[…] My speech tonight will be devoted exclusively to this point (the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri). In order not to begin by analysis or not simply rely on (disputable) analyzes, I want to start with (well-established) facts and data. Facts known by all ministers of the current government, that they heard directly from him, the head of government, and especially the ministers who gathered at the Council of Ministers responsible for implementing the (new) election law.
What I will say now is (already) widespread in the media, but I want to stress it because our ministers have also heard directly and witnessed the whole process I am about to describe. And that is why we consider this as data, facts, and not an analysis made by far.
You know that a few days ago, a Saudi official spoke and made long and acrimonious statements against Lebanon and Hezbollah, and spoke about hunting Hezbollah from the government and denied the intention to bring down the government. He made threats, solemn promises, vituperation, ranting, and it was then said that the head of the (Lebanese) government was quickly summoned to Saudi Arabia. And it is absolutely reliable information because he has canceled all his appointments and went to Saudi Arabia. The whole country – the leaders, ministers, political forces – were awaiting the outcome of this visit. I mean the first visit, and not the second, during which he announced his resignation. And everyone was awaiting the result.
Of course, during that first visit, everyone expected that pressure be exerted on Prime Minister Saad Hariri for him to resign and thus bring down the government. But when the Prime Minister returned from Saudi Arabia, and the Minister’s Council met, as well as the various ministerial committees, along with all the guests who met him, this is something certain and known to all, he said to all, and he also announced it in different ways, that Saudi Arabia supported the stability and security in Lebanon, the maintaining of the current government and dialogue among the Lebanese, and more, that he had obtained promises of very substantial subsidies, that they were prepared to set a fourth Paris Conference, and that we would get further aid for the Lebanese army. He said all this (many times and to different people, publicly and privately). He was comfortable, enthusiastic, and his behavior showed it clearly, and he announced for Monday or Tuesday a meeting of the Ministerial Committee responsible for implementing the (new) election law.
Then again, the Prime Minister traveled to Saudi Arabia, and he announced his resignation from there. This is (indisputable) data.
Naturally, you have seen the announcement of his resignation, its form. First, the news was broadcast by the (official Saudi) channel Al-Arabiya, and not by Future Movement’s (Saad Hariri’s party) channel or by the Lebanese official channels. And secondly, the statement was recorded by Al-Arabiya channel, and other channels have only rebroadcasted it. The form of the statement, how this statement was read (laboriously and without any conviction from a printed paper), its content and scope, that you all saw, I will return to it shortly.
I wanted to begin with this introduction that summarizes the facts. These are the facts.
So far, no one knows exactly what happened. The government leader Saad Hariri visited Saudi Arabia, and during the 24 hours that followed, no one knows yet what exactly happened, and we must ponder over it.
Between (the announcement that) Saudi Arabia supports the maintenance of the government, stability and security in Lebanon, the preparation of the 4th Conference of Paris, assistance to the Lebanese army, etc., etc., etc., until the sudden resignation in this way, (what happened?).
All this data leads us to clear and absolutely certain conclusions, not assumptions.
The decision was a Saudi decision imposed to Prime Minister Saad Hariri that he was forced to accept, and resigning was neither his intention nor his desire nor his will nor his choice. Final point.
And I consider that all the Lebanese, be they politicians or journalists or (ordinary citizens) who followed the case agree with this conclusion.
So. Even the way (which was made this resignation confirms that) the statement was from Saudi Arabia. Why was the man not allowed to return to Lebanon and to announce his resignation from Lebanon? It also raises a question mark. Even the written text (confirms it): we Lebanese know our (local and national) customs and expressions, we know the formulas that Prime Minister Hariri was using, written or unwritten.
This text (resignation) is not a Lebanese text. This text was written by a Saudi, this style of expression is a Saudi style and the head of government has only read it. This is also clear (and undisputable). And everyone was surprised in Lebanon.
Now, if someone says he expected it, he (may have) expected it in politics but certainly not in this way, not at this time and not so quickly. Everybody was surprised: the President of the Republic, the President of the Council, who are most concerned by this, the (various) political forces, and even the leaders, MPs and ministers of the Future movement (led by Hariri).
There is no doubt that this resignation has created an atmosphere of anxiety in Lebanon and especially the analysis, slogans and threats that accompanied it. It calls on all Lebanese political groups to announce their interpretation, position and views on how to take action towards this important political event. That’s why we Hezbollah tonight, declare the following:
First, we in no way wanted the resignation. In all sincerity. We saw that things were moving in a reasonable manner. I’m not saying that all was well for everyone, but in general, things progressed reasonably, everyone met in the government, in ministerial committees and on the sidelines of the ministerial committees… The various issues were discussed, perhaps with some difficulties emerging in the discussions and for which outcomes were sought in order to go on, and that is why very important achievements have occurred since the formation of the government and so far as part of the current agreement (which allowed its constitution). And we consider that the government had the ability to maintain and achieve new accomplishments until the next legislative elections. The government was even able to organize the next elections. The atmosphere in the country was reasonable. That’s the first point.
Second, we ponder over the way the resignation was announced, and what it (clearly) shows. What (I’m about to say) has already been said in Lebanon, sometimes in an acerbic manner, sometimes not, but I’ll just say it in two sentences: we ponder over the form in which the resignation was announced – the form, place, manner – and what it actually contains of evidence relating to the sovereignty and honor of Lebanon, as well as the honor of the head of government himself. Because even if he was forced to resign, it would have been more suitable and preferable that this man be allowed to return to Lebanon, to present himself to His Excellency the President of the Republic and to hand him his resignation, announcing it from the Baabda Palace, and then may the best happen by the grace of God. And this is not the first time a head of government resigns.
Anyway, this resignation in this form reveals how the Saudi interference in Lebanese internal affairs and processes is, while Saudi Arabia calls and attacks others (Iran) on the pretext that these countries interfere themselves in Lebanese, Arab or other internal affairs. This is a clear proof. This is striking evidence of the extent, magnitude and shape of the Saudi interference. Even in this unseemly and insulting form.
Thirdly, about the contents of the statement read by the Prime Minister (Hariri), we will not comment on them, and will not discuss its political content, despite the fact that this is a very violent statement with very serious and very dangerous accusations, but I will not get into a debate, and Hezbollah as a whole will not enter into any argument about the political content of the resignation announcement. Because we believe that this text is a Saudi text, a Saudi statement. And therefore, if we get into a debate on its political content, it would lead us to speak directly to Saudi Arabia. The adverse party would not be Saad Hariri or the Future Movement (to which he belongs). Because we believe, as I said, that this statement is not his. And what is written in that statement is (fundamentally) different from all that has been said by Saad Hariri since he became Prime Minister: the vocabulary he used, the expressions used, the way of thinking and acting, the political path taken since are totally inconsistent with the text and content.
Fourth, we must all be patient and weigh our reactions: nobody should rush into analysis, (global) understanding, positions to take, nor the measures and plans of action, with the exception of those that maintain peace and security in the country, because what is required first is to understand the reason (of this resignation).
So far, up to now, we are in contact with everyone, and we listen and gather information, we consult, and so far from what I know, in Lebanon no one has understood the real reason for the resignation. Everyone in Lebanon is surprised by the resignation and did not understand its real reason. Understanding the real reason is the key to the proper reaction to this development and to the steps that will follow.
That is to say: For example, was the forced resignation of the head of government caused by reasons internal to Lebanon? In all certainty, no. And I consider that the Lebanese are unanimous on this point. The man did not want to resign, it went well, he spoke and exchanged with everyone, met everyone… He was active and had a positive role in both government meetings and ministerial committees. So there was no inside reason (in Lebanon) calling for the resignation.
Some people in Lebanon, to settle small and petty accounts, will tell you that the head of government was upset by this or that party, this or that minister, this particular official… This does not constitute a reason to resign. These are just a settling of (intra-Lebanese) scores. There is no internal reason to resign. We must find the reason in Saudi Arabia.
