القصة الكاملة لاحتجاز الحريري المفقود!!! وهل هو حر في تنقلاته ومن هو “الحوت الأكبر”بين المحتجزين

رئيس التحرير
2017.11.20 15:50

قالت مصادر مطلعة لبنانية إن السعودية أبدت عدم رضاها بسبب رفض عائلة رئيس الوزراء اللبناني سعد الحريري تلبية دعوة لمبايعة بهاء الحريري خلفاً لشقيقه الذي استقال أو اجبر عليها في السعودية السبت الماضي. وكذا بسبب مطالبتها بعودتة من دون توجيه اتهام مباشر للرياض باحتجازه بحسب ما نقتله جريدة الأخبار اللبنانية.

ويرجح الكثيرون أن الخطوات السعودية التصعيدية تجاه لبنان، توحي بأن الرياض لن تتراجع هذه المرة، وهي تحظى بدعم أميركي لتغطية مواقفها الأخيرة، في ظل التنسيق بينها وبين إدارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب.

وأكد مراقبون دوليون أن إستقالة رئيس الوزراء المفاجئة التي أعلنها من السعودية في الرابع من تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر الجاري من ِشأنه إعادة لبنان إلى دائرة التوتر الإقليمي بعد نحو عام من الاستقرار السياسي في بلد تتجاذبه كل القوى في المنطقة بعد إنتخاب رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون والاستقرار النسبي لحكومة الحريري.

وترى آراء متفاوتة أن تجاوزات حزب الله وتحالفه مع إيران قد يكون هو السبب الحقيقي وراء الأزمة اللبنانية الحالية.

وقال رئيس اللقاء الديمقراطي وليد جنبلاط يوم الجمعة “إن الوقت حان لعودة سعد الحريري، وإنه لا بديل عنه”.

وفي تغريدة على تويتر قال جنبلاط “بعد أسبوع من إقامة جبرية كانت أو طوعية آن الأوان لعودة الشيخ سعد والاتفاق معه على استكمال مسيرة البناء والاستقرار. وبالمناسبة لا بديل عنه”.

بعد اسبوع من اقامة جبرية كانت او طوعية أن الاوان لعودة الشيخ سعد والاتفاق معه على استكمال مسيرة البناء والاستقرار.وبالمناسبة لا بديل عنه

وألمحت جريدة الأخبار البنانية أن إنعكاسات قرار المملكة العربية السعودية باستقالة الحكومة اللبنانية برئاسة سعد الحريري، لا تقتصر فقط على الساحة الداخلية. فغياب الرجل الثالث في الحُكم، سيؤدي إلى شل الكثير من الملفات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والإدارية التي تحتاج إلى توقيعه. إذ أن هناك نوعين من الأمور التي عُلّقت نتيجة هذا القرار.

وفي مقابلة مع قناة “أل بي سي” اللبنانية، قال السفير الروسي بلبنان ألكسندر زاسبيكين “ إن موضوع عودة الحريري متعلّق بالحقوق السيادية للبنان، داعيا إلى احترام هذه السيادة”. كما هدد بإحالة ملف الحريري إلى مجلس الأمن الدولي، في حال استمر ما وصفه بالغموض الطاغي عليه

وتابع إذا كانت هناك مماطلة بالموضوع دون التوضيح، فستتم إحالته إلى مناقشة مشتركة لهذا الملف في مجلس الأمن الدولي.

 

ولفت إلى أنّ طلب السعودية عدم مشاركة حزب الله في الحكومة الجديدة يعتبر تدخلا مباشرا في الشؤون الداخلية للبنان، ومن الصعب الحديث عن الصيغة المستقبلية للحكومة. واعتبر أنّ هذا الطلب يزيد من أهمية وجود حزب الله في الحكومة اللبنانية.

