Claims that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is definitely not being held against his will in Saudi Arabia and would return to Lebanon within two days, which started being made two days ago, definitely won’t be coming to pass. Instead, Hariri may be headed elsewhere.
The latest reports on Hariri are that he has accepted the offer of French President Macron to visit France with his family and “stay for a few days.” The timing of this visit is still not totally clear, but french officials say they’ve told Saudi Arabia about the plan.
This is the latest in a series of reported departures, however, and so far none have happened. Even if Hariri does turn up in France, it’s not clear he’s going to be headed to Lebanon after that, with reports that this is tantamount to an exile deal.
France is denying that this is an exile deal, and has been talking up Hariri having freedom of movement. If this is a back-door deal with the Saudis to get Hariri out of the region, it could prove embarrassing for them, though Saudi officials seem set to escalate tensions with Lebanon going forward irrespective of what happens next.