Well, then consider Saudi Arabia, and what might be the reason (of the resignation) from there. Is it an internal struggle in Saudi Arabia between princes, a struggle for the throne between the crown prince and (other) children in the (Saud) family? Is it a struggle between (different) political lines? Is it a financial struggle? Is it to get its hands on the wealth of so and so amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars or so-and-so amounting to tens of billions of dollars from the son of the ruling family, as is happening now? Is (the resignation) related to the internal struggle between the princes, and therefore, Prime Minister Saad Hariri was let go in the melee? Is it why he had to report to such and such a prince, to a particular line? There are legitimate questions.
Or maybe the reason has nothing to do with the internal struggles (in Saudi Arabia) but is due to the fact that Saudi Arabia is not satisfied by the behavior and policy of Saad Hariri and wants to replace him with a Prime Minister who considers himself a hawk (more aggressive) that will be committed to the Saudi policy more closely and will take the country where (the Kingdom) wants to lead it? It is also a (legitimate) question. This may be the reason (of the resignation).
Or maybe the reason is that Saudi Arabia has a plan to attack Lebanon, because it spoke of Hezbollah, Iran, (increasing) Iranian influence and the Iran-Saudi struggle. And it would therefore be a first step announcing a great battle (to come).
To answer these questions, we must wait to see what it is all about and know the real reason that brought Saudi Arabia to impose on the head of the government to resign, why it took place in this way. And in addition to this (humiliating) form of resignation – for indeed, today, when certain information, analysis or rumors in Lebanon speak of the person of Saad Hariri, worrying about his fate – where is he now, is there under house arrest, is he imprisoned –, these are legitimate questions. Can he return to Lebanon, is he allowed to do so? These are perfectly legitimate questions, and this is not a Lebanese exaggeration.
Because when you hear the news that Prince Mut’eb b. Abdullah b. Abdelaziz, son of the previous king, and Turki b. Abdullah, also the son of the King Abdullah I think, and Walid b. Talal b. Abdulaziz, the Minister of previous guards, constituting a considerable army in Saudi Arabia, the great princes of the royal family, the most prominent son and grand-son of the Kings who had the highest responsibilities within the Kingdom, and have huge networks and fortunes, when such persons are thrown in jail, it is our right to worry and say “O my brother, let us see our Prime Minister who resigned, where is he, what is his fate?” This concern seems perfectly legitimate to me.
And that is why we must find the real reason, because this is clearly a Saudi initiative, a Saudi measure, but in what framework was this measure taken? Is it about replacing the Prime Minister? Is it to bring down the government and prevent a government being formed in Lebanon? Is it hitting the stability and security of Lebanon? Is it to launch a war such as Saudi Arabia triggered in Yemen and elsewhere, and supported in Syria and Iraq? In what context (does this resignation fit)? Is it in the framework of personal struggles, and therefore unrelated to Lebanon, the Lebanese government or government policies and practices of Prime Minister Hariri, and only due to internal problems in Saudi Arabia?
All this, if the Lebanese manage to understand it in the coming days, I think it will help us to determine how to respond to the next step.
Based on everything I just mentioned, we in Hezbollah call for the following:
First, to stay calm, to patience and moderation, until the picture becomes clearer, until the situation becomes clearer and the real reasons are revealed. And therefore, we must not rush to (false) rumors, analysis, intimidation and slogans, and I will comment on a few shortly, only two. That’s the first point.
Second, we in Hezbollah confirm our primary commitment to the security, stability and civil peace in Lebanon. I call on all Lebanese not to worry, not to be afraid. There is nothing that justifies anxiety. At least on our part. If anyone thinks that what Saudi Arabia is going to do or say, or what she did or said, will take us to a virulent reaction, or bitter, violent actions, he is dead wrong. We will behave with full national responsibility and with the utmost calm, and we call on everyone to stay calm, and to act for the preservation of what is the dearest to us today in Lebanon, namely security, stability and civil peace in the country, in a region (the Middle East) to fire and sword, as you see, and that lives many political and security crises.
