Friday, 24 November, 2017

Lebanese PM resigns suddenly, fearing for his life

Lebanese prime minister suggests he fears for his life, resigns Lebanese prime minister Hariri resigns
Lillian Steele | 05 November, 2017, 02:20

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his suprise resignation on November 4, 2017 in a televised speech.

Hariri also lashed out at Iran and its ally Hezbollah, a Shi'ite militia operating in Lebanon for interfering in the affairs of Arab countries. The government has largely succeeded in protecting the country from the effects of the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Hariri also railed against Iran and Hezbollah in his speech, accusing Iran of destabilizing the region.

"I announce my resignation as a prime minister", he said.

Iran said the resignation would create regional tensions and rejected Mr Hariri's accusations as "unfounded". It comes amid a sharp escalation in Saudi rhetoric against its regional archrival, Iran.

"This aggression endangers not only Israel but the entire Middle East".

Hezbollah members have been accused over the 2005 assassination in a massive vehicle bomb blast of Rafik Hariri, the dominant figure in Lebanon's post-war political landscape.

"The Saudi Arabia-Iranian rivalry now is going to play out on Lebanon's streets in the next few days and next few weeks".

In this file photo from 2015, people stand in front of an image of Rafik al-Hariri as they mark the 10th anniversary of the former prime minister's assassination near his grave in downtown Beirut. A UN-backed tribunal has charged five Hezbollah members over the killing. Hezbollah denies any involvement. The group's intervention in Syria is highly controversial in Lebanon.

He blamed Iran for "disorder and destruction" in Lebanon and called Hezbollah "Iran's arm", which had imposed a "fait accompli on Lebanon through the power of its weapons". 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. "I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life", Hariri said, referring to his father.

Walid Jumblatt, one of Lebanon's political heavyweights and the country's most prominent Druze leader, said Hariri's resignation could adversely affect a country already under huge strain.

He said Hariri "probably caved in to the demands of the Saudis". He says that Iran now dominates Lebanon and the Arab neighbourhood.

Hariri left Beirut for Saudi Arabia on a "work visit" on Friday, his office said in a statement, the second trip in less than a week.

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.

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