Motives and Indications behind Hariri’s Resignation

ByRasanah

While the region is passing through a critical period, Iran and Hezbollah continue to beat the drums of war by triggering and motivating conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, and Kuwait. The Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri has slammed Iran and Hezbollah with his shock resignation on November 4, 2017, accusing Iran and Hezbollah of plotting to drag Lebanon to the period before 2005 and of repeating the scenario of assassinating his father, Rafiq Hariri. He has illustrated a list of logical justifications based on his one-year presidential position experience to clear any shadows of doubts and hushing the Iranian accusation behind the Saudi role in his resignation, enclosing his speech with warning “Iran’s arms will be cut off” very soon. As a result, a new phase is looming to prevail the whole region including Lebanon as Iran and Hezbollah will be under siege.
In order to pinpoint, the actual reasons behind the resignation, it is necessary to analyze the rhetorical features of the speech. He mentioned the phrases “the danger of Hezbollah and Iran” five times, “Hezbollah refuses to disarm” three times, “Hezbollah is swaying over the Lebanese decision” five times, “Hezbollah is entangling Lebanon” three times. Such statements clearly show the danger of the current situation and the strong grip of Hezbollah over Lebanon supported by the Iranian weapons and the fragile Lebanese presidency- affiliated with the March 8 Coalition and led by Hezbollah- and over the Lebanese decision and the Lebanese institutions, which have the absolute right to policy decision-making for serving the Lebanese security. The following are the main reasons for resignation:
» Returning to the prevailed atmosphere before 2005
He stated that he fears of repeating the same scenario of his father’s assassination, the former PM, Rafiq Hariri, in 2005, “the climate is similar to that leading to the assassination of Rafiq Hariri”. He added, “I sensed what was being plotted covertly to target my life”. The motives behind assassinating the father are the same that of the son because of two reasons: he demanded that Hezbollah must be disarmed, and stop its terrorist actions in the Arab states, as it will lead to set sanctions on Lebanon. “The Lebanese people, you are in the eye of the hurricane and under the spot of sanctions and convictions because of Iran and Hezbollah”, he affirmed. These two demands are the same ones led to his father’s assassination.
The articles of the Constitution and the provisions of Lebanese law give the Lebanese army the right to defend the security of the state, protect its borders and confront risks. Therefore, it is not constitutional, at any level, for Hezbollah to retain arms. What has become more dangerous is the use of weapons by Hezbollah inside Lebanon and waving a threat to use more if its decisions and policies ‘for Iran’s sake’ are ignored. Hezbollah’s possession of weapons and its unceasing fighting in Syria has caused the emergence of ‘ISIS danger ‘which consequently led to more blasts in Lebanon, and significantly contributed to get the Lebanese government entangled in fights with extremist parties, along with paying additional bills to make the prevailing slogan in Lebanon “ Only if Nasrallah have not entered Syria, we would have had ISIS in Lebanon”.
» Impenitence of Hezbollah in violating the security of the Arab state
Hezbollah has not only opposed the state of Lebanon by keeping arms, but also by interfering in the internal affairs of the Arab states, whether through establishing similar parties following the same ideology and path as those in Bahrain and Kuwait, or by sending fighters and military experts to support loyal regimes such those who fight with Assad regime in Syria, with Houthis against the legitimate government in Yemen, or with The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) In Iraq through supporting the Shiites over the Sunnis to end up with the eradication of the Sunnis as Hariri stated “Iran has a strong desire to destroy the Arab World”.
There is no stronger reason than the Secretary General of the Party Hassan Nasrallah admitting that his forces where in Syria since the crisis took off in 2011, and his involvement in all wars including the last one in Aleppo, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of dead, wounded, displaced and refugees until Nasrallah announced, in September 2017, the victory of the war in Syria, referring to the remaining fighting as “sporadic battles”. The number of his fighters in Syria ranges from five thousand up to six thousand, while the total number of Hezbollah’s fighters is about 20,000.
After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Hezbollah established the Iraqi Shiite Brigades of Hezbollah (one of the pro-Iranian fractions within the PMF) which is stationed in the town of Qa’im border with Syria to help Iran implementing its plans to extend a safe corridor linking Tehran to Baghdad and Damascus. In Yemen, the legitimate forces have been able to capture a large number of Shiite fighters, including Iranian fighters and pro-Houthis fighters from Hezbollah, either through fighting or by mine planting.
Hezbollah has been always supporting its Bahraini counterpart in acts of sabotage since its beginning till the 2011 unrest. Also, Hezbollah interfered in the internal affairs of Bahrain by warning the Bahraini government ‘not to threat the life ‘of Issa Qassim, the Shiite cleric who was involved in the riots, after decision for withdrawing his citizenship. In Kuwait, in 2015, the authorities arrested a cell of Hezbollah or the ‘Abdali cell’ with 19,000 kilograms of ammunition, 144 kg of explosives, 204 hand grenades and 56 RPGs, which were smuggled by Iran in July 2017. This prompted Kuwait to reduce its diplomatic mission Iran.
All the previously narrated events has strongly formed the decision of resignation; specially, when the GCC, Egypt, the Arab League, France, the USA, Israel, Canada, and Holland listed Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist group’, whereas the UK , Australia, New Zealand listed only its armed wing.
