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Saudis Deny Forcing Lebanese Prime Minister To Resign, Blame Hizballah

Saudis Deny Forcing Lebanese Prime Minister To Resign, Blame Hizballah

It started off with the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a clearly orchestrated move produced and executed by his paymasters in Riyadh. The irony was lost on him. It transpired that Houthi rebels (linked to Iran and allied with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is partially linked to the United Arab Emirates) had fired at least one ballistic missile from Yemen towards Riyadh.

Hariri, Lebanon's most prominent Sunni politician, announced he was stepping down on November 4 while visiting his ally, Saudi Arabia, and lashed out at Hizballah and Iran. Some were the sons of the late King Abdullah. The company was hit by a decline in oil prices led to sharp state spending cuts in the kingdom. "But I'm not sure this will be achieved".

A lot of chatter involved Israel. 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.

There were a series of arrests of princes and senior figures in what was billed as a crackdown on corruption but was widely seen as a purge of potential rivals and critics. 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.

In Yemen, the war has cost the Saudi economy hundreds of millions of dollars.

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"We do not want explosions and destruction to happen again in the Hariri family", he added, referring to the fatal bombing of Saad al-Hariri's father and prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, in 2005.

The resignation risks exacerbating sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims and returning Lebanon to paralysis in government. Iran's direct intervention and Russia's air campaign rescued Assad and turned the tide in his favor, recapturing large stretches of territory.

Though Saudi Arabia said it reserved the right to respond over the Yemeni missile, it is unlikely to take direct military action against Iran.

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

A member of Hezbollah's central committee, Sheikh Nabil Kawouk, accused Riyadh of being behind Hariri's resignation, saying in a speech reported by Lebanon's al-Jadeed television: "God protect Lebanon from the evil of Saudi Arabia's reckless adventures". The message from Bin Salman to the country's wealthy elite is: Pay up or get locked up.


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