Lebanon was plunged in a major government crisis after Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his surprise resignation on Saturday after delivering an “explosive” speech against Iran’s negative policies in the region. He also launched an attack that was no less violent against its proxy, “Hezbollah.”
Lebanese sources close to Hariri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the official would not have left his post if he felt that staying will preserve stability.
He instead revealed that Hariri had received western warnings that an assassination plot against him was being prepared, which prompted him to leave the country and announce that he was stepping down.
Sources predicted that the official will likely remain outside of Lebanon due to the “serious” security threats.
The Lebanese official had heard positive statements from the aide of the Iranian supreme leader Ali Akbar Velayati during their latest meeting in Beirut, said the sources. This was then followed however by Velayati’s remarks that the “resistance axis” was victorious in the region.
Hariri had also been adopting a calm approach with “Hezbollah”, but he was surprised to find that a plot to assassinate him was being devised, continued the sources.
The former premier recently started to sense that concessions that he was making in favor of the internal reconciliation were being transformed into concessions in favor of a power that was trying to seize control of Lebanon.
Hariri therefore became convinced that staying at the head of the government will create more harm than good and will not help the “process of stability,” continued the sources.
He became convinced that something major was being concocted against Lebanon and that Iran and “Hezbollah” were exploiting his presence at the head of the government in order to “lead the country towards great adventures where he will be a pawn to cover up their actions.”
A ministerial source warned that the speech that Hariri delivered after his resignation was more dangerous than the resignation itself because he had effectively announced the final divorce from “Hezbollah”, which had been his partner in government.
He predicted that the government will now assume a caretaker role until it becomes clear which direction Lebanon is headed to.
Furthermore, he said that there will be difficulties in finding a Sunni leader who will be capable of forming a new government, which would ultimately threaten next year’s parliamentary elections.
Hariri’s resignation prompted President Michel Aoun to cancel a scheduled visit to Kuwait. He stayed in Lebanon where he held a series of contacts with officials to discuss the resignation, which he received from Hariri by telephone.
Aoun contacted Speaker Nabih Berri, who is in Egypt’s Sharm al-Sheikh. The speaker in turn contacted Grand Mufti Sheikh Abul Latif al-Daryan, head of the Higher Islamic Shi’ite Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan and Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq.