Lebanon Plunges Into Crisis After Premier Resigns, Fearing Assassination Plot

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad al-Hariri, unexpectedly resigned on Saturday, saying in a fiery televised broadcast from Saudi Arabia that he feared for his life  while also fiercely criticizing Iran. According to regional analysts, the move has "plunged Lebanon into crisis" amid heightened regional tensions.

In his resignation speech, Hariri - whose farther, former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, was assassinated in 2005 -  fired a vicious tirade against Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah group for what he said was their meddling in Arab affairs and said that "Iran's arms in the region will be cut off." Accusing Iran of sowing "fear, chaos, strife and destruction" throughout the region, including Lebanon, Hariri said that "the evil that Iran spreads in the region will backfire on it."

Hariri's resignation was unprecedented in the way it was announced, in a televised address from an undisclosed location in Riyadh. In his speech, Hariri suggested he feared for his life and said the climate in the country is similar to the one that existed before his father, the late prime minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in 2005.

That said, Hariri may have had an ulterior motive for his fire and brimstone speech: Hariri - whose family is very close to Saudi Arabia, Iran's regional competitor - was appointed prime minister in late 2016 and headed a 30-member coalition government that included members of the Shiite militant Hezbollah. But it's been an uneasy partnership between Hariri, who heads a Sunni-led camp loyal to Saudi Arabia, and Hezbollah, which represents a camp loyal to Shiite Iran. President Michel Aoun, who was elected in October 2016 after more than a two-year presidential vacuum, is a close ally of Hezbollah.

Hariri's resignation comes at a time when Iran's regional power is surging, having recently played a critical role in the quashing of the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum, as well as collaborating with Russia in Syria to preserve the regime of al Assad and defeat local Islamic State forces. As U.S. and Saudi Arabia have sought ways to curb Iran's growing influence in the region, Hariri has come under pressure to distance himself from the militant group which has sent thousands of troops to neighboring Syria to shore up President Bashar Assad's forces.

Speaking from Saudi Arabia, Hariri may have decided to simply remain with his Saudi friends for the foreseeable future, and was not immediately clear if the now former premier intended to return to Lebanon. In a statement, the presidential office said Aoun was informed by Hariri in a phone call of his resignation, adding that the president now awaits Hariri's return to clarify the circumstances of his resignation and proceed accordingly.

The resignation comes at an unstable time for the middle-eastern nation. Quote AP:

"Hariri's bombshell resignation — even close aides seemed unaware of the announcement — ushers in a stage of deep uncertainty and potential instability. It also throws into doubt parliamentary elections slated for early next year which have been repeatedly delayed. It comes amid a sharp escalation in Saudi rhetoric against its regional archrival Iran and puts Lebanon at the center of that rivalry."

Echoing AP's dismary was Martin Patience, a BBC reporter in Beirut, who wrote that the prime minister's resignation "has opened up a chasm of uncertainty in Lebanon."

It's still not clear why he announced his decision in Saudi Arabia - an extraordinary move that left even his own MPs bewildered. But the move will be seen through the lens of the great Shia-Sunni divide that's fuelling much of the violence across the Middle East. It's pitted the Sunni power, Saudi Arabia, against the Shia power, Iran - with both sides backing different players to wield influence. 

Hazem al-Amin, a Lebanese writer who follows regional affairs, said Hariri's resignation is "completely a Saudi step" that comes in the context of an international and regional atmosphere against Hezbollah and against Iranian influence in the region.

"Lebanon is a fragile country. This confrontation (between Saudi Arabia and Iran) is more violent than Lebanon can stand up to," he said, warning of economic and security ramifications.

The push to contain Iran has been a key priority for US foreign policy in recent weeks: two weeks ago, Rex Tillerson conducted a visit to Gulf states, whose sole purpose was to make it clear to regional US allies to come together and halt the Iranian ascent even as Arab nations bicker amongst themselves.

Tillerson's Gulf visit came as part of concerted efforts to curb Iran's rapidly expanding influence in the region, including boosting the clout of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia in Shiite-majority Iraq, where Iran backs Shia militias fighting in the north - part of a wider regional battle for influence that extends from Syria to Yemen - even as there was scant hope of a breakthrough in attempts to reconcile Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Then earlier this week, the CIA released thousands of formerly confidential files on bin Laden which according to at least one former intel official were meant to deceive the public on Iran and specifically alleged ties between al-Aqeda and Iran. 

To the cursory reader with even a basic understanding of Middle East geopolitics and religion, the first thing that will stand out is the extreme unlikelihood that the hardline Shiite Islamic Republic of Iran would sponsor Sunni fundamentalists which have historically been at war with Iran. Furthermore, it has already been well-known that al-Qaeda has long had a presence in Iran's restive Arabic speaking Sunni heartland in the country's west (about 10% of Iran's population is Sunni) - a sizable minority community which has suffered a tenuous existence of perpetual tension with the Tehran government over the decades.

