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    A picture of Christian politician and FPM founder Michel Aoun is seen on a building prior to presidential elections in Beirut, Lebanon October 30, 2016

    'Entering a Dangerous Period': Is Lebanon on Brink of a Civil War?

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    Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation during his visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Lebanese political analysts spoke to Sputnik Arabic in an interview highlighting the “strangeness” of this resignation, voicing their concern over the security situation in the country amid rising tensions in the region.

    According to Lebanese political analyst Sarkis Abu Zeid, Lebanon is a field of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    In an interview with Sputnik Arabic, Abu Zeid noted that on the eve of his resignation Hariri received a high-ranking delegation from Iran. After that, he immediately went on a visit to Saudi Arabia. 

    “It is likely that the message sent by the Iranian delegation did not suit the Saudi leadership. Between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Hezbollah, there is an obvious war in which Hariri has completely taken the side of Saudi Arabia. Even the announcement of his resignation came from Riyadh, which in itself is a message for everyone in Lebanon,” Abu Zeid said.

    The analyst further said that Lebanon is going through a critical and dangerous time, which is exacerbated by the difficult situation in the region and within the country.

    "On the one hand, there is the situation in Syria and Iraq, on the other hand, inside the Lebanese politics and economy,” Abu Zeid said.

    According to him, the president of the country must be firm and resolute at this stage and the army must be in a state of readiness because there are radical forces within the country that could take advantage of the prevailing circumstances, worsening the security.

    “This resignation of Hariri threatens the entire stability of Lebanon. The country is now entering a very dangerous period in which a civil war could break out, although no one here [in Lebanon] wants it,” the analyst said.

    Lebanese political analyst Nidal as Sabaa in an interview with Sputnik Arabic said that Hariri’s sudden resignation raises many questions.

    “This is a very ambiguous resignation. It was announced via Al-Arabiya channel, while Hariri himself was out of Lebanon. Therefore, questions arise as to how legitimate this resignation can actually be," Sabaa said.

    Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sits during an allegiance pledging ceremony in Mecca, Saudi Arabia June 21, 2017
    © REUTERS / Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court
    According to the analyst, for these reasons President Michel Aoun did not accept the resignation of the prime minister and is waiting for his return to Lebanon.

    "It is important to note that this resignation in time coincided with the resignation of dozens of high-ranking officials in Saudi Arabia. This multiplies the number of our questions, the answers to which we hope to receive from Hariri himself, “ Sabaa said.

    The strange retirement gave rise to numerous speculations, up to the assumption that the Lebanese prime minister is being held in the Saudi kingdom by force. 

    A website was created called "Freedom for Saad Hariri" and a corresponding hashtag was launched on Twitter. 

    On the main page of the site there is a time counter from the moment when Hariri’s resignation message first appeared in the media. Underneath it is written: "Free Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Saudi Arabia jails".

    ​Regarding this social media movement, activist Ahmed Hasan in a comment to Sputnik said that, “We are against such a form of resignation. If it went through a standard official way, then that’s another thing. But the announcement of resignation from another state is an action against the sovereignty of the country. "

    ​The theory about imprisonment of the Lebanese Prime Minister in Saudi Arabia was commented on by the former deputy speaker of the Lebanese parliament, Ili al-Farzali who said that he cannot say for sure whether the prime minister is in custody or not. 

    “This hypothesis is excluded if Hariri arrives in Lebanon and passes the formal resignation procedure. However, if that does not happen, then this assumption grows stronger,” al-Farzali told Sputnik.

    In a televised address on Saturday, Prime Minister Hariri announced an unexpected resignation saying the atmosphere in the country resembles that before the assassination of his father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in 2005.


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    resgination, regional conflict, civil war, interview, security, Saad Hariri, Michel Aoun, Lebanon
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