November 19, 2017


Can Lebanon handle truth about Hariri, Saudi Arabia? (aL mONITOR,  November 19, 2017)

"I am unable to convince anybody that you aren't a prisoner in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that you're not a hostage, that you're not under house arrest even though we are in your own house," said Paula Yacoubian in her interview with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri last week. "Even I myself am being accused of being part of this theater."

During the interview, conducted on his own Future TV, Hariri assured Yacoubian that all was fine and that he was not a captive in the kingdom, all the while drinking perhaps a quart of water and looking tired and at times on the verge of tears, saying at one point, "I have to think about my family, too. ... You know what I went through when my father died."

As one of the Marx Brothers once said, "Who are you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Not a single cab driver in Beirut or Cairo is buying Hariri's assurances that he has been acting of his own free will or that his visit to the kingdom was simply in the context of his special and brotherly relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Also not buying it are French President Emmanuel Macron, whose intervention led to Hariri's release, due to the good offices of United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed; German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who criticized Saudi interference in Lebanese affairs, prompting a crisis in German-Saudi relations; Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who said that he considered Hariri to "be held and detained, contrary to the Vienna Convention"; Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who called out Saudi Arabia for "irresponsibility and a reckless leadership in the region that is just trying to bully countries into submission."

Israeli minister reveals covert contacts with Saudi Arabia (Jeffrey Heller, Stephen Kalin, 11/19/17, Reuters) 

An Israeli cabinet minister said on Sunday that Israel has had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran, a first disclosure by a senior official from either country of long-rumoured secret dealings.

What's the point of secrecy when you have such an obvious shared desire to thwart Arab democracy?

Posted by at November 19, 2017 7:19 PM


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