 

But then to go even further with the claim that Iran hatched a plan to train al-Qaeda operatives at Hezbollah camps in Lebanon is even more extraordinary. It is as likely as George Bush's now debunked claim that Saddam Hussein sponsored al-Qaeda. Hussein was a Baathist and secular nationalist dictator who actively persecuted extremists opposed to Baathist rule.

Commenting on Hariri's resignation, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said the resignation is a plot by the U.S., Israel and the Saudis to foment tensions in Lebanon and the region, the semi-official Iranian Tasnim news agency reported. Ghasemi dismissed Hariri's "baseless accusations," which he said indicate that "a new scenario" for the region was being drawn. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hariri's resignation and comments "are a wake-up call to the international community to take action against the Iranian aggression that is trying to turn Syria into Lebanon 2."

"This aggression endangers not only Israel but the entire Middle East. The international community needs to come together and stand against this aggression," he said.

In his speech, Hariri speech directly lashed out at the Iran-backed Hezbollah organization,which wields considerable power in Lebanon.

Hariri said Hezbollah's policies have put Lebanon "in the eye of the storm."

His attacks on Hezbollah come on the heels of new U.S. sanctions on the group that many fear will impact negatively on the Lebanese economy. Hariri has frequently called on the group to withdraw its fighters from Syria. "I declare my resignation from the premiership of the Lebanese government, with the certainty that the will of the Lebanese is strong," Hariri said.

 

"When I took office, I promised you that I would seek to unite the Lebanese and end political division... But unfortunately, this pushed Iran and its allies to more interference in our internal affairs," he said.

Earlier this week, Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan sharply criticized Hezbollah, calling for its "toppling" and promising "astonishing developments" in the coming days during an interview with the Lebanese TV station MTV.

Al-Sabhan met with Hariri in Saudi Arabia when the now resigned prime minister was visiting earlier this week. Hariri abruptly returned to the kingdom again on Friday after a meeting in Beirut with Ali-Akbar Velayati, foreign adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. In tweets after meeting Hariri, al-Sabhan criticized the Lebanese government for tolerating Hezbollah's criticism of the kingdom.

Comments

Truther Number 9 Sat, 11/04/2017 - 15:25 Permalink

The fucking Mossad killed his father and blamed it on Assad. This PM is a Saudi puppet. He was hauled by a private saudi jet today after his meeting with an Iranian MP yesterday. The plot for his ouster was pre-planned by Trump, Saudi and Zionist Joos in order to isolate Hizbullah as the next proxy war approaches according to Wesley Clark, after the US/Israeli defeat in Syria and Iraq, paving the way for Iran to extend it's reach from Tehran to the Mediterranean. This is part of the Greater Israel Project. 2006 war on Lebanon, and the defeat of the Zionist klan, will look like a walk in the park compared to what is coming as imminent to Lebanon.Don't believe the hype or what the Saudi Wahabi Devils preach. Trump signed off and threatened Hariri to resign and blame Iran on any instability. Hizbullah, which was created on the premise of the Zionist invasion of Lebanon in 1980, has a right to defend itself. After all, if they didn't operate in Syria against CIAISIS in Syria, Lebanon would have been destroyed, in shambles and Israel would have re-invaded back in 2013. Get your popcorn ready. The final stage will be at Iran after the destruction of Lebanon to weaken Hizbullah, which will draw in Russia and China. WWIII is at hand. A hot one too. 

In reply to by Number 9

veritas semper… chumbawamba Sat, 11/04/2017 - 18:46 Permalink

Intelligent people ,with integrity have discovered the truth about the horrors and crimes of the Zionist Entity and its vassals.And can not be bought with a few shekels to carry water in a sieve  for them.So they are left with low level IQ people or people without any conscience or honour ,who sell their soul to serve the Zionists.That's how they get these reprobates.

In reply to by chumbawamba

chumbawamba Truther Sat, 11/04/2017 - 22:00 Permalink

I seriously doubt that Israel will try Lebanon again at this point, unless they just want to accelerate their emminent demise by 2025, as prophesied by Abraham in the 2000s.  US clout is on the wane, and Syria and Iran are rising ME powers.  Between them and Hizballah (with Russian proxy support as this will be too close to fighting the US directly to become openly involved, probably China too) it would be the premature end of State of Israel.The only hope of Israeli citizens at this point is to assimilate back into Palestinian society...basically become Arabs, as they should have when they first arrived on the shores of Palestine over a century ago, hoping to colonize it.  "The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man".  But instead of finding another, more amenable patch of dirt to call home, they tried to break up the marriage the Palestinians have with their land.  Over 100 years later and the Palestinians are still there.State of Israel has peaked.  Let the countdown begin:

Israel gone by 2025. - the prophet Abraham

I am Chumbawamba.

