losangelesnewstoday.com April 25, 2018

Saudis gamble on Hariri resignation to check Iranian grip on Lebanon

11 November 2017, 01:01 | Katrina Lee

Saudis gamble on Hariri resignation to check Iranian grip on Lebanon

France believes Hariri free of movements in Saudi

The international organization's presence in Lebanon include the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL) who serves as the secretary-general's representative to the Lebanese Government, all political parties and the diplomatic community based in the country, and works on behalf of the UN chief to assist Lebanese parties to reach peaceful and consensus based solutions to contentious issues.

Iran's Foreign Ministry said Hariri's departure was a plot to "create tension in Lebanon and the region".

Lebanon's internal security force said in a statement on the reports that it had no information about the matter and denied it was the source of the news.

Lebanon has one of the world's highest ratios of debt-to-GDP and last month passed its first budget since 2005, one of the few achievements of the coalition government. Such actions could open the door to the strengthening of the Salafi Sunni elements, some of whom are influenced by what is happening in Syria and will be supported by Saudi Arabia, which could ignite sectarian strife in Lebanon.

It was not so veiled an accusation.

Hariri then headed an anti-Syrian bloc to victory in 2005 legislative elections, eventually serving as prime minister intermittently throughout 2017.

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"We cannot but be sad over Lebanon's situation due to Hezbollah". That could potentially destabilize Lebanon, which saw bloody clashes between the guerrilla force and Sunni rivals in the mid-2000s.

It is hard to predict how Hariri's resignation will effect Israeli interests.

Hariri, who announced that he was stepping down while in Saudi Arabia, also said, in a televised broadcast, that he took the step because he feared for his life, and accused Iran of spreading fear and destruction in several countries, including Lebanon. More recently, as noted by Eldad Shavit, senior analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, Hariri went along with Hezbollah's insistence that a Lebanese ambassador be posted to Damascus, something that legitimized the Iranian-backed Assad regime and thus was a setback to Saudi interests. This war launched by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to restore Sanaa's legitimate government and put Iran in check has failed to do either.

"Israel" will have to make its own decision when the time is right for that fight".

Beirut has adopted a position of "disassociation" from the conflict, but this has come under strain with Hezbollah and its allies pushing for a normalisation of ties. Israel is not interested in escalation in the near future, and the same is true of Hezbollah.

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