After nearly two weeks of mass protests in Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad Hariri submitted his resignation to President Michel Aoun on Tuesday evening, suggesting that he is out of point to fix the country’s problems.
“I have reached a dead end, and we need a big shock to counter this crisis,” Hariri said. “My call to all the Lebanese is to prioritize the interest of Lebanon, the safety of Lebanon, the protection of civil peace, and the prevention of economic collapse before everything else.”
Lebanon has been rocked by 13 days of massive demonstrations against the political class, spurred by outrage over corruption and a deep economic crisis. The protests, which started Oct. 17 with anger over a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls, have stopped traffic on highways in Beirut and around this country of 6 million as thousands of demonstrators set up tents and occupied streets and squares. Banks and schools have been closed for more than 10 days.
The political mechanism in Lebanon has envisioned legal solutions for the current situation, and Hariri’s resignation cannot be seen as a political deadlock for the country. However, the behavior of political actors in Lebanon will undergo changes.
With his resignation, Hariri has practically shifted the responsibility of economic problems onto Michel Auon and his supporters, including Hezbollah. These economic problems are in fact rooted in sectarian system and the corruption of traditional politicians coupled with their affiliation to some Western and regional Arab countries.
Hariri’s reluctance to meet people’s demands may keep him and his supporters away from popular protests for a short period of time, but will definitely undermine his position in the political future of Lebanon.
Saudi Arabia, which had been a long-time supporter of the Hariri family, has abandoned Hariri for various reasons, one of which is his lack of personality stability. The traditional supporter prefers to follow its goals by Samir Geagea, former leader of the Phalange Party and current leader of the Lebanese Forces party.
The role of Hezbollah, which has always served as an anchor of stability, is expected to increase significantly, as Lebanon requires more self-sacrifice and political integrity than ever before. In this regard, Hezbollah has proved that it is able to act professionally to meet the country’s needs.
The experience gained from developments over the last two decades shows that Hezbollah’s considerable credibility and its clever leader, whose political expertise is obvious to all Lebanese, can weather the storms. Hezbollah can also be a determining factor in preventing the impact of trans-national plans on future developments in Lebanon.