Exclusive : How Saudi Arabia turned on Lebanon’s Hariri
From the moment Saad al-Hariri’s plane touched down in Saudi Arabia on Friday Nov. 3, he was in for a surprise.
There was no line-up of Saudi princes or ministry officials, as would typically greet a prime minister on an official visit to King Salman, senior sources close to Hariri and top Lebanese political and security officials said. His phone was confiscated, and the next day he was forced to resign as prime minister in a statement broadcast by a Saudi-owned TV channel.
Sources close to Hariri said the Saudis, while keeping Hariri under house arrest, were trying to orchestrate a change of leadership in Hariri’s Future Movement by installing his elder brother Bahaa, who was overlooked for the top job when their father was killed. The two have been at odds for years.