Lebanese prime minister Hariri resigns

by Abel Hampton November 5, 2017, 0:47
Lebanese prime minister Hariri resigns

Lebanon's prime minister Saad al-Hariri has resigned, saying he believes there's an assassination plot against him and accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world.

Hariri's "repetition of unreal and baseless accusations... against Iran show that the resignation is designed to create tensions in Lebanon and in the region", Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said.

"We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafik al-Hariri".

"I felt what was being covertly plotted to target my life", he said.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has removed a prominent prince who headed the National Guard, replaced the economy minister and announced the creation of a new anti-corruption committee.

Hariri became prime minister in late 2016, in a compromise deal under which Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, became president, ending a 2½-year political deadlock.

The 47-year-old Sunni politician's resignation comes less than a year after his government, to which Hezbollah's political wing belongs, was formed.

"Iran has a grip on the fate of the region's countries", Hariri said. The country's influence started to rise after the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq in 2011, leaving behind an incomplete army and a pro-Iranian government. While Riyadh supports the Syrian opposition, Iran and Hezbollah are main backers of Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime.

Iranian leaders say their interference is needed to stop terrorism, and to create a security zone for their country.

Hezbollah members have been accused over the 2005 assassination in a massive auto bomb blast of Rafik Hariri, the dominant figure in Lebanon's post-war political landscape. The latter group facilitated the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon in 2005.

"In practice Lebanon has been occupied by Hezbollah and the Iranians", he told the private Reshet TV channel today.

"Lebanon is too small and vulnerable to bear the economic and political burden that comes with this resignation", he said on social media. "It's part of an all-out Saudi confrontation with Iran", he said.

Mr Hairi said Hezbollah's policies have put Lebanon "in the eye of the storm". "I thank all those who worked with me and placed their trust in me", Hariri added.

Hariri's coalition, which took office a year ago, grouped almost all of Lebanon's main parties, including Hezbollah.

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