In reply to by Truther

Freddie Truther Sat, 11/04/2017 - 17:01 Permalink

Hezbollah kicked their asses along with Syrian military, Qids and Russians in Syria and the Neocons are furious.Good luck.  Looks like Hezbollah is 3-0 and winning.  Note: They along with Syrian military, Russia, Qids and Iran protect ALL Syrians including Christians.CIA man Robert Baer_Iran (hezbollah) has already defeated Israel twicehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD6YR8lQq40Baer talks about how USSA Inc aka NeoCons including Satanic Bush's handed Iraq to Iran.  BBC-Rothschild presenter gets upset.Iran and Hezbollah have huge good will in Syria, Iraq and lebanon from most of the citizens including Chrisitians.Norman Finklestein talks about he has solidarity with hezbollah because he is against people invading other countries.  He also says Hezbollah beat Israel in 2001 and 2006. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VfnGpHOEXQChristian Lebanese singer sings praises to Hezbollah for defending Lebanon.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdZgkGI5h0A

In reply to by Truther

peddling-fiction TheLastTrump Sat, 11/04/2017 - 17:32 Permalink

The Nazis were freemasons or worse.Research handshakes of Nazi officers and SS.https://www.google.com/search?q=nazi+handshake&prmd=ivn&tbm=isch&tbo=u&… the 1800's, the freemasons were (((illuminated))), and it means the Nazis (and everybody else) were manipulated to do what they did.What illuminism means is that Deism and Pantheism were replaced by Kabbalism in the inner circles of these secret brotherhoods.

In reply to by TheLastTrump

Andre TheLastTrump Sat, 11/04/2017 - 22:31 Permalink

Well, when they attack your navy (USS Liberty) on the high seas, steal you vital secrets and trade them to your enemy (Pollard), cheer the death of 3000 American citizens on 9/11 (5 dancing Israelis), and cheerlead the destruction of Western culture (Barbara Lerner) while refusing to do themselves the very things they insist the West must do (e.g., treatment of Gaza). it is a little hard to have sympathy for them, or respect for those who support them. I mean, these are allies? 

In reply to by TheLastTrump

BobEore Truther Sat, 11/04/2017 - 23:49 Permalink

CANCEL the retro-doom porn Alerts."WAR" has been waged - and won - only victory parades await your exceptionalist popcorn fantasies.The BusheyBandits' "THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT" have turned into a multi-pointed star of david hanging over this sorry ol world, like a sword of Damocles ... and those who swoon with mistaken ardor for its arrival... in the prepackaged, digestible form of GOODGUYS FROM THE EAST vs BadGuys from the west... have fallen under the spell of a ONEMEDIA meme which forbids the objective examination of events for what they are -the arrival of a sionist-led EURASIAN CRIMINAL CARTEL - a talmudic Russian Mafiya owned - New Jersusalem spawned with the intention of destroying the goyish world and ushering in the PAXSIONISTA which will fulfill millennarian fantasies andthe CONVERGENCE program of the WALL ST CAPITALISTS by which east and west are bound together - in neo-feudal gulag... at last!Like all wars... this one was fought for the spoils... ideological diversions and phony disputes between shia/sunni, talmudist/islamist, commie/capitalist are used merely to keep the dupes from understanding the endgame ... and providing us with the bizarre spectacle of the intended victims/zheeplecheering for their executioners, on their ride in the tumbrils... munching the free popcorn and spiked foolaid generously provided by their hosts.Buttons/muttons!

In reply to by Truther

veritas semper… VWAndy Sat, 11/04/2017 - 17:53 Permalink

His dad was blew up by Mo$$ad.Hariri is a Saudi stooge.Remember that not too long ago ,he was summoned to the White House and after this he started thowing lies about Hezbollah. He received his orders from the WH,which received their orders from the Zionist Entity in the ME.Lebanon has a delicate balance of power:the president is Christian,the PM(who was a Saudi/Zionist entity stooge) is Sunni and the speaker of the House is Shia.The zionists(US,I$rael,Saudi )are trying to destroy the balance and throw mud on Iran and destroy Hezbollah.They are preparing to stir more hoas in the ME,now that their pet,ISIS was defeated.And attack Iran by all means.There is a very,very good analysis about this at Moon of Alabama.So much for ME "peace" lead by US.Haha!There is absolutely,I mean absolutely no doubt that the Don is the Zionist entity's stooge,the Shabbos -Goy--in -chief.Have you seen what an Iraqi official just said? That US tryed to pressure Iraq NOT to liberate the border between Iraq/Syria,but the PMU(shia) and the government ignored it and they did it.And now they are in Syria,helping liberate Al Bukhamal,the last ISIS held city which is  at the border with Iraq.

In reply to by VWAndy

2banana Sat, 11/04/2017 - 15:07 Permalink

At one time, not that long ago.Lebanon was a very majority Christian country and Beirut was the "Paris" of the east.It was a beautiful, prosperous and safe country.Then uncontrolled immigration of muslims happened.