» Hezbollah Implementing Iran’s Agenda
Nobody doubts the fact that Hezbollah’s loyalty to Iran precedes and surpasses its loyalty to Lebanon. We do not really exaggerate by saying the southern suburb of Lebanon is an Iranian state, and Hezbollah is ‘truly’ an Iranian party. The evidence review is apparent such as the foundational statement of the party which confirms clearly upon the complete adherence to the orders of the Supreme Leader of Iran, and pledging allegiance to the General Guardian Jurist and to its approved agents in Lebanon. On the other hand, the party is financially, politically and militarily supported from Iran along with being fueled with millions and millions of dollars through Syria. These are solid pieces of evidence that the party is Iranian swaying over the state and the regime. As aforementioned, the decision to resign occurs during a period where the whole region is witnessing Iranian moves and tours to assert Iranian influence in Syria, Iraq and other targeted countries. The last of these tours was the one taken by Ali Akbar Vilayati, Iran’s Supreme Leader and Ali Khamenei’s top adviser on international affairs, to Lebanon where he met Hariri – one day before resignation- and spoke ,with unpolished words hitting the rock-bottom of politics, about the Iranian plans to expand in Syria and its intention to enter Raqqa and expel the Kurds. In addition, he said that the Lebanese-Syrian-Iraqi victory against the ISIS is a victory for the axis of resistance; thus, Lebanon is listed under the Iranian axis without taking any consideration to the decision of Lebanese government. This made Hariri worried about the ‘growing influence’ of Iran and its alliance Hezbollah on Lebanon.
Before holding this meeting, Hariri, had informed Michel Aoun and March 8 Coalition led by Hezbollah the dangers are knocking the door of Lebanon, and Hezbollah must make a crucial change in its policy whether on the domestic level by keeping arms or abroad, but he received a deaf ear. The party has just continued to implement its agenda inside and outside Lebanon. Only then he realized the fact that the Lebanese government cannot rule over domestic files, whereas the political decision is taken solely by Hezbollah and Iran.
From the previously mentioned facts, it is clear as crystal clear the resignation did not emerge from Saudi Arabia or simply for no reason as promoted by Iranian politicians and decision-makers and Hezbollah, or because of the announcement of, the Secretary of State for Arab Gulf Affairs, Thamer Sabhan about the formation of a military Coalition similar to the Arab Coalition in Yemen, to disband Hezbollah from Lebanon. But, actually Hariri has obviously realized that there is a real threat to the security of the state and its political leaders who oppose the Iranian project in Lebanon and the region, and who also oppose Hezbollah in carrying weapons and exploiting not only the security of the Arab countries, but that of Lebanon, itself. Hezbollah has turned the south of Lebanon into a battlefield and made the Lebanese nation paid the price, as it was during the Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 2006. Nothing can prevent this to occur again; specially under the alliance of Michel Aoun with Hezbollah, who has absolutely no power over the political issues or the country’s foreign political decisions.
Hariri’s resignation and his refusal to accept the status quo ‘which must end’ reflects his political awareness of the timing and taking a step towards the right direction, during the US and Israeli efforts to set a blockade and impose sanctions on Hezbollah under the new US strategy announced by the US administration, on 13/10/2017, to curtail and besiege Iran. Also, it reflects an expectation of the possibility to cut off Hezbollah & Iran’s arms in Lebanon and Syria; in addition to the Israel fears of the growing influence of Hezbollah & Iran in Syria. On the other side, Hariri and his Future Movement (FM) actually do not have that power to cut Iran’s arms, or even the power to start a conflict with Hezbollah. He only speaks out of what he knows and senses about the new arrangements for new political equations, to be imposed in Lebanon and Syria.
This step was necessary to isolate Hezbollah from the Lebanese government, to make a room for forming international coalitions, which set a full military blockade to ensure Hezbollah be disarmed and completely unrooted from the Arab states. The legal presence of Hezbollah in the legitimate government makes it difficult to target and uproot; whereas, it will be easy to do so when removing the legal and political cover. Thus, the party cannot assume any ministerial portfolio under the new Lebanese crisis with March 14 Coalition; especially if it takes the role of hindering power by refusing to participate in the government and the parliament.
Hariri enclosed his resignation speech with a very sensitive and reflective phrase, which unfolds the form of the upcoming stage; “Iran and Hezbollah will lose, their arms in the Arab region will be cut off, the evil that Iran spreads in the region will backfire on it”. His statements clearly show that Future Movement will not be part of any government, which includes Hezbollah. If Hezbollah plays any lobbying efforts to form a new government, then Lebanon will face a new crisis, which is the international and the Arab recognition. This will increase the political economic pressures under the sanctions, which will be impose on Hezbollah. However, there is a greatly significant action which we cannot precisely foretell its size and directions – though mostly stated, it is likely to set a military siege- is near to Lebanon; especially after the signs of defeating ISIS. Therefore, the international and regional plans will take the “final arrangements” for the current political situation is Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, and Hariri’s resignation cannot be torn away from this context.

Rasanah
Rasanah
The Institute Management