Hariri was received by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in his office at Al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh. He also flew to Abu Dhabi where he met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed. He then returned to Riyadh.
Hariri confirmed that he was free to move wherever he wanted and that he would return to Lebanon in series of tweets.
Jameel Altheyabi, editor-in-chief of Okaz writes in his article for the Saudi Gazette that Aoun’s allegations that Hariri was detained in Riyadh, were an echo of Tehran’s views. “Aoun was speaking on behalf of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who preceded him on the same day in stating similar allegations. Strangely enough, apart from both having Iranian inclinations, both are in the post of a “dummy” president. In Iran, all power is in the hands of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In Lebanon, the real power is in the hands of the Iranian Hezbollah,” Altheyabi says.
Aoun promised the Sunni, Shiite and Christian communities that they were not under Iranian influence. He promised that Hezbollah would not be an impeding power in the government. He also promised that Hezbollah would keep Lebanon neutral regarding the conflicts in the region, especially the civil war in Syria. Because of this, according to Altheyabi, the Sunnis, led by Hariri, accepted that Aoun be president and Hariri should form a government.
However, Altheyabi alleges, “No sooner had the deal been concluded than Iran pushed Hezbollah to boost its participation in the Syrian war, so as to defend the Bashar Assad regime and set up an armed presence in Iraq and Yemen. Furthermore, Hezbollah impeded the Hariri government until it was incapable of fulfilling its promises to the Lebanese people.”
Instead of embarking on a confrontation with Hezbollah, Hariri’s resignation revealed the real reason for the crisis in Lebanon — Hezbollah’s meddling as well as Iran’s interference. If Hariri does not withdraw his resignation, Lebanon will suffer a vacuum in the prime minister’s office. Still, his resignation is a Lebanese issue and his own decision.
Altheyabi writes that lies, falsehoods and rumors are being spread by the satellite channels and newspapers financed by Hezbollah, but that this will not spoil Saudi Arabia’s reputation. The internal and external Saudi media networks are stronger than the smear campaign, he says.