Tasnim – A senior political analyst from the US State of Illinois said Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation is part of a US-backed plot dictated by Saudi Arabia and Israel to destabilize Lebanon and Iran.
“Part of what is behind it is a Saudi/Israeli plot to destabilize Lebanon and Iran, Washington likely involved, a true axis of evil,” Chicago-based Stephen Lendman said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
Stephen Lendman is a writer, syndicated columnist, activist, News TV personality, and radio show host. He currently writes for MoneyNewsNow.com and VeteransToday.com and hosts, since 2007, a progressive radio show at The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in a televised statement from Riyadh, citing several reasons, including the security situation in Lebanon, for his sudden decision. He also said that he realized a plot being hatched against his life. What is your take on this?
Lendman: I’ve written about Hariri’s forced resignation, the Saudis behind it, his reasons utter nonsense. Something else is going on.
Part of what is behind it is a Saudi/Israeli plot to destabilize Lebanon and Iran, Washington likely involved, a true axis of evil. Another factor is the Hariri-owned construction company in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Ogan, hugely profitable when oil prices were high and the Saudi economy prosperous, not so now.
Reportedly, Hariri owes $3.5 billion to Saudi banks Riyadh wants repaid, likely a big reason for his forced resignation and detention in the kingdom.
Tasnim: This came after MBS’s (Mohammed bin Salman) ongoing purge of princes and businessmen, including the wealthiest of them all, the business mogul and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, to consolidate his power, well before his father, King Salman, passes from the scene. Do you see any connection between Hariri’s resignation and the Royal crackdown? What’s all this fuss about?
Lendman: There is a connection to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman power play, arresting scores of princes, ministers and others.
Much more involved, including Riyadh accusing Lebanon and Iran of declaring war on the kingdom, accusing Tehran of supplying Yemeni Houthis with missiles
Saudi aggression on Yemen achieved nothing but mass slaughter of civilians, vast destruction, and humanitarian crisis conditions.
Its attempt to bully Qatar into submission failed. So has its support for ISIS (Daesh) and other terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
Iran and Damascus are rising regionally, Russia a key player. Riyadh’s strategic plan failed, likely key reasons behind crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s purge, Hariri’s forced resignation, and hostile accusations against Lebanon and Iran – along with Bin Salman’s power play.
Riyadh may be shifting its troublemaking from Syria to Lebanon and Iran, America and Israel seeking to weaken both countries, or something more sinister.
All these factors I think are behind what’s going on. It could get worse if either Lebanon or Iran is attacked directly by Washington and its allies or by proxy terrorist fighters, the failed Syria strategy.
Tasnim: How do you see Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s role in this scenario?
Lendman: Netanyahu wants Hezbollah neutralized and Iran as its main regional rival eliminated. If America wanted war on the country, he would be a willing partner.
Kushner may or may not be involved, more likely hawkish Trump administration and Pentagon generals along with the CIA.
Tasnim: MBS has threatened to attack Lebanon and even Iran. Is this a game of bluff?
Lendman: The Saudis will not attack any country alone, nor will Israel attack Iran solo. In 2006, Hezbollah embarrassed the IDF. I do not know if Israel would dare attack Lebanon again on its own, knowing Hezbollah missiles could blast its cities and nuclear facilities, especially if hostilities on Iran erupt.
Regional conditions are very tumultuous. Something is up with all of the above going on. We will have to wait to see what unfolds.