Sunday, 5 November 2017

Lebanese PM Hariri resigns after trips to Saudi Arabia

Israel beats the drums of war.

PressTV-Lebanese PM Hariri resigns after trips to Saudi Arabia
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has announced his resignation in a speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon PM Hariri resigns, assails Iran and Hezbollah




Reuters,
4 November, 2017



BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned on Saturday, saying he believed there was an assassination plot against him and accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world.

Image result for Lebanon PM Hariri resigns, assails Iran and Hezbollah
His resignation, a big surprise to Beirut’s political establishment, brought down the coalition government and plunged Lebanon into a new political crisis.



It thrust Lebanon into the front line of a regional competition between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi‘ite Iran that has also buffeted Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain. A Saudi government minister said Hariri was in Riyadh to ensure his safety.



Hariri, who is closely allied with Saudi Arabia, alleged in a broadcast from an undisclosed location that Hezbollah was “directing weapons” at Yemenis, Syrians and Lebanese.



In comments directed at Iran, he said the Arab world would “cut off the hands that wickedly extend to it”.



Hariri’s coalition, which took office last year, grouped nearly all of Lebanon’s main parties, including Hezbollah. It took office in a political deal that made Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, president, and was seen as a victory for Iran.



The resignation risks exacerbating sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims and returning Lebanon to paralysis in government.



An official at the U.S. State Department said it was following the situation closely and noted that Hariri had been a “strong partner in building strong national state institutions and in the war on terror”.



The official added “the United States expects an orderly political process in Lebanon and will remain supportive of the legitimate institutions of the Lebanese state”.



It was not immediately clear who might succeed Hariri, Lebanon’s most influential Sunni politician.



The prime minister must be a Sunni in Lebanon’s sectarian system. Aoun must appoint the candidate with most support among MPs, who he is expected to consult in the coming days.



We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafik al-Hariri. I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life,” Hariri said.



Rafik al-Hariri was killed in a 2005 Beirut bomb attack that pushed his son Saad into politics and set off years of turmoil. A U.N.-backed tribunal has charged five Hezbollah members over the killing. Hezbollah denies involvement.



The Saudi-owned pan-Arab television channel al-Arabiya al-Hadath reported that an assassination plot against Hariri was foiled in Beirut days ago, citing an unnamed source.



Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan said in a television interview that Hariri’s personal security detail had “confirmed information” of a plot to kill him.



Lebanon’s internal security force said in a statement on the reports that it had no information about the matter.



Hariri said Hezbollah and Iran had brought Lebanon into the “eye of a storm” of international sanctions. Iran was sowing strife, destruction and ruin wherever it went and he accused it of a “deep hatred for the Arab nation”.



Aoun’s office said Hariri had called him from “outside Lebanon” to inform him of his resignation. He has postponed a visit to Kuwait and directed military and security agencies “to maintain stability”, it said.

Hariri flew to Saudi Arabia on Friday after a meeting in Beirut with Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Afterwards, Velayati described Hariri’s coalition as “a victory” and “great success”.



TUSSLE FOR INFLUENCE



Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, will address Hariri’s resignation in a televised speech on Sunday, Hezbollah-affiliated media reported.



A member of Hezbollah’s central committee, Sheikh Nabil Kawouk, accused Riyadh of being behind Hariri’s resignation, saying in a speech reported by Lebanon’s al-Jadeed television: “God protect Lebanon from the evil of Saudi Arabia’s reckless adventures.”



Walid Jumblatt, the leader of Lebanon’s Druze minority, said Lebanon was too weak to bear the consequences of Hariri’s resignation, saying he feared political and economic fallout.



We cannot afford to fight the Iranians from Lebanon,” he told Reuters, advocating an approach of compromise with Hezbollah in Lebanon while waiting for regional circumstances to allow Saudi-Iranian dialogue.



Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Hariri’s departure was a plot to “create tension in Lebanon and the region”.



Hariri’s resignation was done with planning by Donald Trump, the president of America, and Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia,” said Hussein Sheikh al-Islam, adviser to Iran’s supreme leader.



Sabhan, the Saudi minister, echoed the language of the Lebanese politician saying in a tweet: “The hands of treachery and aggression must be cut off.”



Israeli politicians also used Hariri’s resignation to criticize Iranian influence in Lebanon. “His words are a wake-up call to the international community to take action against Iranian aggression,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.



ECONOMIC RISKS



Hezbollah’s close ties to Iran and its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his war with rebels have been a major source of tension in Lebanon for years.



Lebanese president says PM Hariri phoned to resign from outside country



Iran says resignation of Lebanese PM will create tension in region



Beirut has adopted a position of “disassociation” from the conflict, but this has come under strain with Hezbollah and its allies pushing for a normalization of ties.



Since taking office, Hariri had worked to garner international aid for Lebanon to cope with the strain of hosting some 1.5 million Syrian refugees.



The government’s collapse complicates preparations for next year’s parliamentary elections, Lebanon’s first since 2009.



Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told Reuters there was no danger to Lebanon’s economy or its currency.



Joseph Torbey, head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, said there was no risk to monetary stability because the central bank had large reserves and there was confidence in Lebanese banks.



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.



The United States is considering new sanctions on Hezbollah, as part of a tougher stance against Iran and its allies, that Lebanese politicians have fretted could hurt the economy.

Hariri’s resignation last-ditch Saudi attempt to destabilize Lebanon: Analyst


Press TV,
4 November, 2017



A political commentator believes Saudi Arabia ordered Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign in a "last-ditch attempt" to “destabilize” Lebanon.



What we see now is that you have an irrational party - I mean the Saudis - who have been trying all the irrational things that come to your mind and now they are trying one last-ditch attempt because they have already tried everything. Lebanon has seen the explosions by terrorists, suicide bombers and everything and instability at the political level with delaying of the formation of Hariri’s government and all the pressures made in order to destabilize this country came from Saudi Arabia but all have failed,” Mohammad Obeid told PressTV in an interview on Saturday.



He also added that Hariri’s resignation cannot be separated from the developments that are happening in the Middle East - namely the failures that the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been dealing with in Iraq and Syria.


PressTV-Lebanese PM Hariri resigns after trips to Saudi Arabia


Saad Hariri is the son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. Hariri has also been the leader of the Future Movement party since 2005.



He became prime minister in 2016 after serving another term between November 2009 and June 2011.



The commentator further argued that Hariri’s “surprising” and “unacceptable” resignation will backfire on the Saudis at the political level given the fact that he was serving the interests of Saudi Arabia.




He also predicted that this “critical development” will create political instability and suffering in Lebanon for a few months until a new agreement is reached for the appointment of another prime minister.

Netanyahu: Hariri’s resignation a ‘wake-up call’ on Iran threat to the region

PM calls on international community to address 'Iranian aggression' after Saad Hariri steps down, citing Islamic Republic's 'grip' on Lebanon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discusses Israel's foreign policy at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, in London, on November 3, 2017. (AFP Photo/Adrian Dennis)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday warned that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation should be a “wake-up call” to the international community to the threat posed by Iran’s regional ambitions, which he said endanger not only Israel but the entire Middle East.



The resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hariri and his remarks [on Iran] are a wake-up call to the international community to take action against the Iranian aggression, which is turning Syria into a second Lebanon,” tweeted Netanyahu from London.


This aggression endangers not only Israel, but the entire Middle East. The international community needs to unite and stand against this aggression,” the prime minister added.



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