There is far more to this situation than is being reported. Calls for the Patriarch to resign have been ongoing.
Last October during the Middle Eastern Synod, two cardinals approached Patriarch Sfeir on behalf of the Pope to *continue* discussing the possibility of the Patriarch resigning. His Beatitude refused, though so far as I'm being told, the Patriarch informed Rome of his resignation shortly thereafter. The Vatican is by no means sitting on it's hands, it's not really in her hands, for Patriarch Sfeir needs to approach the Synod with his resignation proper. The *pending* resignation was leaked to the Daily Star and did not come from the Patriarchal Synod or the Vatican. It is also important to note that at the same Middle Eastern Synod in Rome last October, Patriarch Sfeir was one of the leaders promoting Patriarchal rights in the Catholic Church, contrary to the inferred behavior of subjection to Rome that so many here are reading into this issue. There is also precedence of Maronite Patriarchs resigning without permission from Rome.
This is nothing more than an Eastern Catholic hierarch *further* discussing with the Vatican the ramifications of his resignation. The Patriarch's office is directly tied to Lebanese welfare and politics, and unfortunately, this issue is as much about a moral and political integrity as it is a spiritual one.
Please spare this topic from the usual "Pope v. Everyone Else" discourse, it is actually rather sensitive and nothing to do with ecclesiastical relations between EC and Rome. I have also been told that Patriarch Sfeir has written to the leaders of the Melkites and EO Antiochenes on the topic.
If anything, it's a drawn out and micro-reported account of church leaders discussing.