Tuesday, June 21, 2005

House of Saud and House of Hariri: I am told that succession in the House of Hariri was not decided by the House of Hariri. Rafiq Hariri was not on good terms with Crown Prince `Abdullah because he was too close to King Fahd. But he improved his relationship with him in later years. After the assassination of Hariri, Crown Prince `Abdullah assigned Prince Majid to take charge of the Hariri household. It was then decided that Sa`d Hariri (and not the eldest son, Baha') would succeed his father. Baha` was deemed to be too hot-tempered and too impatient. He would leave if he waited too long for a Prince in the kingdom. When Rafiq sent Baha' to take care of business in Saudi Arabia (in the first round) he had to recall him after 7 months or so. Baha' was not amused by that decision, and he did not even attend any of the celebrations for the Hariri electoral victories. It was also decided that Bahiyyah would only deal with Sidon affairs, and she was marginalized. Rafiq Hariri's widow, wanted to play a political role but was told that she had to stick to charitable affairs. Saudi role in Lebanon is supreme. There are some Shi`ite people and organizations (and others) who are worried about incoming Wahhabi influence in Lebanon. A person who talked to Hariri only hours before his assassination (when he was sitting at L'Etoile cafe) told me that Hariri just happened to mention that he had erred in not taking seriously the threat of Sunni extremist fundamentalist groups in Lebanon. He also told him that he would never surrender the "necks of Muslims" to extremist Christians and he named, by way of example, Jubran Tuwayni and Solange Geymayyel and Amin Gemayyel. To his credit, Hariri never trusted or even met with Amin Gemayyel who always kept trying to meet with him. After Hariri's assassination, Amin Gemayyel was a fixture in Hariri palace at Quraytim. Speculation about the involvement of Sunni fanatical groups in the assassination of Hariri increased after the press conference of the UN investigation team days ago.