Lebanon PM resigns in rejection of Iran's growing dominance over Arab affairs

05 November, 2017, 01:59 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Lebanese prime minister suggests he fears for his life, resigns

The Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri has unexpectedly resigned during a trip to Saudi Arabia, warning his life was in danger.

The prime minister's resignation will raise tensions in the country and has thrown its political future into uncertainty.

Hariri was appointed prime minister in late 2016, leading a 30-member government that included Hezbollah.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, said he would wait for al-Hariri to return to Lebanon to clarify his situation before moving ahead with finding a replacement.

He also attacked both Iran and their allies in Lebanon, the Shia Muslim militant group Hezbollah. "Despite my efforts, Iran continues to abuse Lebanon." he said.

"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.

The government have managed to avoid the country being embroiled in the worst of the conflict taking place in neighbouring Syria.

Ghasemi dismissed Hariri's "baseless accusations", which he said indicate that "a new scenario" for the region was being drawn.

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"By going after Hezbollah, by denying Hezbollah a credible Sunni partner in governance, it thus weakens Hezbollah on the home front", Slim said.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri gives a speech during the opening ceremony of the second "Kuwait Financial Forum" in Kuwait City on 31 October 2010. Hariri has frequently called on the group to withdraw its fighters from Syria.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, left, hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House July 25, 2017, in Washington, D.C. His attacks on Hezbollah come on the heels of new USA sanctions on the group that many fear will impact negatively on the Lebanese economy.

"When I took office, I promised you that I would seek to unite the Lebanese and end political division. but I have been unable to do so".

In Beirut's Tarik al-Jadideh neighbourhood, a predominantly Sunni neighbourhood supportive of Hariri, residents described the shock resignation as a positive step.

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. Hariri abruptly returned to the kingdom later Friday before his bombshell announcement Saturday.

Hariri meanwhile backs opposition to Assad and enjoys the support of Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia. "What's coming is better, God willing", al-Sabhan tweeted on Tuesday. Less than two years later, 11 Hezbollah members of his Cabinet resigned, causing a coalition government to collapse. "Hezbollah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people and the entire region", he said.

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