تصريح وزير خارجية فرنسا يعزز من شكوك تقييد حرية الحريري ومصدر: لو كان الحريري حرا لزار باريس لساعات والسعودية قد تتعرض لعقوبات إذا تأكد خبر الاحتجاز.. وموسكو تلوح بمجلس الامن.. وبهية الحريري ترفض استبدال بهاء بسعد

 

hariri saudi

باريس ـ “رأي اليوم”:

عزز وزير الخارجية الفرنسي جان إيف لودريان من الشائعات التي تتحدث عن احتجاز سعد الحريري في العربية السعودية رفقة أمراء ضمن حملة الاعتقالات التي يشنها ولي العهد محمد بن سلمان ضد معارضيه ومنافسيه المحتلمين، ولم ينجح الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون في لقائه في الرياض، وقد تتعرض السعودية لعقوبات إذا كان محتجزا ضد إرادته في السعودية.

ولأول مرة، يدلي مسؤول فرنسي بتصريح رسمي حول “احتجاز″ رئيس الحكومة اللبنانية المستقيل سعد الحريري، فقد قال وزير الخارجية لودريان لإذاعة أوروبا 1 اليوم الجمعة “الحريري زار أبو ظبي قبل الرئيس ماكرون، وعليه نعتقد أنه حر في تحركاته”.

ولم يجزم وزير الخارجية في حرية الحريري بل عزز من الشكوك عندما استعمل كلمة “نعتقد” ولم يقل أن “الحريري حر طليق في تحركاته”، وكلمة نعتقد في القاموس الدبلوماسي هي تميل الى عدم الجزم بما يقوله الدبلوماسي، كما لم يؤكد أن السفير الفرنسي في الرياض قد التقاه.

ولم يلتق الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون في زيارته غير المبرمجة ليلة أمس الى الرياض رئيس الحكومة اللبنانية المستقيل “غصبا عنه” على ما يبدو، كما لم ينجح دبلوماسيون غربيون في لقاء الحريري في الرياض على انفراد رغم سعيهم الى ذلك، وأفادت إذاعة راديو فرنسا الدولي أنه “يجهل هل حاول ماكرون لقاء الحريري في الرياض، ولكن ما هو معروف هو أن دبلوماسيين غربيين حاولوا “.

وبعد بيروت، جاء التشكيك في احتجاز الحريري وإرغامه على الاستقالة السبت الماضي من فرنسا. وتربط الحريري علاقات قوية بالطبقة الحاكمة في فرنسا وأجهزتها الأمنية، ويطلعها على تحركاته، وليس من باب التعجب كثرة الحديث في باريس عن احتجاز الحريري في السعودية.

وأخبرت مصادر عليمة بالخارجية الفرنسية لـ”رأي اليوم” أن “خارجية فرنسا متأكدة من تقييد حرية حركة الحريري وليست متأكدة هل هو احتجاز، ولكننا نريد التعامل بمرونة وحذر شديدين مع الموضوع لأنه شائك، إذا تأكد خبر الاحتجاز ستكون الدول الغربية وغير الغربية مطالبة بالتحرك للدفاع عن اتفاقيات فيينا وحتى لا تصبح سابقة تتكرر في المستقبل”، وتقول هذه المصادر “لو كان الحريري كامل الحرية لكان قد قدم الى باريس لبحث استقالته وعاد الى الرياض لينهي كل هذا الهرج والمرج”.

وبنوع من السخرية بعد أنباء احتجاز كل من الحريري والرئيس اليمني الذي يدافع عنه التحالف العربي، قال مصدر دبلوماسي فرنسي “ذهب الرئيس ماكرون الى الرياض، وأخبرنا السعوديين أن رؤوسا نووية موجهة الى السعودية في حالة احتجازه مثل الحريري”.

وتراقب دول بحذر “احتجاز″ الحريري في لبنان، وقال السفير الروسي في بيروت إلكسندر زاسبكين أنه في حالة استمرار الغموض حول الحريري قد تطرح موسكو قضية الحريري في مجلس الأمن، ولا يمكن صدور تصريح عن الدبلوماسي الروسي إذا لم يكن متأكدا من الاحتجاز ولم يتوصل بضوء أخضر من موسكو.

وتدور روايتان حول احتجاز الحريري في الرياض، الرواية الأولى تتحدث عن إرغامه على الاستقالة من رئاسة الحكومة اللبنانية لخلق أزمة في البلاد ستكون مقدمة لعمل ما مثل اندلاع حرب، والرواية الثانية تربط احتجازه بعلاقاته المالية مع أمراء معتقلين.

