The resignation of Saad Al-Hariri less than a year after being elected prime minister of Lebanon came as no surprise to many observers of the political scene. There are many overlapping domestic, regional and international factors that can be reflected in the following points.
Firstly, fragile government and grave crisis: State institutions in Lebanon were almost paralyzed by the failure of the two dominant Lebanese parties, March 8 Alliance and March 14 Alliance, to agree on the election of a president. In an attempt to put an end to the two-year-long presidential vacuum, spare Lebanon from regional crises and resume political life, Hariri and his political team came to accept Hezbollah’s first candidate, Michel Aoun. Hence, a fragile deal was agreed, whereby the former would be named prime minister and the latter would be appointed president until new parliamentary elections were held. The deal came into effect on the 11th of November 2016 and lasted no longer than a year, collapsing as soon as the resignation was declared.
When President Aoun visited Saudi Arabia in an attempt to restore normal relations between the two states after a deadlock period, I wrote an article titled “The Lebanese – Saudi Summit: What to Expect”. The article said: “The major challenge facing President Aoun following the visit is his ability to convince Hezbollah to spare Lebanon and the Lebanese community from further tensions in their relations with the Arab world and the Gulf states”. It also stated: “The shift in the Lebanese stand does not indicate its political independence. It is rather a temporary shift imposed by the surrounding circumstances during the past two years. Such circumstances forced Iran, Hezbollah and pro-Iran groups in Lebanon to compromise on some issues”. This is exactly what is happening.
Lebanon has become a training center used by Hezbollah to train other militias in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Gulf states in order to be re-exported for political instability in those countries. Directed by Iran, Hezbollah intervened in Syria to back Assad, in Yemen to back the Houthis, in Iraq and in the Gulf states. Consequently, the said countries became a frontline for the extended Iranian military and economic influence through Hezbollah and Iran’s other arms.Ibrahim Al-Othaimin