Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pressurised Lebanese PM to resign

Lebanon: It is alleged that Saad Hariri, the Lebanese Prime Minister has resigned from his post due to pressure from Saudi Arabian government, particularly from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The New York Times reported that officials close to Hariri said that he was under heavy duress from the Saudi Arabian government, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, when he made that announcement.

Hariri announced his resignation on November 4 suddenly while visiting Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

It is also alleged that Mohammed bin Salman pre-wrote Hariri’s resignation speech, which blamed Iran for the departure.
The report also said that, by doing so, the Saudi Officials hoped to blame Iran and diminish its influence in the region including the power of Iranian-backed militia Hezbollah. In addition, it was also expected that the action would spark a regional crisis.

The Saudi government also allegedly held the Lebanese official captive to be sure he would go through with the resignation.

Hariri’s father was also the Prime Minister of Lebanon until 2005 when he was killed. Hariri also has dual Saudi Citizenship and has lot of money in business holdings in the country.

According to the Times report, Hariri was summoned for an early morning meeting with the prince, at which time Saudi Officials ‘manhandled,’ him, confiscated his cell phone and took away all but one bodyguard. On that afternoon Hariri delivered his pre-written resignation speech on Saudi television.

Immediately after the announcement, France, the United States and Egypt all quickly stepped in, and Hariri was sent back to Lebanon.