All smiles! Lebanon's Hariri hides recent Saudi strains with cheery MbS selfie

All smiles! Lebanon's Hariri hides recent Saudi strains with cheery MbS selfie
Bosom buddies or strained PR stunt? Saad Hariri's candid selfie with the Saudi leader went viral, following rumours the Lebanese leader had been detained in Riyadh in November
2 min read
04 Mar, 2018
Smiles all round for the Saudi trio [Twitter]
After a period of somewhat tense relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, some Twitter users were rather taken aback when the two leaders cosied up for a cheerful and informal selfie that was later posted on the Lebanese prime minister's social media page.

The photo, taken by Prime Minister Saad Hariri shows the Lebanese premier standing alongside a beaming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi ambassador to the US Khaled bin Salman. It is captioned more formally, referring to his companions in their official capacities.

"With the Crown Prince and Guardian of the two holy mosques Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and the ambassador to the two holy mosques in the United States Prince Khaled bin Salman in #Riyadh," the caption reads.

Hariri is no stranger to a twitterstorm, only a few months ago an Arabic hashtag that translates as #Where_is_Hariri did the rounds on social media after the Lebanese leader went missing after travelling to Saudi Arabia.

The incident sparked rumours Riyadh had detained him and forced him to resign. 

Hariri abruptly announced the trip to Saudi Arabia - where he is a citizen - last week, which would be his first visit since his alleged detention there.

Lebanon-Saudi relations have been further strained by a spell of diplomatic spats, court cases, and a widely-held view that Saudia Arabia is waging proxy war against nemesis Iran on Lebanese soil.

The selfie sparked a deluge of Twitter reactions, with many users purely bemused.

Other commentators dismissed the photo as a PR stunt ahead of Lebanese elections in two months' time.

But many simply couldn't resist the opportunity to crack some #BFF jokes.