Lebanon, object of new crisis in region

November 8, The Iran Project – The snap resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri over the weekend, apart from all the accusations and counter accusations, indicates very clearly that another complicated conspire by certain states in the region is in the making.

Hariri’s announcement of his resignation from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and the anti-Iranian rhetoric he used to justify his attempt to step down is after all implicit of a Saudi involvement and what appears to be an initiative by the kingdom to confront Iran regional influence.

Counter Accusations

On Nov 5, the secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says the country’s prime minister has been under pressure to resign his post.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks in a speech after the country’s prime minister, announced his resignation through a televised statement from Saudi Arabia, citing fears about his life and accusing Iran and the Hezbollah movement of interfering in internal affairs of Arab countries.

Nasrallah noted that the announcement of Hariri’s resignation came after a number of visits to Saudi Arabia, adding that the text and style of his resignation clearly showed that it was not his own text and was a Saudi text dictated to the Lebanese prime minister.

“So far, we have reached the conclusion that nobody in Lebanon knows what the real reason behind Hariri’s resignation is and everybody has been taken by surprise in this regard,” Hezbollah leader noted.

Fanning Regional Tensions

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said that the surprise resignation of Hariri is aimed at creating tension in Lebanon and the entire region.

“We believe the resistant people of Lebanon will pass behind this stage,” he added.

Qasemi rejected Hariri’s claims against Iran as a repetition of false and unfounded anti-Iran accusations by the Zionist regime, the Saudis and the Americans.

“The sudden resignation of Mr. Hariri and its announcement in another country is not only a source of pity and wonder, but also indicates he is playing in a ground where the ill-wishers of the region have designed,” the spokesman said, adding, “The winner of this ground is not the Arab and Muslim countries, but the Zionist regime that have defined its existence in tension among the Muslim countries across the region.”

 Surprise Resignation

Iran’s Commander of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said Saudi Arabia and Zionist regime are behind the Hariri’s surprise resignation and the aggravation of situation in Lebanon.

“When he declares his resignation in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, it is clear that Saudi Arabia and Zionist regime are behind the scene for inflammation and aggravation of situation in Lebanon,” Jafarri said.

Riyadh Denies Accusation

Saudi Arabia, however, has denied being behind Hariri’s resignation.

Saudi Minister of State for (Persian) Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan told Lebanese television station LBC that it was entirely Hariri’s decision to step down.

Nonetheless, the resignation comes amid increasingly hostile rhetoric from Sabhan himself, who recently posted several tweets condemning Hezbollah, which he described as a ‘terrorist’ force.

“Those who cooperate and work with it politically, economically and through the media should be punished,” Sabhan wrote on October 26. “There should be serious work to curb it internally and externally and to confront it with force.”

New Dangers

Lebanese and regional analysts, whether supporters or opponents of Hezbollah, said it appeared that Hariri had been pressured to resign by his patrons, the Saudis, as they and the United States ratchet up efforts to counter Iranian influence.

The resignation came after weeks of sharp American and Saudi condemnations of Iran, including from President Trump, and new American sanctions against Hezbollah.

By pushing out Hariri, analysts said, Saudi Arabia could deny Hezbollah a credible Sunni governing partner- an attempt to isolate it and deny it the fig leaf of a national unity government.

Across the political spectrum, analysts and officials said the resignation ushered in new dangers. If the next government is more pro-Hezbollah, they said, that could lead to devastating sanctions. It could even increase the chances of a new war with Israel, which would see added justification for its argument that there is little distinction between Hezbollah and the Lebanese state.

To sum up, it looks highly unlikely that Tel Aviv may make such a perilous move. Igniting a civil war in Lebanon and putting Hezbollah in the eye of a crisis would be an easier scenario for Tel Aviv-Washington-Riyadh to implement.

Saudi Arabia has been trying for a long time to show Hezbollah as Lebanon’s crisis source, and eventually Riyadh, Washington, and Tel Aviv would seek to place Hezbollah on the list of terrorist groups.