Lebanon PM’s decision to suspend resignation paves way for negotiations

World Today

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during a regional banking conference, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. Hariri told the conference that the country’s stability is his primary concern. The remarks, a day after Hariri suspended his resignation, sought to assure the Hariri’s government would keep up the effort to have Lebanon remain a top Mideast destination for finance. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

In Lebanon, Prime Minister Hariri has bought some time for negotiations – by suspending his resignation. Now, analysts say he must secure commitments from governing parties that will appease Saudi Arabia.

As CGTN’s Stephanie Freid reports from Beirut, he’ll need help from outside Lebanon.

When Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri backtracked on his intended resignation, he paved the way for negotiation between party members within his government, and Saudi Arabia.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah party wields tremendous strength in Lebanon and the Saudi Kingdom wants to weaken that stronghold not only inside the country but also in the region. Hariri’s intended resignation – believed to be Saudi orchestrated – would have fostered that.

Instead, a behind-the-scenes inner-governmental deal is in the works that includes Saudi provisions for Hezbollah’s withdrawal from Iraq, Yemen and Syria, and Hezbollah weapons removal from Lebanon.

Hariri’s backtrack is keeping Lebanon from political and economic meltdown but external intervention in national governance is a perpetual sticking point.

Ultimately, it is unlikely Hezbollah or patron state Iran, will agree to all or even most of the terms.

It’s now up to Prime Minister Hariri to secure commitments, but it will take more than the prime minister’s negotiating powers to secure those gains. Local analysts say the U.S., Russia, Turkey and even Israel may be part of the next round of negotiations.