Alwaght- The Saudi regime forced Saad Hariri to resign as Lebanese prime minister because of his unwillingness to confront Hezbollah, sources close to Hariri said.
According to sources speaking to Reuters, Hariri believed he had convinced Saudi officials of the need to maintain an entente with Hezbollah for the sake of Lebanon's stability.
During a visit by Hariri to the kingdom prior to his resignation on 4 November, Prince Mohammed bin Salman had arranged for him to see senior intelligence officials and Persian Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan, the Saudi point man on Lebanon.
Hariri came back to Beirut from that trip "pleased and relaxed," sources in his entourage said. He posted a selfie with Sabhan, both of them smiling. He told aides he had heard "encouraging statements" from the crown prince, including a promise to revive a Saudi aid package for the Lebanese army.
"What happened in those meetings, I believe, is that [Hariri] revealed his position on how to deal with Hezbollah in Lebanon: that confrontation would destabilize the country. I think they didn't like what they heard," said one of the sources, who was briefed on the meetings.
Rumours have swirled over the condition of Hariri since he announced his resignation in a statement from the capital Riyadh.
Multiple Lebanese sources say Riyadh hopes to replace Saad Hariri with his older brother, Bahaa who is believed to be in Saudi Arabia. Members of the Hariri family have been asked to travel there to pledge allegiance to him, but they have refused, the sources say.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun told ambassadors to Lebanon that Saudi Arabia had kidnapped Hariri, a senior Lebanese official said. On Friday, France said it wanted Hariri to have "all his freedom of movement".
Meanwhile, in a televised interview shown on Sunday on Future TV, a station affiliated with his political party, Hariri said he was free in Saudi Arabia, contrary to reports that he was being held against his will.
Lebanese officials insist that Hariri is under either house arrest or in temporary detention in Riyadh.