support for Hariri and for Lebanon’s sovereignty as tensions have risen between Beirut and Riyadh.
Representatives of the Lebanese government have demanded that Hariri be returned from Saudi Arabia as rumors that he has been arrested continue to circulate.
Saudi authorities claim that their moves against Beirut and Harari are a response to Hezbollah’s support for Yemen’s Houthi opposition political faction, currently fighting a desperate war against an extremely well-armed Saudi-led coalition supplied with US weapons.
Aoun has repeatedly sought clarification from Riyadh as to why Hariri has not been allowed to return to Beirut following his startling resignation announcement.
“The obscurity regarding Hariri’s conditions makes anything that he says or does not reflect truth,” said Aoun, cited by News18.com.
The Lebanon president sought to smooth his inquiries with soft language, including reminding Riyadh of a “deep brotherly and friendly relations” between the two countries.
The White House has stated that the US requests “all states and parties to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence, and constitutional processes.”
The Trump administration statement noted that Hariri is “a trusted partner of the United States in strengthening Lebanese institutions, fighting terrorism, and protecting refugees.”