TEL AVIV – The shocking resignation announcement of “fig-leaf” Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has unmasked the country as an Iranian proxy state run by Hezbollah – the Middle East’s most powerful terror group – an Israeli analyst observed on Saturday.
Writing in the Times of Israel, Middle East expert Avi Issacharoff said that Hariri’s announcement should come as no surprise and neither should the former Lebanese prime minister’s condemnation of Iran. After all Iran, Issacharoff notes, together with Bashar Assad’s Syria and Hezbollah, was responsible for the assassination of Saad Hariri’s father Rafik.
“Lebanon became an Iranian protectorate a number of years ago, a client state for all intents and purposes controlled by Iran through Hezbollah, the most powerful terror group in the entire Middle East,” Issacharoff noted.
He went on to state that the reason behind Hariri’s announcement, made from Saudi Arabia, is not yet known. According to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya news station, a plot to assassinate Hariri was thwarted just days ago. Iran denied the report and further accused the U.S. and Saudi Arabia of orchestrating the resignation to create upheaval in the region.
However, Issacharoff said, “in the current Lebanese political reality, the last thing that should come as a surprise is the notion that Hezbollah was planning another political assassination.”
Over the last 11 months, Hariri became a fig-leaf for Hezbollah. As one of the main leaders of the opposition, his appointment as prime minister ostensibly proved Lebanon was maintaining its independence vis-a-vis Iran.
Now, however, the charade is over, and Lebanon remains as it was without the disguise — pro-Iranian, pro-Syrian, and with Hezbollah firmly in control. The Lebanese president is considered to be an Iranian and Hezbollah appointment, the Lebanese army is cooperating and coordinating with Hezbollah, and the Shiite terror group does whatever it likes in Lebanon.
It is likely that the Saudis had an influential role in Hariri’s decision to resign. To put it mildly, the Saudis were not enamored with Hariri’s choice to accept the post of prime minister less than a year ago.
In Issacharoff’s estimation, Hezbollah is likely to to further strengthen its ties with the Islamic Republic. Whereas in the past the terror group tried to play down its relationship to Iran, these days it “does not try to hide the fact that it receives its financial support and its marching orders from Tehran,” he said.
According to Issacharoff, the only “inconvenience” that Hezbollah will have to contend with following the dramatic change that Hariri’s resignation will have made to the region’s geopolitical climate is more Western support for Israel’s view of the issue.
With Lebanon/Hezbollah stripped of its Hariri fig leaf, Israel is likely to enjoy a greater degree of international legitimacy to wage an uncompromising campaign in a future conflict against what is, again, now rightly recognized as the Middle East’s strongest terror group. Today’s thoroughly unmasked Hezbollah, after all, is a state-backed (Iran), state-dominating (Lebanon), terrorist army that makes the Islamic State look like a bunch of Boy Scouts.