Last week, in a state visit to Saudi Arabia, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri was reportedly forced to resign by Saudi leaders.

Hariri, who has led the Middle-Eastern country since December 2016 (and previously served in the same capacity from 2009-2011), delivered his resignation in a speech broadcasted from Saudi Arabia.

Though surprising, such a move from Saudi leadership is hardly groundbreaking – Saudi Arabia and Iran have long been known to wage proxy battles in their neighboring countries in hopes of leveraging control of the region.

In Hariri’s case, the Saudis reportedly viewed him as too soft on Hezbollah, the Lebanese dual political party/military group backed by the Iranian government. For expressing the politically-responsible perspective that a hardline approach to Hezbollah, a popular party within Lebanon, would cause significant internal unrest, Hariri was relieved of his duties.

Though there are rumors that he may now be under house arrest of the Saudi government, Hariri has denied those reports and even suggested that he may revoke his resignation upon his return to Lebanon.

Even so, it is obvious that Hariri, or whomever follows him in Lebanon’s leadership, will face immense outside pressures to govern according to the wishes of those in Riyadh.

To read more about Hariri’s resignation from Reuters, click here: How Saudi Arabia turned on Lebanon’s Hariri

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