والرأي الراجح أن ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان لم يتوصل الى انتزاع موقف من الحريري حول صمته إذا غادر الرياض، لهذا يطول الغموض حول مصير الحريري.

 ونقلت مصادر لصحيفة “الأنباء” الكويتية عن النائبة بهية الحريري ان دفع بهاء الدين الحريري في اتجاه تكليفه لرئاسة الحكومة العتيدة يشكل طعنة في ظهر الرئيس سعد الحريري ترفضه العائلة بالمطلق، لأن غايته زعزعة الصف الاسلامي في لبنان وشق العائلة الحريرية.

الأمير متعب “الحوت الأكبر” المستهدف ..تقرير “غربي” قلق من “السكون المريب” لخمسة قبائل تشكل عصب قوات الحرس الوطني وإشارات على مخاوف من إضطرابات في حال حصول صدام عسكري إقليمي

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 رأي اليوم- لندن- خاص

عبرت اوساط دبلوماسية وغربية عن قلقها الشديد من تطورات الأمور في المملكة العربية السعودية خصوصا في ظل ما وصفته ب”السكون المريب” في ورقة وملف  قوات الحرس الوطني السعودية التي يوجد قائدها ووزيرها منذ عدة سنوات الأمير متعب بن عبدالله حاليا في السجن ضمن تحقيقات مثيرة للجدل بالفساد.

ولم تعرف بعد الإجراءات الإحتياطية التي إتخذتها السلطات السعودية بخصوص ضمان إنسياب العمل والواجبات العسكرية والأمنية التي تقوم بها تلك القوات وسط الأزمة الحالية خصوصا وانها “لاتشارك” في العمليات العسكرية في اليمن.

ويبلغ عديد هذه القوات نحو 78 الف مقاتل مدرب ولديها دروع ودبابات وطائرات عمودية وكميات  كبيرة من السلاح وحسب مضمون تقرير دبلوماسي تحذيري  إطلعت عليه رأي اليوم فإن هذه القوات المدربة جيدا محسوبة تماما على نحو خمسة من قبائل الثقل الأساسية بنسبة غالبة وهي قبائل كانت تدين بالولاء بالعادة للملك عبدالله بن عبد العزيز وأنجاله.

ووصف التقرير الأمير السجين والذي صودرت أملاكه وأمواله مؤخرا متعب بن عبدالله بأنه الحوت الأكبر ضمن عملية الإعتقال الأخيرة و صاحب حضور قوي ونافذ وسط بؤر الثقل العشائري والقبلي في قوات الحرس الوطني.

 ومنح والد متعب الملك عبدالله قوات القبائل المشار إليها شرعية هيكيلية عندما أمر بتخصيص وزارة بالهيكل البيروقراطي للمملكة لقوات الحرس الوطني لضمان حصة القبائل والقوات من خزينة الدولة.

 وتطلق السلطات السعودية على  قوات الحرس الوطني التي تعسكر خارج المدن وصف”معسكرات المجاهدين”  وتتمتع بالعادة بميزانية مالية ضخمة لكن واجباتها مختلفة تماما عن واجبات الجيش النظامي السعودي.

وتحرس هذه القوات الآلية وكثيفة العدد المدن من الخارج ونقاط الحدود والموانيء والمطارات.

وتطرق التقرير إلى إشارة تقول بأن موقف أبناء القبائل الكبيرة وعصب قوات الحرس الوطني من مسار الأحداث الأخيرة يشوبه “الغموض الشديد” خصوصا بعد سجن مرشدهم الأمير متعب وإحالة اربع جنرالات يعملون معه مؤخرا على التقاعد.

وإعتبر التقرير ان المسألة الأهم ضمان ضخ المال والرواتب والنفقات لإتمام الواجبات لكن اللغط في اوساط الثقل القبائلي كبير جدا بعد الإجراءات الأخيرة التي طالت عشرات الأمراء ورجال المال والأعمال.

وتخشى تلك الدوائر الغربية من حصول إضطرابات في السعودية خصوصا في حال حصول نزاعات إقليمية عسكرية مرجحة وموجات داخلية من الإحتجاج.