I therefore add my voice to all the voices, and I say to the Lebanese and to all who are in Lebanon: stay calm and moderate, see how to respond to this question in a reasonable and prudent manner, balanced and responsible. We are a country, we have a State (apparatus) and institutions, a constitution and constitutional bodies, officers and judges in the country, and for sure we can overcome this ordeal. […]
Is it anyone’s interest [in Lebanon] to return the country to the situation it was in the past [lack of government]? In all certainty, there is no interest there [for Lebanon]. And any party, any person, any political leader or arrogant stubborn wishing to upset the situation in Lebanon and wants to return Lebanon to the previous situation (of institutional paralysis) should be accused (of treason by all Lebanese) because certainly he would not act in the interest of Lebanon but for foreign interests, in the interest of his masters who want to destroy this peaceful, stable and secure, confident and reasonably confident country.
Sixth and finally – after the 4th and 5th points – the slogans that have been launched in the last two days are very strong. I said that I wanted to comment on two, but in fact I will comment on three. The first slogan is – and this, unfortunately, His Excellency Prime Minister Saad Hariri has a responsibility on this – that (in his statement), perhaps in order to justify the fact that he was not allowed to return in Lebanon, Hariri said he had begun to feel personally targeted in terms of security, etc.
Then, the Al-Arabiya channel is the only one that broadcast news saying that the security services in Lebanon had uncovered an assassination attempt against Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Only Al-Arabiya channel. Then, the internal security forces in Lebanon have denied this, saying they had no knowledge of these (alleged) information. The Lebanese army and the General Security also issued statements or informed that such information did not exist, nor about Hariri, nor about any (other) political assassination (project). Nobody has given any indication or suggested such a thing.
Perhaps they did that so that when asked why you forbade the resigning Prime Minister to return to Lebanon, they may argue that there is information that he was threatened with assassination, a pretext to keep him away from Lebanon. It is a likely hypothesis.
Similarly, other people in Lebanon have joined them in this trend and began to speak categorically about political killings that will happen in Lebanon and they also determined which political parties will be affected by these murders, naming personalities from the March 14 movement (party of Saad Hariri). If in Lebanon there is judicial and security bodies, I hope they will summon (the author of these words) – he’s a well known former minister – and say, “Well, you hold such words, what are your informations? Because your statements have (a very bad) influence on the atmosphere of the country, civil peace, security for all, prosperity, the economy…” They should summon him and ask him what is his information, what data he has. And if it is all idle talk, it is necessary to call him to account. For truly, when speaking of political killings in the country, he plays with people’s blood, the blood of the people.
That’s the first point. It’s not for me to confirm or deny, because it is the responsibility of the State, and the State has said through its military and security offices that there is absolutely no basis to these allegations (of planned murders).
The second point that was also discussed, and which caused some anxiety in the country, is that the resignation of Prime Minister is the first step of triggering an Israeli war against Lebanon. Similarly, it has created concern in Lebanon.
I want to say to the Lebanese, and I have talked at length about this on many occasions, that Israel is not working for Saudi Arabia. Israel is obviously working for the Americans, and obviously working for its own interests. An Israeli aggression against Lebanon, no one can deny its possibility categorically, but that it happens or not depends only on Israeli calculations, calculations (exclusively) Israeli. Israelis are unanimous on these calculations, they are unanimous since the 2006 war. Namely that Israel will launch a war against Lebanon if it is guaranteed that this war will be quick and brief, decisive, and with an (Israeli) victory clear and manifest, a low price and high gain. This makes unanimity in Israel.
And Israel fears to embark on a war that does not fulfill these criteria because its impact on the Zionist entity and the price it would cost him on the material and moral aspects would be very high, and the strategic consequences for the very existence of the Israeli entity would be very serious. And that’s why they scare and intimidate continually, but let us consider the Israeli language from 2006 until today: “If Hezbollah did this, if Hezbollah does this, we will do such a thing, we will launch a war, and the war will be such and such…” Israel always speaks in the conditional.
