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Lebanon Prime Minister Resigns and Saudi Crown Prince Tightens His Grip on Power in Saudi Arabia

Nov. 5, 2017 (EIRNS)—After making two trips to Saudi Arabia this past week (Oct. 30 and Nov. 3), Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation yesterday from the Saudi capital, Riyadh. He had flown back to Saudi Arabia yesterday after meeting the day before with Iran’s Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hariri targetted the role of the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, in his resignation statement. He said Lebanon was "protected by one army and their weapons. We reject any weapons outside the legitimate authority of the Lebanese state." His father Rafic Hariri, was Prime Minister of Lebanon twice, and was assassinated in 2005, after he left office. Rafic Hariri had been threatened by the George W. Bush regime for trying to smooth over the differences between the government and Hezbollah.

A difficult period is now anticipated in Lebanon, which had been without a government for an extended period before the internal political conflict was resolved with the agreement for Saad Hariri to become Prime Minister.

On the same day as Hariri’s resignation, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrested 17 top officials and other high-level Saudis, along with an unknown number of others of lower rank. The purge tightened his grip on power. Eleven of his royal cousins were caught in the roundup. Included in those rounded up are the minister of the National Guard, and the commander of the Saudi Navy. Also included is Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who is both the largest shareholder in Citigroup, and a loud critic of President Trump.

All members of the Royal family have been forbidden to leave Saudi Arabia.

Chas Freeman, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and an expert on the region, said that the move signifies the end of the old system in Saudi Arabia. Some very wealthy individuals have been included in the sweep.

This seems to be confirmed by King Salman: "We have noticed exploitation by some weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to illicitly accrue money. The committee has the right to take any precautionary measures it sees fit, until they are referred to the investigating authorities or judicial bodies."