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Is Saudi crown prince winning or losing in the Middle East?

With Saad Hariri staying on as prime minister in Lebanon, the Saudi crown prince has suffered another setback in his efforts to counter Iran.

By postponing his resignation, announced under seeming duress in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri struck a blow in support of Lebanese sovereignty and against interference in his country’s affairs by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Last week, we wrote that Hariri was “his own witness in a court of conscience” about what took place in Saudi Arabia, and what would happen next. If he had followed through on Prince Mohammed's diktat to resign and rally opposition to Iran and Hezbollah, in Lebanese politics, a popular backlash would have likely been the result, costing Hariri, and those who might have backed him, a catastrophic loss of face. Nobody was buying that you can be a champion of “sovereignty” at the behest of a regional power. And Hezbollah, despite its now frequent characterization as a "proxy" of Iran, is a Lebanese political party with its own popular and formidable constituency.

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