November 12, 2017

LIVE FROM THE HANOI HILTON?:

TV interview with Lebanon PM fuels rumors of Saudi coercion : Full of odd moments, Saad Hariri's first television appearance since shock resignation failed to present message of calm or control (AP, 11/12/17)

A much-awaited live interview was conducted with Hariri on Sunday night by Future TV, a channel associated with his political party. It sought to dispel those rumors, but also raised some new questions.

At one point during the interview, Hariri's eyes were wide open, moving to the back of the room. The camera caught a man in the back corner, behind the interviewer, who was holding what appeared to be a rolled paper. The man, whose face was outside the frame, soon disappeared but not before the camera moved back to Hariri, who was staring toward him with an angry and disgusted look. [...]

After his belligerent resignation speech last week, Hariri looked sad and tired on Sunday, at times holding back tears in the interview that went on for over an hour. He repeatedly drank water, finishing his glass and asking for more, prompting Yacoubian to hand him her own glass of water. He pleaded with her to finish the questioning after an hour has passed. "You made me tired," he said.

He repeatedly said he was ready to die for Lebanon -- his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 2005 -- but he added that he didn't want his children to go through that kind of ordeal. When asked about reports that he is not communicative and doesn't use his phone much, he said: "I am in a reflective state," adding that he didn't want any distractions amid a very busy schedule.

His demeanor triggered a new hashtag, #UnderPressure, reflecting that people were unconvinced he was a free man.

Posted by at November 12, 2017 7:16 PM

  

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