US diplomats, security sector blindsided by Hariri resignation

Jonathan Schanzer
8th November 2017 - Quoted by Gareth Browne and Victoria Yanl - The Daily Star

U.S. security and diplomatic circles were taken by surprise by Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s shock resignation and are now watching the situation closely, analysts said Tuesday. “Everyone is looking for any sense of clarity as to why the prime minister took this decision [and] why now,” said Aram Nerguizian, senior associate with the Arleigh A. Burke Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies further noted this split. He told The Daily Star that “the mainstream U.S. perspective until now has been that we need to continue to work with the responsible actors in Lebanon as a means to save the country – so March 14, certain Sunni actors, certain Maronite actors [and] bankers, these type of players.”
However, he acknowledged that the recent developments could change this. “What is unclear to me now is whether those players have enough power without Hariri in power. So from the U.S. perspective, they’re still holding out hope, but the uncertainty is growing.”


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