Hariri: Let us reach consensus to elect a new president
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's return ... created a sense of relief in the political area and among his popular bases, with the return of the Future Movement leader bringing good news - primarily the need to transfer the Saudi support to the Army and contain the consequences of the Arsal clashes.
An-Nahar obtained information that Hariri, during his parliamentary and political meetings, stressed on the need for the Future Movement to commit to the project of state building. He also stressed that facing terrorism should be done via such a project. He said that the Saudi grant was the primary reason for his return so that Lebanon could use the donation to achieve its goals swiftly. He also said he was here to stay but that he would travel abroad if need be.
Political quorum secured, Hariri in Beirut: Moderation and compromises
Saad Hariri arrived in Beirut on the back of the Arsal crisis, carrying a U.S.-covered Saudi decision to offer $1 billion to Lebanese security agencies to combat terrorism.
Hariri had always wanted to return and he even turned on the engine of his private jet in Jeddah twice following the separate assassinations of Wissam Hasan and Mohammad Shatah. But, the Saudi decision was final; he would stay in Saudi Arabia until further notice.
Hariri's return was approved by the Saudis and the Americans and was encouraged by the Europeans, particularly the French. They are relying on him to contain the fire that has erupted in Arsal and prevent its recurrence.
A Saudi grant brings Hariri back
There are many questions about the circumstances of his return and the answers begin in Mosul and end in Arsal. "The [former] prime minister is back. Period. He may travel and visit others abroad, but he has returned to Lebanon," says a source close to Hariri. Future politicians limit the reasons for his return to leading the Sunni moderate movement and spending the Saudi grant.
While residents were surprised with Hariri's return, firing shots and fireworks until the late hours of the night, politicians had always made appeals for it. Visitors to Nabih Berri said the speaker raised his hands and said "thank God," when asked about Hariri's return.
Sources in the March 8 group said Hariri returned for two reasons: the Arsal clashes revealed a scary reality that the popular street is slipping away from the Future Movement and moving toward a more Takfiri thinking. The second reason is divisions within the Future Movement itself.
Hariri affirms priority to supporting the Army
Sources close to Prime Minister Tammam Salam said the premier was surprised with Hariri’s presence in Beirut. A delegation arrived to the Grand Serail and informed him Friday morning that Hariri wanted to come see him. Salam was happy and said that he needed some time to inform the government house to prepare a welcome for the surprise.
During Hariri's meeting with Salam, the former informed the prime minister of reasons behind the visit including the Saudi grant and that it was ready to spent under his supervision.
They agreed that Salam would request the Cabinet's approval of the grant and pursue the establishment of a mechanism to spend on military and security institutions.