French say Lebanese Prime Minister is NOT being detained against his will in Saudi Arabia as Macron makes unscheduled trip for crisis talks with Crown Prince

  • Saad Hariri declared surprise resignation on Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
  • Experts say Saudi ousted him to cut his ties with Siite Iran ally Hezbollah
  • French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Harir is free to move around

The French Foreign Minister has dismissed rumours that the Lebanese Prime Minister is being detained against his will in Saudi Arabia.

Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a radio interview this morning that Saad Hariri is free to move around.

He went to Abu Dhabi [on Wednesday] the day before the President Macrons visit [to Saudi] so we think hes free to move around, Le Drian told Europe 1 radio.

Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a radio interview this morning that Saad Hariri (pictured) is free to move around

Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a radio interview this morning that Saad Hariri (pictured) is free to move around

Hariri resigned as PM of Lebanon on Saturday, saying he feared assassination. 

But many Lebanese felt Saudi Arabian officials forced him out to wreck his compromise government with Hezbollah - a Shiite political party and militant group opposed to Saudi Arabia.

Lebanese officials feared their Prime Minister was being detained against his will in Saudi Arabia. 

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on Thursday demanded his return.

Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is close to Iranian-backed movement Hezbollah, suggested that Hariri, who holds Saudi nationality, was being held hostage in Riyadh.

French President Macron made a surprise overnight trip to Saudi Arabia on Thursday-Friday during a Middle East tour that saw him attend the inauguration of the new Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receiving French President Emmanuel Macron in the capital Riyad

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receiving French President Emmanuel Macron in the capital Riyad

French President Emmanuel Macron made the visit to Saudi Arabia after the shock resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

French President Emmanuel Macron made the visit to Saudi Arabia after the shock resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

The Lebanese situation is the most worrying subject of the moment, Le Drian added in his interview on Friday morning.

Hariris announcement raised fears that Lebanon - split into rival camps led by Hariri and Hezbollah - could once again descend into violence.

Lebanon was moving towards a new solution with a new constitution, elections to come. The departure of Prime Minister Hariri creates new uncertainties, Le Drian added.

Hariris resignation came amid an intensifying proxy war between Saudi Arabia and regional arch rival Tehran who have long vied for influence in Lebanon.

The Sunni leader had been sharing power with the Shiite militant movement Hezbollah in hard-won national unity government, but the arrangement had come under increasing fire from Saudi Arabia. 

 

Iran and Saudi Arabia are locked in a power struggle for influence in Lebanon and France has close historical ties to the Middle Eastern country, which was once its colony. 

Macron, on his debut visit to the Middle East, made the surprise announcement at a news conference in Dubai that he would meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

It was decided to go on this visit to Riyadh to see the Crown Prince, first, it is in order to have a first meeting with him, but also to discuss regional questions, in particular Yemen and Lebanon, he said.

The French president is already in the Middle East with his wife Brigitte, pictured here on a visit to the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum

The French president is already in the Middle East with his wife Brigitte, pictured here on a visit to the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum

I will also emphasize the importance of Lebanese stability and integrity.

 

Officials in Lebanon are now reportedly planning to work with foreign states to secure the politicians return to the country in the latest twist in an extraordinary resignation.

Lebanon is heading towards asking foreign and Arab states to put pressure on Saudi to release Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, said the official, who declined to be identified because the government had yet to declare the initiative.

The official said Hariri was still Lebanons prime minister.

Keeping Hariri with restricted freedom in Riyadh is an attack on Lebanese sovereignty. Our dignity is his dignity. We will work with (foreign) states to return him to Beirut. 

Saad Hariri declared his surprise resignation on Saturday from Riyadh which fuelled beliefs he was coerced into standing down against his will. Here he is pictured Monday with Saudi Arabias King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud  in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saad Hariri declared his surprise resignation on Saturday from Riyadh which fuelled beliefs he was coerced into standing down against his will. Here he is pictured Monday with Saudi Arabias King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia and Hariri aides have denied reports that he is under house arrest, but he has put out no statements himself denying his movements are being restricted.

Saudi Arabia says the Iran-backed group Hezbollah had hijacked the political system in Lebanon.

