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Outgoing Lebanese PM meets Saudi king in Riyadh

09 Noviembre 2017

After six years of war in Syria, Iran and its ally President Bashar Assad are prevailing over mainly Sunni rebels, many of them backed by Saudi Arabia.

Hariri, who is closely allied with Saudi Arabia, alleged in a broadcast from an undisclosed location that Hezbollah was "directing weapons" at Yemenis, Syrians and Lebanese. One was the head of the Saudi National Guard.

All three of these developments will have seismic implications, not just on Saudi Arabia, but on the region and beyond.

His resignation brought down the coalition government and plunged Lebanon into a new political crisis, returning it to the front line of a regional competition between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran that has also buffeted Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain. The Saudi intervention only made many Lebanese, including some Hariri supporters, resent the kingdom, fearing it will upset the delicate power-sharing structure among Lebanon's Shiites, Sunnis, Christians and other communities.

Forcing Hariri to quit the government would help Israel frame any aggression against Lebanon as an attack on Iranian proxies. With Gaza politically neutralised for now, following Hamas' handover of power to the Palestinian Authority, Israel could very well see this as an optimal time to strike. "They felt he was not preventing their agenda and that he was influenced by Hezbollah and Iran".

The war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and pushed millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine. This war launched by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to restore Sanaa's legitimate government and put Iran in check has failed to do either.

Beirut has adopted a position of "disassociation" from the conflict, but this has come under strain with Hezbollah and its allies pushing for a normalisation of ties. The leader of the Lebanon-based Shia militant group has also appealed for "patience and calm" as Lebanon is teetering on the brink of political instability.

Hizballah is both a military and a political organization that is represented in the Lebanese parliament and in the Hariri-led coalition government formed last year.

Earlier I spoke to a contact who used to work for the billionaire prince.

"With sustained support from Saudi Arabia and the United States, Saad Hariri withstood these pressures for a time", he added.

But in the view of Hebrew University scholar Yusri Hazran, it is doubtful that the Saudi gambit will succeed in really setting back Hezbollah, because it is simply too powerful in Lebanon.

Outgoing Lebanese PM meets Saudi king in Riyadh