Photo Credit: United States Department of State
Saad Hariri

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has returned to Beirut after his surprise resignation speech more than two weeks ago, which he had given in Saudi Arabia, an-Nahar reported. Until then, Hariri was leading a coalition government with the terrorist group Hezbollah. In his Nov. 4 resignation speech he accused Hezbollah of holding Lebanon hostage and of plotting to kill him.

According to Reuters, Hariri first act upon his arrival in Beirut was to visit the tomb of his father, President Rafic Hariri, who had been assassinated by Hezbollah on February 14, 2005, when explosives equivalent to 1,800 kg of TNT were detonated as his motorcade drove past the St. George Hotel in Beirut.

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Hariri’s surprise resignation was followed with speculation—mostly from Hezbollah—that the Saudis forced him to step down and were holding him captive. Hariri holds a dual Lebanese–Saudi citizenship.

Hariri arrived in a private jet on Tuesday night, after leaving Saudi Arabia for Paris on Saturday to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, then stopping in Egypt and Cyprus. Both Macron and Egyptian President el-Sissi have been engaged in efforts to put the resigned PM back in power in Lebanon. Indeed, Hariri told reporters after his talks with el-Sissi in Cairo: “Inshallah (God willing), tomorrow’s Independence Day in Lebanon will be a feast for all Lebanese.”

The Lebanese Independence Day (Arabic: Eid Al-Istiqlal, or Festival of the Independence) is celebrated on November 22 in commemoration of the end of the French Mandate over Lebanon in 1943, after 23 years of rule.

In Lebanon, army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun ordered his troops to stand firm and quash any attempt to incite riots on the country’s national day. He also called on troops be on high alert along the border with Israel, to face any “threats or violations by the Israeli enemy.”

Yes, because Israel is what the Hariri government, past and future, has to worry about…

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