Lebanons Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post is seen at the governmental palace in Beirut, Lebanon

Lebanons Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post is seen at the governmental palace in Beirut, Lebanon

In his resignation speech, Hariri attacked Iran and Hezbollah for sowing strife in Arab states and said he feared assassination. 

 

Saad Hariri declared his surprise resignation on Saturday from Riyadh which fuelled beliefs he was coerced into standing down against his will. 

His resignation has thrust Lebanon back onto the front line of the Middle Easts most biting rivalry, pitting a mostly Sunni bloc led by Saudi Arabia and including the UAE against Shiite Iran and its allies. 

Hariri made the surprise announcement in a pre-recorded message on a Saudi-owned TV station.

Last week, Saudi Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan predicted on Lebanons MTV station that astonishing developments were coming for Lebanon.

After Hariris resignation, rumours spread in Lebanon that he was under house arrest in Saudi Arabia - especially after news broke over the weekend of arrests in the kingdom of dozens of Saudi princes, ministers and influential businessmen in a sweep purportedly over corruption.

Lebanons former prime minister Saad Hariri (left) is pictured meeting with Abu Dhabis Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Al-Shati palace in Abu Dhabi this week

Lebanons former prime minister Saad Hariri (left) is pictured meeting with Abu Dhabis Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Al-Shati palace in Abu Dhabi this week

Hezbollahs leader, Hassan Nasrallah, on Sunday accused Saudi Arabia of drafting Hariris resignation letter and forcing him to read it on Saudi TV. 

He even asked whether Hariri was being held against his will.

The daily Al-Akhbar, a harsh critic of Saudi Arabias policies, ran a full-page photo of Hariri on its front page with the words: The hostage.

Saudi Arabias King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud shakes hands with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri during their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday

Saudi Arabias King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud shakes hands with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri during their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday

Speculation continued to swirl despite the official Saudi Press Agency carrying photos Monday showing Hariri meeting with Saudi King Salman. 

Hariri tweeted that he was honored to visit the king in his office - and some of his supporters tweeted back, telling him to take a selfie raising his left hand as a signal that hes OK.

Hariri, a dual Saudi-Lebanese citizen, has been facing financial difficulties recently as his business in Saudi Arabia suffers. 

Earlier this year he closed his familys Oger construction firm that had made billions of dollars since his late father founded it in the 1970s.

Some experts on Lebanese politics are convinced Riyadh was behind the resignation.

Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut, said Hariri made many concessions to his political rivals in order to become prime minister and would not have given up the position had it not been for Saudi pressure.

Joseph Bahout, a visiting scholar in Carnegies Middle East Program, warned just last month that Saudi Arabia was seeking ways to compensate for the loss of Syria as a place where it could defy and bleed Iran.

A renewed desire to reverse their regional fortunes could lead them to try regaining a foothold in Lebanon, he wrote.

Saudi Arabia has denied any meddling. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017

 

Lebanons Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, and his late father, Rafik al-Hariri, are seen on a poster in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh

Lebanons Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, and his late father, Rafik al-Hariri, are seen on a poster in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh

The resignation throws Lebanon into potential turmoil, forcing the small nation to become a new front in the regional fight for supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

And this at a time when Iran and its allies are seen to have won the proxy war against Saudi-backed Sunni fighters in Syria.

 

The Saudi royal family arrests: Those detained in the anti-corruption purge include Prince Miteb, Prince Turki and Prince Alwaleed (circled in red)

The Saudi royal family arrests: Those detained in the anti-corruption purge include Prince Miteb, Prince Turki and Prince Alwaleed (circled in red)

Shiite Hezbollah dominates Lebanon, but it has sought not to provoke the Sunni community, which in turn has avoided crossing the guerrilla force.

The fear among some Lebanese now is that Saudi Arabia will upset that balance, trying to compensate for its losses in proxy wars elsewhere.

In Syria, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed fighters allied with President Bashar Assads forces have recaptured large areas and are working to secure a much-prized land corridor stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. 

By contrast, Saudi Arabia has been stuck in a fruitless war in Yemen against Iranian-backed Shiite rebels, and a Saudi bid to isolate Qatar has failed to achieve its goals.

