Hariri’s resignation is a sign that Saudis and U.S-Israel are pursuing a disastrous ‘Plan B’ it may also show the Saudis losing their grip on Lebanese and regional affairs. It has regional and indeed global implications.
We can look at how things were going on after the election of Trump where he was blaming Hezbollah for all these so-called national security threats that are endangering the American operation, and after that we saw the U.S House of Representatives adding the political wing of Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations, and also adding both wings to their list of criminal organizations, and increasing sanctions on Hezbollah.
This means they have the jurisdiction now to charge Hezbollah members under common criminal charges, as one would for any standard criminal offense.
After that we heard a lot of tweets and statements coming from Saudi Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan, who has been very vocal about Hezbollah for the last two weeks, this is the same al-Sabhan who was in Raqqa Syria just over two weeks ago with Brett McGurk, the U.S special envoy to the coalition in support of – or rather we are told opposed to – the Islamic State. (Editor’s note – to clarify, al-Sabhan and McGurk were in Syria without the permission of Damascus)
They are there on the pretext of cleaning up Raqqa and rebuilding it, though in reality they are chiefly the parties which have financed its destruction.
Then within a week we see Hariri summoned to Saudi Arabia (Editor’s note – this corroborates that the Lebanese PM is under Riyadh’s authority), where he had several meetings and came back to Beirut for one day, where he then met with the top Iranian diplomat, after which he went straight back to Saudi Arabia and now this – his statement of resignation coming from Saudi land – indeed this sends a huge message.
This is a message about the politics he stands behind, but also about the new phase that Lebanon is entering into, and what is going to come next.
We have just read that Saudi Defense Minister, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, has summoned the heads of the anti-Yemen coalition, the coalition which is bombing Yemen, to find some sort of a plan to bomb Hezbollah. This is a big development.
The project that did not work in Syria and Iraq is now being redirected or reformed towards a direct confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Israel against Hezbollah, within Lebanon. But to be clear, the alliance which formed to defend Syria from the failed US-Saudi-Israeli plan, is very much capable of doing the same in Lebanon.
This then is a very risky move on the part of the Saudis and Israelis, but of course what is happening shows that there is a very big division between all political factions, and so the events over the coming hours and days will tell us a great deal about the machinations and aims of the Saudi-Israeli alliance in Lebanon.