It was November 4, 2017, Saad Hariri announced live on Al Arabiya television that he had resigned as Lebanese prime minister.
Very few saw it coming, although it wasn’t entirely unexpected. After all, it’s not as if Hariri was overjoyed presiding over a government under the control of his archrival, Hezbollah, the Lebanese political-military party accused of killing his father, Rafik, in 2005. He wasn’t. But for him to quit now, in the absence of obvious triggers and in such a mysterious fashion, has left Lebanon’s political class—even his own entourage and popular base—scratching their heads.
That Saad told the world about his decision from Riyadh, not Beirut, was particularly revealing. It means that Saudi Arabia, which politically supported and bankrolled the Hariris throughout most of Lebanon’s post-civil war history, is readjusting its policy in Lebanon to more effectively weaken Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia’s standing in Beirut had been taking hit after hit since Rafik’s killing due to the dominance of Hezbollah and its foreign patrons, Iran and the Assad regime. What this readjustment might practically accomplish, however, is quite uncertain.
While getting back in Lebanon, Lebanon’s President refused to accept the resignation of Hariri and asked him to get back and resign properly. On the other hand, Hasan Nasrallah said Lebanon PM’s resignation ‘imposed’ by Saudi Arabia. Lebanon situation is going critical. They have to control it for there own good. Lebanon should not allow foreign players to play their game in your ground.