Top Lebanese Officials: Former Prime Minister Hariri Is Held Captive In Saudi Arabia

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Top Lebanese Officials: Former Prime Minister Hariri Is Held Captive In Saudi Arabia

Saad Hariri’s resignation ushers in a stage of deep uncertainty and potential instability, and throws into doubt parliamentary elections slated for early next year. (HUSSEIN MALLA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Lebanon believes that Saudi Arabia is holding its top politician (former prime minister) Saad Hariri and plans to work with foreign states to secure his return to the country, top Lebanese government officials told Reuters on November 9.

Reuters also claimed that a source, a senior politician close to Saudi-allied Hariri, said that Saudi Arabia had ordered Hariri to resign and put him under house arrest. A different source familiar with the situation said Saudi Arabia was controlling and limiting his movements.

Saudi Arabia and Hariri aides have denied reports that he is under house arrest, but he has put out no statements himself denying his movements are being restricted.

Hariri resigned as prime minister on November 4 in a declaration read from Saudi Arabia, pushing Lebanon back to the forefront of a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In his resignation speech, Hariri denounced Iran and the Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah for sowing strife in Arab states and said he feared assassination. Iran dismissed the accusations, saying the United States and Saudi Arabia are responsible for orchestrating the resignation.

The resignation of Hariri, a business tycoon whose family made their fortune in Saudi Arabia, coincided with the wave of arrests of Saudi princes and businessmen accused of corruption by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Hariri served as the chairman of the executive committee of Oger Telecom, a subsidiary of Saudi Oger, from 1994 to 2005. Saudi Oger, which was formed by his father Rafic Hariri, was the main construction firm used by the Saudi Royal family for all their important developments. Saudi Oger closed down on 31 July 2017.

Saad Hariri was also the chairman of Omnia Holdings and a board member of Oger International Entreprise de Travaux Internationaux, Saudi Oger, Saudi Investment Bank, Saudi Research and Marketing Group and Future Television

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