Did Lebanon's PM Saad Hariri just sign his own death warrant?
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Saturday that he would not accept Hezb'allah's stated policy of interferring in the internal affairs of other Arab countries - a direct challenge to Hezb'allah's power in Lebanon.
Hariri resigned as prime minister earlier this month but withdrew the resignation at the behest of Lebanon's Christian President Michel Aoun.
Hariri challenging Hezb'allah - and by extension, Iran and Syria - is eerily reminiscent of his father's actions which led to his assassination in 2005. Rafiq Hariri died in a car bomb explosion on February 14, 2005, just a few days after a meeting with Hafez Assad, Syria's president at the time.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Saturday that he would not accept Iran-backed Hezbollah’s positions that “affect our Arab brothers or target the security and stability of their countries”, a statement from his press office said.
The statement did not specify which countries he meant.
Everyone knows that Hariri is talking about Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, who are under direct threat from Hezb'allah.
Hezbollah is fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Gulf monarchies have accused the Shi‘ite group of also supporting the Houthi group in Yemen and of backing militants in Bahrain. Hezbollah denies any activity in Yemen :or Bahrain.
Hariri’s resignation pitched Lebanon to the forefront of a regional power tussle this month between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which backs Hezbollah. The two regional powers back competing factions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
After returning to Lebanon this week, he shelved the decision on Wednesday at the request of President Michel Aoun, easing a crisis that had deepened tensions in the Middle East.
Following his announcement, made on Lebanon’s independence day, hundreds of Hariri supporters packed the streets near his house in central Beirut, waving the blue flag of his Future Movement political party.
On Saturday, he said that his decision to wait instead of officially resigning is to give a chance to discuss and look into demands that will make Lebanon neutral and allow it to enforce its “disassociation” policy.
The "disassociation policy" would make Lebanon neutral. This is the farthest thing from Hezb'allah's mind. The terrrorists have every intention of supporting terrorist groups and rebels in Yemen, Bahrain, and elsewhere. The heart of their poiicies is to check Saudi Arabian influence on behalf of their paymasters in Iran.
In 2005, it was the Syrian occupation of Lebanon and Hezb'allah's support for President Hafez Assad that Hariri was fighting. A report on the elder Hariri's assassination released in 2005, found members of Assad's family personally responsible for Hariri's murder. Cell phones used during the car bombing were traced to Hezb'allah operatives. A tribunal was set up to try those responsible for the assassination, but Hezb'allah and the Lebanese government refused to cooperate.
Now, Saad Hariri finds himself in a similar position as his father - opposing Hezb'allah. For all the talk of Hezb'allah being a "political organization," the fact is, they have the guns to enforce their will and are not shy about using them.
The terrorists had no comment on Hariri's statement, but issued a statement of their own looking forward to "dialogue."
On Saturday, Hezbollah’s International Relations Officer Ammar Moussawi said that the Shi‘ite group is ready to reach understandings with “our partners in the country”, and that the group is open to real dialogue and cooperation with all, Lebanon’s state news agency NNA reported.
Hezb'allah's idea of "dialogue and cooperation with all" leaves a lot to be desired.