Saudi fingerprints were seen all over Hariris resignation on Saturday.

Unexpectedly, Hariri appeared on Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV in a recorded video from an undisclosed location, haltingly delivering a statement in which he accused Iran of meddling in Arab affairs and the Iran-backed Hezbollah of holding Lebanon hostage.

Irans arms in the region will be cut off, he said, adding that he felt compelled to resign and that his life was endangered.

Saudi Arabia and Irans cold war: How its fought with proxies seeded across the Middle East

The Islamic States dream of a Middle East caliphate may be over, but Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite powerhouse Iran continue to worsen conflicts across the region as they battle to reign supreme.

Here MailOnline looks at some of the key countries where their hands are wreaking havoc because of different political and religious opinions…

LEBANON

The resignation of Lebanons Saudi-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri has thrust Lebanon back onto the front line of the Middle Easts most biting rivalry, pitting a mostly Sunni bloc led by Saudi Arabia and including the UAE against Shiite Iran and its allies.

Hariri, a Sunni Muslim leader, had faced the seemingly impossible task of presiding over a government under the control of Iran-backed Hezbollah. The Shiite militant party is accused of killing his father, Rafik, in 2005 and in his resignation speech on Saturday he suggested he now fears for his own life.

Hezbollah supporters carry a poster of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah during a Hezbollah victory over Israel rally, in Beiruts suburbs, Friday, 22 September 2006

Hezbollah supporters carry a poster of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah during a Hezbollah victory over Israel rally, in Beiruts suburbs, Friday, 22 September 2006

But he was known to tow the Saudi line and his shock resignation suggests Saudi Arabia may have a new plan of action for the country.

The kingdom had long backed the Sunnis in Lebanons multi-sectarian political system - and during the civil war - but on Monday it accused the tiny Arab country of declaring war against it because of aggression by Hezbollah.

The statement comes as the civil war in neighbouring Syria, where Hezbollah had been ensuring President Bashar Assads regime was not toppled by a pro-democracy movement, winds down.

Joseph Bahout, a visiting scholar in Carnegies Middle East Program, warned just last month that Saudi Arabia was seeking ways to compensate for the loss of Syria as a place where it could defy and bleed Iran. A renewed desire to reverse their regional fortunes could lead them to try regaining a foothold in Lebanon, he wrote.

Hezbollah is returning its energy to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia only wants a leader in the country if it can withstand Hezbollahs pressure.

Its believed they did not see Hariri as the man for that job.

SYRIA

In Syria the civil war is not completely over but Iran and its allies are seen to have won the proxy war against Saudi-backed rebels.

Hezbollah and other fighters allied with Assads forces have recaptured large areas and are working to secure a much-prized land corridor stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Pro-government demonstrators hold posters depicting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and placards, during a rally  in Damascus, in 2012

Pro-government demonstrators hold posters depicting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and placards, during a rally in Damascus, in 2012

A Syrian man carries a baby after removing him from the rubble of a destroyed building following a reported air strike in the then rebel-held part of Aleppo in 2016

A Syrian man carries a baby after removing him from the rubble of a destroyed building following a reported air strike in the then rebel-held part of Aleppo in 2016

By contrast, Saudi Arabia has been stuck in a fruitless war in Yemen against Iranian-backed Shiite rebels, and a Saudi bid to isolate Qatar has failed to achieve its goals.

YEMEN

Saudi Arabias King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, and his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), have this week made clear their intention to continue to fight against Iran in Yemen.

Riyadh and Tehran have been trading fierce accusations over their involvement in the country, where they back opposing sides.

In the latest flare-up Saudi Arabia said an intercepted missile attack on the country, allegedly by Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen, may amount to an act of war.

People walk at the site of an air strike in the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen, on November 1

People walk at the site of an air strike in the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen, on November 1

MBS said on Tuesday that Irans decision to supply rockets to militias in Yemen constitutes a direct military aggression against the kingdom.

Tehran in turn accused Riyadh of committing war crimes in Yemen, raising tensions further.

And Hezbollah and the Houthis, as Yemens Shiite rebels are known, have denied any role by the Lebanese group in the war in the Arabian Peninsula country.

