Assad arrived in Riyadh for talks over Lebanon tension


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Assad arrived at the Riyadh Airport, where he was received by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz al Saud.

Prince Abdel Aziz bin Abdullah, the king’s adviser was also at the airport to welcome the visiting Syrian leader

Syria’s ties to Iran, the political void in Iraq and the tensions in Lebanon over the U.N.-backed tribunal are expected to figure in the Sunday talks between Abdullah and Assad, analysts and diplomats said.

Tension escalated in Lebanon following reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim.

There are concerns that should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to a Shiite-Sunni strife. Many Sunnis reportedly think that if Hezbollah really killed Hariri, it would be considered as the revenge for the killing of Imam Hussein Bin Ali, the grandson of prophet Mohammad . Imam Hussein was killed and beheaded in the Battle of Karbala, Iraq in 680 AD

Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri said today during an interview with Quds Al Arabi newspaper that Israel is counting on the indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to cause a strife but stressed that as long as the Syrian-Saudi relations are ok Lebanon will be ok.

Update: Sources close to Hariri told MTV on Sunday that there is no connection between PM Saad Hariri’s yesterday’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Syrian President Assad’s visit to Riyadh today.