French President Macron has invited Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Paris, a possible opportunity to determine whether Hariri’s sudden resignation, announced in Saudi Arabia, was coerced, as Dennis J Bernstein reports.
By Dennis J Bernstein
The strange case of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his surprise resignation, delivered in Saudi Arabia, has developed international overtones with rumors about his possible kidnapping by the Saudis and France extending an invitation for him to come to Paris before possibly returning to Lebanon.
Because of concerns that his resignation may have been extracted by the Saudis under duress, the Lebanese government has refused to accept it unless he tenders it in person. In an interview last Sunday, Hariri looked harried and nervous. At one point the camera caught a man holding up some kind of sign behind the interviewer, as if he was trying to direct Hariri’s comments.
I spoke again to Beirut-based political activist and environmentalist Rania Masri on Nov. 13 about the Hariri case. Masri is an Arab-American academic, an expert in the workings of the Lebanese government, and has been doing regular translations of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Facebook.
Dennis Bernstein: Let’s start with your response to the latest developments. The prime minister says he would like to return to Lebanon.
Rania Masri: Yesterday there was an interview conducted in Saudi Arabia. Saudi individuals were present during the interview. When you look at what Hariri actually said at this interview, it appears that the Saudi plan so far has not been successful. We have Hariri saying he wants to return to Lebanon, he is not sure when that will be, and that he will proceed with the resignation when he is here unless things change. So he left the door open for possibly not resigning.
As to why this is happening, you have to look at the events of the last two weeks. Saturday, [November 4], Saad Hariri read a statement that many of us believe was written by the Saudis. The Lebanese president and speaker of the house reject that statement of…