Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri returns home for the first time since announcing resignation

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri returns home for the first time since announcing resignation

Saad Hariri is expected to return to Beirut today for the country’s Independence Day celebrations. Hariri abruptly resigned as prime minister on

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Photo: AFP

Saad Hariri is expected to return to Beirut today for the country’s Independence Day celebrations.

Hariri abruptly resigned as prime minister on November 4 while on a trip to Saudi Arabia. Today he’ll clarify his position; it’s unknown whether he will confirm or rescind his resignation. Crucial to that decision will be a meeting with President Michel Aoun, who is expected to request that Hariri remain premier and form a new government.

That meeting will have important implications for regional dynamics—Hariri is closely linked to Saudi Arabia, while Aoun is sympathetic to Iran and Hezbollah. Hariri will likely try to appease his Saudi allies by demanding that Hezbollah stay out of regional conflicts, specifically Syria and Yemen. For their part, Aoun and Hezbollah may agree to scale back the group’s regional operations, although any attempt to remove the group from government—which is the wish of Saudi Arabia—will see talks break down.

With Saudi Arabia threatening severe sanctions unless Hezbollah is reined in, failure to resolve anything today could leave Lebanon without a government and staring down the barrel of serious economic tumult.

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