Tehran Times By Mohammad Ghaderi 21,Nov 2017
The gossip hovering over King Salman’s health, his probable Alzheimer’s disease and dismissing the Crown Prince to the Saudi regime throne Muhammad bin Nayef Al Saud and replacing him with untested and young Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman made headlines not long ago.
The Saudi regime’s blood thirst and aggression in Yemen, the poorest Arab state in the world and the United Nations fiasco in putting the child killing regime on the list for killing and maiming children in Yemen and then taking it out of the list, drew many analysts attention to the point that besides waging war on defenseless Yemeni nation the Saudi regime robbed UN’s credit by threatening to cut its financial support to the world body, thus making it to reverse its action.
Moreover, is the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Daesh) terrorist outfit that is following suit of the Saudi regime-sanctioned preachers who practice Wahhabism. Wahhabism was founded by Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.
The alliance between followers of al-Wahhab and the House of Saud proved to be a durable one. The House of Saud regime continues to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect. Today Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab’s teachings are the official, state-sponsored form of Islam in Saudi Arabia. With the help of Saudi Petro dollars, Wahhabism underwent “explosive growth” and now has worldwide influence. The United States State Department has estimated that over the past four decades Riyadh has invested more than $10bn into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Islam with the harsher, intolerant Wahhabism.
The majority of mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims worldwide strongly disagree with the interpretation of Wahhabism, and many Muslims denounce it. Al-Azhar University, regularly denounces Wahhabism with terms such as “Satanic faith”.
Wahhabism has also been accused of being “a source of global terrorism”, inspiring the ideology of the ISIL and many other terrorist groups, and for causing disunity in Muslim communities.
Elsewhere, the Saudi officials-led ups and downs and instability in the price of crude oil which is the main revenue for the Saudi king and many princes. Many experts say oil has become means of vendetta for the regime.
The House of Saud regime’s human rights record and violations is another thorny issue.
At last but not least is the recent crackdown on many high ranking Saudi officials and figures and the mysterious issue of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
No respect for Hariri
From the moment Hariri’s plane touched down in Saudi Arabia on Friday, November 3, Saad was in for a surprise.
“When Hariri’s plane landed in Riyadh, he got the message immediately that something was wrong,” a Hariri source said. “There was no one waiting for him.”
There was no line-up of Saudi regime princes or ministry officials, as would typically greet a prime minister on an official visit to King Salman, senior sources close to Hariri and top Lebanese political and security officials said. His phone was confiscated, and the next day he was forced to resign as prime minister in a statement broadcast by a Saudi regime-owned TV channel in Saudi Arabia.
The move thrust Lebanon back to the forefront of a struggle that is reshaping the Middle East. The Saudi regime has long tried to weaken the Hezbollah resistance movement, Lebanon’s main political power and part of the ruling coalition.
Sources close to Hariri say the House of Saud regime has concluded that the prime minister – a long-time Saudi regime ally and son of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005 – had to go because he was unwilling to confront Hezbollah.
Multiple Lebanese sources say Riyadh hopes to replace Saad Hariri with his older brother Bahaa as Lebanon’s top politician. Bahaa is believed to be in Saudi Arabia, and members of the Hariri family have been asked to travel there to pledge allegiance to him, but have refused, the sources say.
The Saudi regime has dismissed suggestions that it forced Hariri to resign and says he is a free man. However Saudi regime officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the circumstances of his arrival, whether his phone had been taken, or whether the kingdom was planning to replace him with his brother.
Saad has given no public remarks since he resigned and no indication of when he might return to Lebanon.
Hariri was summoned to the kingdom to meet King Salman in a phone call on Thursday night, November 2.
According to media, before departing, he told his officials they would resume their discussions on Monday. He told his media team he would see them at the weekend in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he was due to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum.
Hariri went to his Riyadh home. His family made their fortune in Saudi Arabia and had long had properties there. The source close to Hariri said the Lebanese leader received a call from a Saudi regime protocol official on Saturday morning, who asked him to attend a meeting with Crown Prince MBS.
He waited for about four hours before being presented with his resignation speech to read on television, the source said.
“From the moment he arrived they (Saudis) showed no respect for the man,” another senior Lebanese political source said.
Hariri frequently visits Saudi Arabia. On a trip a few days earlier, Prince Mohammed bin Salman had arranged for him to see senior intelligence officials and the Persian Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan, the Saudi regime point man on Lebanon.
Hariri came back from that trip to Beirut “pleased and relaxed”, sources in his entourage said. He posted a selfie with Sabhan, both of them smiling. He told aides he had heard “encouraging statements” from the crown prince, including a promise to revive a Saudi regime aid package for the Lebanese army.
