In a move that caught many by surprise, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation while on a trip to Saudi Arabia on Saturday. In the speech, which aired on Saudi television, Hariri said he feared for his life, describing the political atmosphere as similar to what it was in 2005, when his father, then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in a truck bomb attack in Beirut.
CGTN’s Yasser Hakim confirms Saudi intelligence convinced Hariri that his life could be in peril if he traveled back to Lebanon.
Hariri also railed against Iran and Hezbollah in his speech, accusing Iran of destabilizing the region.
“I want to say to Iran and its followers that they are losing in their interference in the affairs of the Arab world, our nation will rise up as it had done in the past and cut off the hands that wickedly extend into it in the same way it was forced back onto you in Bahrain and Yemen, it will be forced back onto you in all parts of our dear nation and the evil will return to its perpetrator, ” Hariri said.
Just Friday, Hariri met with a senior Iranian official who declared after the meeting, that Iran would respect the sovereignty of Lebanon and protect Lebanese security.
The sudden resignation could throw Lebanon’s government back into crisis. Hariri became Lebanon’s prime minister in 2016 in a deal that also brought in Hezbollah ally Michel Aoun as the country’s president. The nation was without a cohesive government and leadership for nearly two years.