Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri Resigns
Albanian Daily News
Published November 4, 2017
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri unexpectedly resigned Saturday during a trip to Saudi Arabia, saying his life was in danger, and creating a leadership vacuum in an already politically fractured country.
In a televised address from Riyadh, Hariri said he feared an assassination plot and accused Iran of meddling in the region, causing "devastation and chaos."
"Iran controls the region and the decision-making in both Syria and Iraq," he said. "I want to tell Iran and its followers that it will lose in its interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries."
Iran dismissed the reports, accusing the United States and Saudi Arabia of orchestrating the resignation.
"Hariri's resignation was coordinated with US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's Mohammad bin Salman," Iranian Foreign Ministry official Hossein Sheikholeslam told the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
"The resignation was aimed at creating tension in Lebanon and the region. This resignation was also meant to compensate the US for its failures after the defeat of the Daesh (ISIS)."
In his speech, Hariri, a Sunni politician, also pointed to Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militant group in Lebanon.
"Over the past decades, Hezbollah has unfortunately managed to impose a fait accompli in Lebanon by the force of its weapons, which it alleges is a resistance weapon," Hariri said.
"Lebanon and the great Lebanese people became in the eye of the storm and subjected to international condemnations and economic sanctions because of Iran and its arm Hezbollah."
While the United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist group, its political wing is the most powerful bloc in Lebanon's deeply divided coalition government, and several of its politicians are ministers.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a Christian who's affiliated with Hezbollah, confirmed he had received a phone call from Hariri about stepping down.
Aoun's office said he would wait for the Prime Minister to return to Beirut to discuss the circumstances of his resignation.