What does Saudi Arabia want from Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri?
From the outside, it is necessary to record an "insult" that has befallen Lebanon, although it has become used to such cases. For the prime minister to be summoned to go to Saudi Arabia [or any other country], cancel his appointments and travel without delay, is an insult to and a violation of all the diplomatic norms governing relations between any two "independent" states. The actual ruler of any country - such as Mohammed bin Salman in the case of Saudi Arabia - has a prearranged schedule with no surprises, except in cases of emergency and extreme necessity.
But Riyadh always wants to show its power over countries that it believes should be attached to it. Lebanon is one of the best examples of this.
In substance, insanity seems to dominate Saudi Arabia's policy towards Lebanon. The Saudi minister of state for Arab Gulf affairs, Thamer Al-Sabhan, is not solely a buccaneer, who was promoted following his expulsion from Baghdad - a move prompted by more than his meddling in Iraq's sovereign affairs. He also expresses the policy of the rulers of Riyadh. He deliberately used gradient in his letters, in the lead-up to the issuance of an order of operations to the Prime Minister: Hezbollah must be removed from the government.
What are Hariri's options? The director of his office, Nader Hariri, yesterday appeared on Future TV to confirm adherence to the settlement that led to the arrival of President Michel Aoun to the Baabda Palace and Prime Minister Hariri to the Saray. Nader Hariri is not expressing a personal position here, as much as he is speaking on behalf of the prime minister. The latter's options are narrow: to resign? This means that he will leave power, with no guarantee of return soon. Should he stay? Such a move reflects a man shooting himself in the foot, in a country that is used to living in a presidential vacuum for over two years and enduring a government vacuum for months. Meanwhile he is promising to deliver two achievements to the Lebanese before the parliamentary elections, so that he can compensate for the popular support he lost during the years of his voluntary exile. The two options mentioned above lead to him losing the support of the president, who facilitates for him getting what he wants, and the support of parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who stands beside him while being "unjust and oppressed". Both options bring back the division to what it was years ago. In the next elections, which will be held according to the Relativity Law, no one can guarantee that the March 14 team will re-register the same results as in 2009. What could Hariri gain from one of the two adventures? Nothing, say those close to him, only Saudi satisfaction, which has previously produced nothing but disappointment.
What does Saudi Arabia want? Nothing but insanity, say observers of its policy in the region, who are not hostile towards it. Let us review its performance in the region: What has it gained from the war in Yemen apart from its destruction, siege, the starvation of its people, and the creation of a favorable environment for enmity that cannot be easily erased? What did it gain in Iraq? The question is not only about today's Iraq, but about Saddam Hussein's Iraq as he invaded Iran with the support of Riyadh, then withdrew from Kuwait, then besieged by the Americans with the support of Riyadh, then as an invader supported by Riyadh, then divided on itself, then occupied by Daesh, then subjected to division? All this was sponsored or extended by Saudi Arabia, for all the evil that is happening in Mesopotamia. What did Riyadh gain from that? Nothing but the destruction of Yemen and Iraq, and among them Syria, from which the Al-Saud came out with less than they had before 2011. Those who embark on destructive paths like these will not be discouraged from engaging in a mad policy in Lebanon where jeopardizing stability and inflicting losses on their allies are the only things gained.
Hariri's options are narrow. But Saudi Arabia is accustomed to insanity.
Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by website team