The Hariri sources say Hariri believed he had convinced Saudi regime officials of the need to maintain an entente with Hezbollah for the sake of Lebanon’s stability.
“What happened in those meetings, I believe, is that (Hariri) revealed his position on how to deal with Hezbollah in Lebanon: that confrontation would destabilize the country. I think they didn’t like what they heard,” said one of the sources, who was briefed on the meetings.
The source said Hariri told Sabhan not to “hold us responsible for something that is beyond my control or that of Lebanon”. But Hariri underestimated the Saudi regime position on Hezbollah, the source said.
“For the Saudis it is an existential battle. It’s black and white. We in Lebanon are used to gray,” the source said.
Sabhan could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hariri’s resignation speech shocked his team.
Hariri has to return home
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, told ambassadors to Lebanon that Saudi Arabia had kidnapped Hariri, a senior Lebanese official said. On Friday, France said it wanted Hariri to have “all his freedom of movement”.
In his speech, Hariri said he feared assassination and accused the regional power house Iran and Hezbollah of sowing strife in the region. He said the Arab world would “cut off the hands that wickedly extend to it,” language which one source close to him said was not typical of the Lebanese leader.
Hariri’s resignation came as more than 200 people, including 11 Saudi princes, current and former ministers and tycoons, were arrested in an anti-corruption purge in Saudi Arabia.
Initially there was speculation Hariri was a target of that campaign because of his family’s business interests. But sources close to the Lebanese leader said his forced resignation was motivated by the Saudi regime efforts to counter the strong Iran.
Hariri was taken to meet the Saudi regime king after his resignation. Footage was aired on Saudi TV. He was then flown to Abu Dhabi to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the Saudi crown prince’s main regional ally. He returned to Riyadh and has since received Western ambassadors.
Sources close to Hariri said the Saudis, while keeping Hariri under house arrest, were trying to orchestrate a change of leadership in Hariri’s Future Movement (Tayyar Al-Mustaqbal) by installing his elder brother Bahaa, who was overlooked for the top job when their father was killed. The two have been at odds for years.
In a statement, the Future Movement said it stood fully behind Hariri as its leader. Hariri aide and Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk dismissed the idea Bahaa was being positioned to replace his brother: “We are not herds of sheep or a plot of land whose ownership can be moved from one person to another. In Lebanon things happen though elections not pledges of allegiances.”
Family members, aides and politicians who have contacted Hariri in Riyadh say he is apprehensive and reluctant to say anything beyond “I am fine”. Asked if he is coming back, they say his normal answer is: “Inshallah” (God willing).
Michel Aoun presses Saudis on Hariri’s status
Meantime, Lebanon’s president has called on the Saudi regime to clarify exactly why Hariri, the country’s prime minister, has yet to return to Beirut.
Michel Aoun wants to know what is preventing Hariri from leaving Riyadh, where he announced his surprise resignation on November 4, which is not being accepted unless he delivers it on Lebanese soil.
In Lebanon, all political parties and factions have asked for the return of the prime minister. His party, the Future Movement, says it has not heard from him since his televised resignation speech.
In a televised speech on Friday, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, accused the House of Saud regime of forcing Hariri to quit and holding him against his will.
There have been international calls for stability in Lebanon, with the U.S. warning regional powers against using the country for proxy conflicts.
The UN too is calling for stability in Lebanon.
Both, France and the U.S. have expressed their support for Lebanon’s sovereignty and stability.
Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported on Saturday that French President Emmanuel Macron called his Lebanese counterpart to express France’s commitment to Lebanon’s “unity, sovereignty and independence”.
Earlier, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement: “The United States calls upon all states and parties to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence, and constitutional processes.”
The White House statement echoed an appeal issued on Friday by Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, who is travelling in Asia with President Donald Trump.
Reading between the lines however, leads to the Israeli regime spy house Mossad. Maybe Tel Aviv has realized that it is losing ground, therefor it has pressured Trump to go ahead with anti-Iran and anti-Hezbollah stance on the financial front and the Saudi King to destabilize the region, particularly Lebanon on political front.
The Israeli regime is afraid of the fact that Hezbollah’s power has always been defensive, but it might become aggressive. Israeli officials have decided to weaken Hezbollah but not everything seemed to work out as they planned.
Saad Hariri’s much anticipated arrest by the Saudi regime for not confronting Hezbollah, which has denied the man of free speech and move in addition to the U.S. Department of State spokesperson Heather Ann Nauert’s gaffe has created a quagmire for Tel Aviv.
Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah’s wise stance regarding his fellow compatriot and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has also dealt a blow to the doomed theory to weaken Hezbollah.