Lebanese Prime Minister resigns over fear for life
05 November, 2017, 02:31 | Author: Darren Santiago
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his suprise resignation on November 4, 2017 in a televised speech.
He accused Iran of sowing "fear and destruction" in several countries, including Lebanon.
Imad Harb, a political analyst at the Arab Center in Washington, DC, said that for Hariri to make the announcement in Riyadh "basically means he can't have control over his government or his country".
The Shia group and its patron Iran were the focus of Hariri's resignation speech on Saturday, which was made in Saudi Arabia, where he holds citizenship. Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who was elected in October 2016 after more than two years of presidential vacuum, is a close ally of Hezbollah.
After his father's death, Hariri went on to the Future bloc (al-Mustaqbal), which draws its support mainly from the country's Sunni population, and which later formed alliances with other parties from across Lebanon's communal divide.
Aoun's office said Hariri had called him from "outside Lebanon" to inform him of his resignation.
Hariri even raised the specter of internal violence. It comes amid a sharp escalation in Saudi rhetoric against its regional archrival, Iran.
Hariri said Hezbollah and Iran had brought Lebanon into the "eye of a storm" of worldwide sanctions.
"Lebanon is a fragile country".
In a statement, the presidential office said Aoun was informed by Hariri in a phone call of his resignation, adding that the president now awaits Hariri's return to Lebanon to clarify the circumstances of his resignation.
Walid Jumblatt, the leader of Lebanon's Druze minority, said Lebanon was too weak to bear the consequences of Hariri's resignation, saying he feared political and economic fallout.
He said Hariri "probably caved in to the demands of the Saudis".
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation Saturday, claiming that it stemmed from a "rejection of Iran's political over-extension in the region". "The global community needs to come together and stand against this aggression", he said. Hezbollah denies any involvement. If the next government is more pro-Hezbollah, they said, that could lead to devastating sanctions. Hariri has frequently called on the group to withdraw its fighters from Syria.
Mr Hariri's father, former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, was assassinated in 2005. "I'm confident that the will of the Lebanese is stronger and they will be able to defeat hegemony from inside and outside", he said.
Mr Hariri has been prime minister since December 2016, after previously holding the position between 2009 and 2011.
Earlier this week, Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan sharply criticized Hezbollah, calling for its "toppling" and promising "astonishing developments" in the coming days during an interview with the Lebanese TV station MTV.
Under a power-sharing system that helped end Lebanon's 15-year civil war, the president must be a Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the speaker a Shiite. Hariri abruptly returned to the kingdom again on Friday after a meeting in Beirut with Ali-Akbar Velayati, foreign adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader.
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