On November 12, Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri said during an interview on the Lebanese Future TV [owned by Hariri himself] that he is going back to Lebanon in the upcoming “days”. The Lebanese PM also stressed that he is not being held against his will by the Saudi government.
“Here in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I am free. I have complete freedom, but I want to look after my family as well,” Hariri said during the interview on Future TV.
Hariri clamed that he announced his resignation from Saudi Arabia to cause a “positive shock” for the Lebanese people. The Lebanese PM also said that Lebanon is “in the eye of the storm” and called on Iran to stop “interfering” in the Arab countries.
During the interview, Hariri also criticized Hezbollah for intervening in other countries in the regions. However, Hariri stressed that he is not working against “any Lebanese team, especially Hezbollah” and he is ready to withdraw his resignation.
“There is a Lebanese group that is carrying out certain actions … I will not allow for anyone to launch regional wars on Lebanon for regional gains.” Hariri said.
Meanwhile, Lebanon President Michel Aoun said on twitter that Hariri’s situation threw doubt over anything that he had said or would say, and his statements could not be considered as an expression of his full free will.
الرئيس عون: الظروف الغامضة لإقامة الرئيس الحريري في الرياض تجعل مواقفه موضع شك والتباس وصادرة بغير ارادة منه
— Lebanese Presidency (@LBpresidency) November 12, 2017
The interview was widely criticized by the Lebanese people on social media, with some saying that Hariri was not “comfortable” during the interview. Others also noted that Hariri was looking at someone who was standing behind the host from time to time.
— المقاتل وسيم عيسى (@wassim_syrian) November 12, 2017
More questions were raised after a leaked video from the backstage of the interview showed a Saudi man telling the host that “there will be no internet” and that she can “get her phone back after the interview is over”.
سعودي يقول للمذيعه في مقابلة الحريري قبل اخذ اللقاء…
سألتوا المذيعه عن النت …
قال لها تلفون ما اعطيكي ..
فهمتوا او لسه يا بعدي pic.twitter.com/BhZimY4hpK
— محب للجميع (@aali4573) November 12, 2017
Only Hariri return to Lebanon will likely reveal what happene and what Saudi Arabia wanted to achieve by forcing him to resign.