MİDDLE EAST

Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE role in Hariri’s resignation

UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Israeli alliance are seeking to make up for their failure in northern Iraq with Lebanon by causing the resignation of Saad al-Hariri

Editor / Internet Yeni Şafak

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Israel alliance that wanted to reduce Iran's influence in Iraq with an "independence referendum" in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) decided to conduct a second attempt in Lebanon. Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad al-Hariri suddenly resigned on Saturday. Hariri, in a televised speech, said there was a plot to kill him, and accused Hezbollah and its Iranian backers of sowing strife in the Arab world. Immediately after Hariri's resignation, Thamer Al-Sabhan, the influential Saudi minister for Gulf Arab Affairs, cautioned that "the hands of betrayal and enmity should be cut.” Hariri was found to have met with Sabhan five days before his resignation.

Timing draws attention

Hariri announced his resignation during a visit to Saudi Arabia, arguing that Lebanon and Hezbollah planned an assassination against him. "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. Hariri was appointed prime minister in late 2016. In comments directed at Iran, he said the Arab world would "cut off the hands that wickedly extend to it.”

Hariri’s resignation, announced soon after the failed "independence referendum" in northern Iraq is noteworthy. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel, which failed to counter Iran’s influence in Iraq using Masoud Barzani, targeted Lebanon’s Hezbollah in an attempt to strike Tehran’s influence on the Mediterranean line.

Trump, Salman behind Hariri’s resignation

Hariri’s resignation resulted in a spat between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Hüseyin Şeyhulislam said that U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were behind the resignation. Iranian Mehr news agency reported that Şeyhulislam said: "The resignation is a clear Saudi Arabian decision taken to confront Hezbollah. If he respects the honor of the Lebanese people and wants to protect it, we wish for Hariri to resign from Lebanon, not from any other country.”

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Iran-backed Hezbollah, said: "The resignation was a Saudi decision dictated to Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and was forced on him." Hariri's resignation toppled a coalition government that included Hezbollah, thrusting Lebanon back into the frontline of the Saudi-Iranian regional rivalry and risking an open-ended political crisis.

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