Prime Minister Saad Hariri has finally returned to Beirut as tensions
mount in the region over his sudden resignation earlier this month.
touched down at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport after
stopping over in Cairo where he held talks with Egyptian president
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and a quick pit stop in Cyprus where he spoke
with President Nikos Anastasides, Lebanon’s Naharnet news reports.
The politician was met by security forces on arrival.
to his engagement in Egypt, Hariri spent the weekend in Paris,
holding talks with French President Emmanuel Macron who is reportedly
trying to mediate in Lebanon’s crisis. Before Hariri travelled to
Beirut, el-Sisi spoke on
the phone with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, and the two leaders
stressed the importance of preserving Lebanon’s national unity.
abruptly announced his resignation in a televised statement from
Riyadh on November 4, blaming Iran for having a destabilizing
influence in Lebanon and the Middle East and saying that his life was
in danger from political opponent, Hezbollah. This led some to
speculate the resignation statement had been made under duress while
the PM was in Saudi Arabia, a claim repeated by Aoun. Hariri has
denied these claims.
has repeatedly said that he will only accept Hariri’s resignation
if he delivers it on Lebanese soil. Riyadh has used the Hariri
situation over the past week to target its regional nemeses – Iran
and Hezbollah, Tehran’s ally in Lebanon. Both Iran and Hezbollah
are accused of interfering in the affairs of the Middle East and
supplying missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who earlier this
month targeted an airport near the Saudi capital. To add fuel to
rapidly escalating regional tensions, the Chief of Staff of Israel’s
military, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, said last week that Tel Aviv is
ready to share intelligence on Iran with Riyadh.
the turbulence, the Arab League called an emergency meeting in Cairo
Sunday, also blaming Iran for destabilizing the region. The Arab
alliance also described Hezbollah as a terrorist organization but
stopped just short of threatening any action against either.
Monday, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah denied all the
accusations leveled against the group, especially that of supplying
arms to the Houthis, dismissing the
charges as “silly” and“completely
has also denied its involvement.
Lebanese president has defended Hezbollah, claiming that his country
has been subjected to Israeli “aggression” for
decades and had the right to protect itself. Speaking Tuesday, Aoun
not bow to any opinion, advice or decision pushing it towards
internal strife,” stressing,
who want Lebanon’s welfare must help it immunize its unity because
it is its security valve.”
we supposed to disregard the issue of returning our premier to his
country, which was a matter of national duty that was imposed on us?…
It was a matter of the dignity of a nation and its people, who showed
unique national cohesion,”said Aoun
in an address to the nation on the eve of Lebanon’s Independence
a climate of accusations, counter-accusations, denials and threats,
the head of the Lebanese Army ordered the country’s the military to
be at “full
Israeli enemy” at
the southern border.