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Saad Hariri Meets With King Abdullah in Mecca

Lebanese opposition leader Saad Hariri met with King Abdullah in Mecca for Ei al-Fatr as Beirut politics remain tense.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/30/2011, 8:05 PM

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited Mecca Tuesday to extend greetings to Saudi Arabia King Abdullah on the first day of Eid al-Fitr.

The Saudi news agency SPA said Abdullah received Hariri and other well-wishers at Royal Diwan, known as Safa Palace, in Mecca following morning Eid prayers.

The meeting reportedly occurred at the Safa Castle in Mecca. The agenda for the Abdullah-Hariri meeting remains a matter of speculation, but observers say common concerns over Tehran's regional ambitions - and its terror-proxy's ascension to political dominance in Beirut - were likely mentioned.

Hariri, the leader of the March 14 opposition movement, has been traveling outside of Lebanon for five months due to fears for his safety.

Hariri’s cabinet was toppled in January by the Hizbullah-led March 8 coalition over the dispute about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which indicted four Hizbullah members for the murder of his father, ex-premier Rafik Hariri.

A new cabinet dominated Hizbullah's March 8 faction and headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati was formed in June.

But as the Arab Spring draws into an Arab Autumn, tensions over the STL in Lebanon - and the Tehran-Damascus-Hizbullah axis across region - have only exacerbated Lebanon's political turmoil.

On Monday, Hariri paid tribute to the Syrian people and expressed his full solidarity with them on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

Hariri expressed hope that before the next Eid, the Syrians, along with other Arab peoples, would have succeeded in overcoming their difficult ordeals and achieved their aspirations for regimes that meet their ambitions, a statement issued by his press office said.

Hariri also congratulated the Lebanese people, Muslims in particular, on the Eid, wishing that they could “see their state building project prevail and bring security and stability to Lebanon as well as the strengthening of the bonds of national unity and solidarity among all Lebanese, in their quest to uncover the truth and achieve justice.”

Many political observers say Hariri's return to politics is only a matter of time, which means a direct challenge to Hizbullah - with a record for political assassinations he knows only to well.

To take Hizbullah on Hariri will need potent strategic backers - like Saudi Arabia and the United States - vested in breaking Iran's axis of power - and weakening Hizbullah's grip on his nation.