ISRAEL

The resignation of Lebanons Hariri also has significant implications for Israel, Daniel Shapiro, President Obamas Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, said in a column for Haaretz newspaper this week.

It is plausible that the Saudis are trying to create the context for a different means of contesting Iran in Lebanon: an Israeli-Hezbollah war, he wrote.

Shapiro suggests Saudi may have pulled Hariri out of his office to leave Hezbollah with the blame and responsibility for... caring for Syrian refugees to mopping up Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates.

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting in 10 Downing St, London, Thursday, November 2 

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting in 10 Downing St, London, Thursday, November 2 

This could lead Hezbollah to confront Israel as means of securing support from its people in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have become unlikely allies. Their common ground? Stopping nuclear Iran reigning supreme in the region.

For Israel, partnering with Saudi-Arabia to quash Hezbollah would be considered key to helping them deal with an old enemy.

QATAR

Saudi Arabias bid to isolate Qatar appears to have been fruitless.

Instead of bringing the worlds wealthiest nation back into its folds by forcing it into a diplomatic corner, Doha has forcefully rejected all Saudi demands.

Most importantly, Qatar has refused to curtail relations with Iran, with whom it shares the worlds largest reservoir of natural gas.

Iran and Turkey have helped Qatar survive amid Saudi and its Gulf allies suffocating sanctions and thus Tehran has scored another goal in the cold war dominating the political landscape in the Middle East.

NEW PROXY WARS ON THE HORIZON?

With all the above perceived losses against Iran that Saudi Arabia has felt in Syria and Qatar, it is no wonder that Riyadhs patience over Hezbollah is running thin and Lebanon is in its sights.

The resignation came exactly a year after Hariri formed a coalition government that included Hezbollah, shortly after Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian and Hezbollah ally, was elected president. 

That arrangement was the product of a rare understanding between Saudi Arabia and Iran for calm in Lebanon, ending a two-year period during which the presidency was vacant.

 

 

Saudi officials have vowed to crush Hezbollah and recently have been inciting Lebanese to rise against the Shiite militant group, asserting they should openly say whether they are with or against it. Saudi Arabia, which considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization, says the group should not be part of a future Lebanese government.

For its part, the Hezbollah leader has been one of the kingdoms harshest critics and it is not uncommon for Hezbollah supporters to chant Death to Al Saud in their rallies - a reference to the Saudi royal family.

At the very least, Hariris resignation could mean another long period without a government for Lebanon, at a time when its economy is struggling under a ballooning public debt that has reached more than $75 billion - 140 percent of its gross domestic product, a debt-to-GDP ratio that is among the highest in the world.

According to Lebanons power-sharing deal, the president should be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the parliament speaker a Shiite. 

But given Hariris wide support among Sunnis, it may be difficult for any Sunni politician to assume the post of prime minister without alienating the Sunni community. 

And it will be impossible to form a Cabinet without Hezbollah, since the militant group and its allies enjoy wide support among both Shiites and Christians. 

Today it was revealed Hariri travelled to the UAE a day after Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon of declaring war against it because of aggression by Irans Lebanese ally Hezbollah. 

 

Hariri left Riyadh early on Tuesday for Abu Dhabi to meet the United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Hariri-owned Future TV and Saudi-owned al-Arabiya reported.

Saudi Arabias Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Tuesday that Irans decision to supply rockets to militias in Yemen constitutes a direct military aggression against the kingdom.

A rocket fired from Yemen intercepted on the outskirts of Riyadh hours after Hariris resignation on Saturday. 

On Monday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN the rocket was an Iranian missile launched by Hezbollah.

 

Saudi royal purge: The Crown princes high-stakes gambit 

According to local reports, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is one of the men who has been detained

According to local reports, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is one of the men who has been detained

With his sweeping royal purge, Saudi Arabias future king has upended a decades-old system of governance adopted by previous rulers in what analysts describe as a bold but risky power play.

Dozens of political and business figures were arrested at the weekend in what Saudi authorities have dubbed an anti-corruption swoop, including billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, while powerful royals such as the national guard chief were sacked.