Today, I will neither deny nor confirm (the possibility of an imminent Israeli aggression), but I tell you that in these calculations and measuring elements there is absolutely nothing about the presence or absence of a government in Lebanon, the identity of the head of government in Lebanon, the political line to which it belongs. These political factors have absolutely no impact on Israeli calculations when making the decision to attack Lebanon. Therefore, nobody should exploit this event and make it fit in a question that goes far beyond the resignation of the head of government, or the maintenance of the government, or the fall of the government.
Today, more than ever, Israeli calculations regarding aggression against Lebanon also take much into account the regional and international developments who have become completely different from what they were during the July 2006 war. And on that as well, there is no need to expand. This is a concern for the Lebanese. If there are other areas of concern on this point, look in the Israeli calculations.
And the third slogan, which I left to the end because it needs attention in a way, is that information reports – I do not know if it’s true or not – say that the Saudi crown prince gathered or requested a meeting of the commanders of the armies of the Declared Alliance, which brings together thirty to sixty countries (God knows how many) and that it would coincide with the resignation of the head of government, and that Saudi Arabia was preparing a “Decisive Storm” (name of the Saudi aggression against Yemen) against Lebanon.
Of course, in order not to give too much importance to this, it is not clear that anyone (in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere) has formally said so. There are some analysis and some slogans and even some hope (to this effect) on the part of some people in Lebanon, who maintain such hopes, but these are rumors that are not corroborated by any (proved) data and absolutely baseless and senseless. Saudi Arabia wants to gather its allies and launch an offensive against Lebanon, a “Decisive Storm” against Lebanon?
I am one of the Lebanese who cannot very well understand this. Because yes, Saudi Arabia is launching an aggression against Yemen, but this is understandable, as it is a neighboring country and Saudi Arabia can therefore gather its armies and those of its allies to attack Yemen (as has been the case for over two years).
But how such a thing would be possible in Lebanon? From what territory would they attack Lebanon? From Syria, where their project failed? Unless they want to come from occupied Palestine, and attack us from there? Or maybe they want to come from the sea (Saudi Arabia has not fleet). In military logic, even the average person can understand that these words have no meaning, no chance. How could this happen?
Anyway, I do not consider that such an attack is possible, and more than that, if such and such Army Commanders could really be helpful to the (Saudi) data in any way, they should therefore help him (to extricate himself) from Yemen. In the war in Yemen, they are completely stuck, and they are completely overwhelmed by this battle because of the courage and endurance of the Yemeni people, its sacrifices and heroism, despite the pulverized bones, killings of children and the daily massacres in Yemen. Today there was a massacre, and every day there is a massacre. Let Saudi Arabia thus end up with its “Decisive Storm” in Yemen before speaking of a similar offensive against Lebanon.
Before even talking about what may be the plan of Saudi Arabia against Lebanon, what they think and what they want to do, I think everyone should first wait to see what will become of Saudi Arabia itself. Because the scale of arrests and the names that were mentioned as having been arrested with their fortunes seized are not small names. It is not known when is Saudi Arabia going. I do not want to talk or give an assessment because I have not (yet) accurate data or information on this subject. Before discussing the measures and Saudi Arabia plan against Lebanon, let us look first what happens in Saudi Arabia, and of course what happens in the region, and then we wll be able to speak with some confidence.
Meanwhile, and in the coming days we are going through, I call on all Lebanese and all residents in Lebanon (Palestinian refugees and Syrians expatriates …) to peace and quietness, to protect the current stability, to dialogue, to avoid any political escalation, not to worry. It is obvious that no one (in Lebanon) has any interest in going in that direction. We should wait for the national measures liable to be taken (at state level) by His Excellency the President of the Republic Michel Aoun in consultation with the President of the Chamber of Deputies, political parties (represented in the government) and all political forces in Lebanon. And God willing, all together and with mutual support and sense of responsibility, we will manage to overcome this crisis and this step.
May God grant you success and health. May God’s peace be upon you and His mercy.