Lebanon’s Prime Minister puts his resignation on hold

World Today

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has delivered another surprise announcement, saying he will not step down at the moment. It’s more than two weeks after announcing his resignation from Saudi Arabia.

CGTN’s Stephanie Freid reports from Beirut on the latest twists and turns of the battle for regional power.

This year, Lebanon’s citizens weren’t only marking the day in 1943 they gained independence from France. They were also celebrating their prime minister’s surprise announcement.

Hariri was meant to submit his resignation Wednesday. Instead he announced a two-week delay. 

“I presented my resignation to the President today and he urged me to wait for more dialogue concerning the reasons and political background behind the resignation,” Hariri said on Wednesday.

Weeks ago during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Hariri announced his resignation citing Iranian power in the region and fear of assassination.

Critics described the surprise announcement as Saudi-coerced and rampant speculation pointed toward a looming Saudi versus Iran proxy war in Lebanon between Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Israel’s military.

Twists, turns, drama and surprise announcements do not phase the Lebanese. The Lebanese may be used to it but the momentum of political powers vying for regional influence may not withstand being put on hold.

Now it comes down to getting commitments from Hezbollah and Iran. Two weeks is not a lot of time. But even if the commitments are forthcoming, it’s a question whether they appease Saudi Arabia.