Alwaght- Media outlets these days are covering Lebanon’s developments as the country’s prime minister last week announced his resignation while being abroad in Saudi Arabia.
Secretary-General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in a televised speech called the attention to the Saudi intervention in Lebanon’s internal affairs. Various Lebanese groups welcomed Hezbollah criticism of Riyadh, and speculation swirled on the media about Saudi Arabia putting PM Saad Hariri under house arrest.
After these developments Saudi regime launched a massive campaign in a bid to show that Hariri resignation and stay in the kingdom was of his own accord, with Riyadh not foisting its will on him. Part of the campaign was Hariri’s suspicious interview with Future TV, a news network run by the Lebanon’s pro-Saudi Future Movement headed by Hariri.
Alwaght has conducted an interview with former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon Ahmad Dastmalchian, in an effort to shed light on the Lebanese internal climate after the recent developments.
Touching on Saudi Arabia's role in Hariri's resignation, Dastmalchian said "Naturally, after sustaining defeats in the region and failing to realize any of its goals in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, this country resorted to plotting. On the opposite side, stands the Axis of Resistance that scored several strategic gains. For example, in Syria vast swaths of territories have been retaken from occupation of takfiri terrorists by the army and resistant forces. The regional developments have proven extremely costly to Saudi Arabia, especially when last week the Yemenis fired a long-range missile at Riyadh. Saudi Arabia grew concerns also shared by the Zionist regime. So, to cover their earlier losses and at the same time forge a new psychological atmosphere, they resorted to such measures in Lebanon. They recalled PM Hariri to Riyadh, gave him the resignation note, and eventually held him. This is disrespect for the Lebanese dignity and independence, something Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah referred to in his address. Even the Future Movement which is close to Saudi Arabia has criticized the situation. Similar criticism also came from the Lebanese interior minister who is a member of the Future Movement.
Former Iranian ambassador also commented on Riyadh's kidnapping of Lebanese PM, saying Saudi plot to destabilize Lebanon and fuel divisions among different parties in the Arab country has backfired.
"At home, Future Movement as a pro-Saudi party bitterly reacted to Riyadh. Moreover, President Michel Aoun summoned the Saudi charge d’affaires and called for explanation and return of Saad Hariri. Walid Jumblatt in his talk to the media, too, asked for Hariri to return home. In fact, the Saudi plan to create division and dispute in Lebanon backfired. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s fully mature stance created intra-Lebanese cohesion on the issue. Now all sides coherently call for Hariri to return to Lebanon for the stability and calm to be saved. On the other side, the Saudi demand for allowing brother of Saad Hariri to replace him has come heavy on the Lebanese groups who strongly reacted to it."
Asked with Alwaght correspondent if we should expect further plots by Saudi Arabia to destabilize Lebanon, Dastmalchian explained "Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made it clear that both Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia hold a sway in Lebanon, but while Iran refrains from interference in the Beirut's affairs, Saudi Arabia seeks meddling. All of the recent cases are indicative of the Riyadh intervention in the Lebanese affairs. But Riyadh cannot prolong the game and has to eventually bow to the Lebanese people's demands with regard to existence of anti-Saudi climate and consensus on Hariri house arrest. Clearly, Saudi Arabia with its naïve crown prince first acts and then assesses the outcomes. The recent fiascos well unveil this truth. In Lebanon, too, Saudi Arabia has reached an impasse and is unlikely to protract the case."
Former Iranian envoy to Lebanon also explained about the process of electing new prime minister if Hariri insists on resignation and avoids returning to Lebanon.
" The cabinet will be addressed by the parliament. Lebanon’s political groups on the one hand and international sides like Paris and Washington on the other hand are addressing the empty post and fate of Hariri. But if negotiations fail, President Aoun will nominate to the parliament a new person and negotiations will be conducted to make a final decision as the constitution orders, though such speculation is too early, and Saudi Arabia cannot for a long time press for its illegal demands, and Hariri has to return home at the end of the road."
Dastmalchian concluded his comments on Hariri crisis, saying "A drive for recent Saudi intervention in Lebanon is the predictions about the Lebanon's upcoming parliamentary election and fear of possible defeat of Future Movement in the vote. But it can be expected that the Saudi move to challenge Hezbollah’s position for the future election will fail as the group enjoys wide popular support. On the Saudi plot to inflame crisis on Lebanon’s social and political stages, we can say that on the strength of the united rejection of the Saudi intervention by Lebanon’s people, political factions, and prominent figures, we will observe expanded national cohesion in Lebanon prospectively."