On 4th November, Saad Hariri, the actual Prime Minister of Lebanon unexpectedly announced his resignation live from Riyadh on the Arabia television channel, a channel owned by Saudi Arabia. In the same time, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, arrested many Saudi princes, media owners, businessmen, and the millionaire businessman Waleed Ben Talal on “corruption” charges. The next day, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah leader, called and urged for calm. More than one week later our PM hasn’t returned to Lebanon yet but gave on 12th November evening a pathetic interview after one week of silence. Meanwhile, Michel Aoun, the president of Lebanon, gave a one-week ultimatum to Saudi Arabia to let Hariri come back before Lebanon files an official complaint at the UN Security Council.
No, you’re not watching the latest soap-box drama movie but a sad reality. But one should think and ask, how did we get there?
Everything started on 9th November 2016 and the election of Donald Trump. Trump, ah my dear Trump. I’m still convinced Hillary Clinton would have been a worse president than Donald Trump. And I knew having Trump as a president would have been a big risk and change for the Middle East, and could affect Lebanon. Many times during his campaign he mentioned the Iran nuclear deal as the worst deal ever negotiated. And since he’s in office he’s been trying to renegotiate it, or worth kill it. The USA political agenda was clear: Iran is our new enemy and we should, by all means, destabilize it and cut her expanding influence in the region. What influence he’s talking about here? The near end of the war in Syria and Iraq. A war the USA and SA lost to Russia and Iran. Then, in May 2017 Trump signed $110 billion arms deal with SA. What a better way to fight a local enemy then providing your ally the means to do it? And in the last months, MBS and SA have directly threatened Iran and Hezbollah, therefore Lebanon.
Let’s go back now to the actual context. Three major things happened last week:
- The resignation of the prime minister outside of Lebanon
- The elimination of all king’s opponents in SA
- The media propaganda worldwide
Hariri has the dual citizenship, Saudi and Lebanese
Since the election of the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, after two years and a half of vacancy, a government of national union and collaboration was formed. That’s how Saad Hariri was Prime Minister again in a cohabitation with Hezbollah. The day before he announced his resignation from Riyadh, Hariri even met with the Iranian advisory for foreign affairs in Lebanon. The meeting was quite productive and both parties were looking forward to future collaboration. It’s important to mention it’s the first time in the history of Lebanon a prime minister resigns outside of the country. And doing it in SA has a particular message due to the historical relationship, and influence, of SA in the country. Hariri himself has the dual citizenship, Saudi and Lebanese. And in the text he read when announcing his resignation he condemned Iran and its growing power and influence in the region. He also charged Iran’s Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, the Shiite militia and political party that is part of the national unity cabinet he led: “Wherever Iran settles, it sows discord, devastation, and destruction, proven by its interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.”. Hariri and Hezbollah always had their differences but never the dialogue was harsh and aggressive like this.
We could call it a coup actually
As for the situations in SA, many analysts could see this happening. From last July, one prince was already detained. And then this extraordinary purged happen. Another prince dead in a helicopter crash. And one shot after the detention turned out of control. And even Bakr Ben Laden, the brother of Oussama Ben Laden, was arrested. MBS is eliminating his opponents one after another to maintain his supremacy and go through with his more “moderate” SA. We could call it a coup actually. But of course, media only reported these facts without even condemning it. What I’ve read is that in SA when you detain someone, his assets become the government property. You should know SA’s debt is 13-14% of its GDP. Yet they still found a way to buy for 110 B$ of weapons! Or did they? Not yet, but Trump tweeting about Aramco IPO could give us a clear answer pretty soon! And actually, in April 2016, Vikram Mansharamani, a lecturer at Yale University in the Program on Ethics, Politics, and Economics, warned us to prepare for several possibilities, from the escalation of the cold war between SA and Iran into a hot one, to a collapse of the Saudi monarchy and the chaos accompanying such a development, to the emergence of a renewed economic powerhouse in the Middle East.
Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization
A couple of hours after Hariri’s resignation, and until today, any media will narrate the same story, blaming Iran, and requesting the elimination of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization. You don’t believe me? Go ahead and google Saad Hariri’s resignation or anything related to the above. As if all news publishers agreed to write the same story to convince us Iran and Hezbollah are indeed dangerous. Doesn’t it sound familiar? No? Think a bit more… Ok. A hint: Weapon of Mass Destruction. And if this is not propaganda (or fake news as we call it in the 21st century) I don’t know what is. And what about Reuters saying Lebanon has declared war on SA? Isn’t it the other way around? And what about Hezbollah? Well, it is not a terrorist organization. I repeat and will always repeat it, HEZBOLLAH IS NOT A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION. For your information, the USA decided to put Hezbollah on the terrorist list. On what basis? Because they’re fighting Israel, our enemy but USA historical ally, who’s violating international laws on a daily basis. But needless to remind you, Hezbollah is for many years now a political party part of the Lebanese government. And this is a fact you can’t disagree with. Most people would argue their existence is illegal because they still carry weapons when it’s only the Lebanese army who should. And I agree with you, but as long as the army is not competent enough to fight the enemy, I see no reasons why the Hezbollah should give back their weapons. Oh and by the way, they are not the only political party holding weapons in Lebanon. Sunni militia exist as well in the country, but you’d never hear any media or party complain about it. And why is that? Because they have close ties with SA and the USA.
So what’s happening here is a nasty geo-strategic-economic hold up from the USA and SA on the region, as they’ve lost its control to Russia and Iran. As always, unfortunately, Lebanon has to suffer from all this. And we are. But for once, we will come out stronger as all Lebanese are united and requesting the immediate return of Saad Hariri, our Prime Minister, to Lebanon. And huge respect to our president, Michel Aoun, who stood up to MBS, Trump, and the world.