The bizarre resignation of Saad Al-Hariri, in which he announced from Riyadh his sudden resignation from the position of Prime Minister alleging that he was afraid for his life, has left many questioning the relationship between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
What increased the suspicion further was that there was no prelude to his sudden departure, nor his alleged assassination plot, indeed the internal political atmosphere in Lebanon between the parties was so harmonious that he had only a week before appointed a Lebanese ambassador to Damascus, yet resigned before even signing the decree. This indicates that he did not resign by himself, but was informed that he will have to resign after he had arrived in Riyadh.
Since it was declared a state, Lebanon has been an unnatural entity, not fit to be called a state in any true sense. It is no more than the battleground for the regional and global powers. The French colonialists established the Lebanese entity as a bridge to introduce their culture into the Muslim dominated region.
From the last days of the Ottomans, since after the Franco-British intervention in Mount Lebanon, after the 1920 French declaration of Lebanon, after the 1943 declaration of the so-called independence (where the British pressured France), and until today where America has inherited the areas of influence of the old colonialists: colonial interference has brought the people of the country nothing but misery and instability.
Lebanon was established as a corrupt secular system built on the basis of sectarian quotas, giving rise to unending turmoil, as each group relied upon an external power for its livelihood, and thus becoming a tool to implement their policies. Thus, it became a place of international conflict, especially between France, Britain and America and their regional and local followers.
The Lebanese entity is fragile and weak and can not be controlled by an internal party because of its sectarian structure. America has traditionally intervened and managed Lebanon indirectly, through a regional state. It relied on Egypt’s Nasser in the 1960s and then its domination of Lebanon in the 1990s and early 2000s through the use of the Syrian regime through the Taif Agreement of 1989, of which Saudi Arabia was a part. Since then Saudi Arabia has played an important role, and especially during the reign of King Fahd, Syrian and Saudi interests coincided, due to the dependence of both of them on America. When the Saudi King Abdullah came under the influence of Britain, conflict returned to Lebanon, until Britain and France agreed with America to form successive governments from Saad Al-Hariri, Najib Mikati and Tamam Salam.
When Salman bin Abdul Aziz assumed authority in Saudi Arabia, who is representative of the wing of the ruling family loyal to America, he began to make significant and rapid changes in domestic and foreign policy, including Lebanon.
Salman’s loyalty to the United States encouraged them to rely upon him in regard to Yemen, and then in respect to the revolution of Syria. Similarly, the US made use of and continues to make use of Iran and its followers. Iranian influence was introduced into Lebanon through its party there. As such, the tasks and roles to implement US policy in the region are distributed between both parties in spite of the open exchanges of warnings that take place between the Iranian and Saudi regimes.
This distribution of roles between Saudi and Iran in Lebanon led to their respective parties’ agreement in repressing the supporters of the Syrian rebels and breaking the spirit of the region that interacted alongside the revolution. When consensus is required in the important decisions that America wants, they will be reconciled by their followers to achieve this.
America is aware that it cannot implement all its policy by Iran alone, so it is necessary to use other countries like Saudi Arabia to play this role and deceive Sunni Muslims, as is the case in Lebanon. The same happened in Syria, where it turned to some of the militant organisations, deceiving them with aid, and bringing them to Riyadh to sign the Vienna agreement, which was attended by Iran alongside Saudi Arabia, who both agreed to its provisions.
It is important to understand the background, so that what is happening in Lebanon can be understood. Hariri’s resignation represents a reversal of the compromise formulated last year that resulted in the election of the ally of the Iranian party Michel Aoun as president of the republic and the formation of the government in turn. This settlement was hurriedly formulated by America at the end of Obama’s era due to international circumstances and certain regional realities, especially with regard to the situation in Syria. This settlement was translated in Lebanon as a victory for the ally of the Syrian regime, which cost Saad Al-Hariri to lose his popularity significantly. Al-Hariri and his party have carried out a number of political acts to regain some of what he lost, but all of these actions have not borne fruit and his popularity has continued to deteriorate.
Both the US administration and the US approach have changed towards the situation in Syria. Republican administrations, including Trump, generally tend to show enmity to Iran, while still coordinating with them; as opposed to the Obama administration. It seems that America is reassured by the Turkish-Russian efforts to implement the policy of containment of the Syrian revolution within the scheme of “areas of reducing escalation” necessitating curtailment of the former dependence on Iran and its party, without removing it. The proof of this policy is Trump’s refusal to sign the nuclear agreement with Iran and refer it to the US Congress, which means that he is taking a course contrary to the administration of his predecessor Obama, who completed the agreement to launch Iran’s hand in the region to be a key pillar of America in its war against Islam and Muslims, especially in Syria. Al-Hariri’s resignation came within this context.
During 2017, visits by US officials and their involvement in Lebanon’s internal politics were clear to every observer. In recent months, the pace of visits by Lebanese politicians to Saudi Arabia has increased and the statements of Saudi foreign officials have also increased with regard to the Lebanese interior. The resignation was announced by Saudi Arabia through its Al-Arabiya channel. The place where the resignation was announced also indicates that Lebanon’s internal affairs have become in the hands of Salman in Saudi Arabia who America stands behind.
Since the beginning of the crisis, internal voices have been rising regarding the status of the Lebanese pound and the possibility that Saudi Arabia will use economic weapons against Lebanon. These threats are intended to force the Lebanese inside to obey the orders that will come later.
After the resignation of Al-Hariri was announced, came the arrest of several Saudi princes on charges of corruption, as well as the announcement of the targeting of King Khalid airport in Riyadh with a ballistic missile from Yemen. The timing of the resignation was not coincidental, rather its timing and the timing of the missile strike came to cover up the arrests, which included the arrest of the commander of the National Guard, Muteb bin Abdullah. However, the clumsiness in which the resignation took place was a result of the weak political experience of the Trump administration, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saad Al-Hariri himself.
In short, Saad al-Hariri’s resignation from the Lebanese government came by an order from Saudi Arabia and from behind it America.
Firstly: to elevate its influence politically within Lebanon.
Secondly: in line with the interests of America and its management of the Middle East, in redrawing the Iranian role within it.
Thirdly: to consolidate Saudi Arabia’s dominance over Lebanon and to manage its internal affairs according to American interests.
Al-Hariri’s resignation confirms that Lebanon is fragile and easy to penetrate, lacking the slightest form of sovereignty and independence. It’s almost impossible for the entity to get rid of Western influence under its current structure, which always calls for Western interference to manage its affairs -depending on the interests of the West itself.
This situation has been repeated since the Franco-British interference in Mount Lebanon at the end of the Ottoman Khilafah (Caliphate), until today with the continuing Western colonial interference there.
It is the rightly guided Khilafah upon the path of Prophethood that will bring together the lands and the people, and will end their being held to ransom by the Western colonialists, so that Lebanon and all of the lands will return to being a beacon of goodness, light, justice and tranquillity, with politicians of the first degree who do not ransom themselves to the West or the East and work to take care of the people’s affairs as Allah ‘Azza wa Jalla loves for them and is pleased with.