The dramatic clampdown on business figures could deal a blow to investor confidence,

potentially derailing sweeping Vision 2030 reforms, the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The purge underscores an unprecedented restructuring of the kingdom as Prince Mohammed dismantles a governance model involving consensus within the royal family, while he amasses extraordinary power.

The structure of dynastic rule established over the past few decades is being reshaped into a more centralised monarchical system, said Jane Kinninmont, of London-based think tank Chatham House.

MBS is disrupting the model of Saudi government, Kinninmont said using an acronym widely used for the crown prince.

Saudi authorities hailed the dramatic crackdown as a bold initiative to root out corruption.

But analysts question whether the issue serves as a guise for Prince Mohammed to consolidate power by eliminating rivals opposed to his reform drive and eventual succession as king.

The dismissals and detentions suggest that Prince Mohammed rather than forging alliances is extending his iron grip to... counter opposition, said James Dorsey from Singapores S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

It raises questions about the reform process that increasingly is based on a unilateral rather than a consensual rewriting of the kingdoms social contract.

Prince Mohammeds supporters lionise him as an enlightened disrupter of the status quo as he pursues dramatic social and economic reforms to modernise the kingdom and prepare for a post-oil era.

The venue of the summit, Riyads Ritz Carlton hotel, is now rumoured to be the site where many of the arrested elites are being held

The venue of the summit, Riyads Ritz Carlton hotel, is now rumoured to be the site where many of the arrested elites are being held

His anti-graft campaign follows other bold moves, including a royal decree allowing women to drive from next June and clipping the powers of the religious police.

His ambitions were on display at an investor summit in Riyadh two weeks ago, where global business titans were shown blueprints for multibillion dollar projects, including a futuristic megacity with robots and driverless cars.

The venue of the summit, Riyads Ritz Carlton hotel, is now rumoured to be the site where many of the arrested elites are being held. 

Police cars surround the palatial complex, with its imposing gates clamped shut.

The anti-corruption sweep has included individuals who had been seen as potential sources of resistance to elements of MBSs various projects, said Kinninmont.

The sweep has triggered uncertainty among businesses at a time when the kingdom is seeking to attract badly needed investments amid a protracted oil slump.

Among those being held, aside from Prince Al-Waleed, is Waleed al-Ibrahim, owner of the influential Arab satellite network MBC, as well as construction tycoon Bakr Bin Laden (pictured) and billionaire Saleh Kama

Among those being held, aside from Prince Al-Waleed, is Waleed al-Ibrahim, owner of the influential Arab satellite network MBC, as well as construction tycoon Bakr Bin Laden (pictured) and billionaire Saleh Kama

Among those being held, aside from Prince Al-Waleed, is Waleed al-Ibrahim, owner of the influential Arab satellite network MBC, as well as construction tycoon Bakr Bin Laden and billionaire Saleh Kamal.

Research firm Capital Economics said the arrests could deal a short-term blow to the economy as opposition towards Prince Mohammed builds, potentially threatening his reform drive.

Genevas Mirabaud Securities warned that the purge, including the arrest of Prince Al-Waleed who has invested billions in companies around the world, could spook the private sector in the short term and intensify capital flight from Saudi Arabia.

But seemingly unfazed, government social media channels have replayed a months-old interview with Prince Mohammed in which he stressed that neither ministers nor business tycoons will be spared if found guilty of corruption.

It is a message that resonates with the masses who seethe over a culture of privilege among old-generation royals.

Cynics calling it a power grab but actually power had been already consolidated, tweeted Ali Shihabi, director of the Washington-based Arabia Foundation who is said to be close to the establishment.

This is about reshaping elite behavior by picking high profile symbols. (Its) message is that house cleaning starts at the top.

But experts warn that the purge could trigger a backlash especially as Prince Mohammed seeks to consolidate his control over the security services.

He ousted Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the 64-year-old son of the late king Abdullah, as the head of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. 

The internal security force has long been seen as a local of tribal power and a stronghold of king Abdullahs family.

In June, he also toppled the previous crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, ousting him from the interior ministry.

Such dramatic changes are bound to meet some resistance and opposition, Kinninmont said.

Since there are few permitted avenues for expressing opposition and criticism in Saudi Arabia, (we) inevitably wonder whether opposition is brewing behind the scenes.

 



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