Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri stunned the world on Saturday by abruptly resigning his position, giving as his reason the Iranian interference in his country via the terrorist militia Hezbollah. Hariri, a long-time ally of Saudi Arabia, delivered his resignation speech from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, according to a report from the Lebanese news outlet The Daily Star. According to a translation of Hariri’s full address in the report, the resigning Prime Minister accused Hezbollah of being “the arm of Iran” and seeking to “kidnap Lebanon” from it’s place in the world and “its values and ideals.”
Hariri argued that Lebanon slid from its place once it was led by outside influences who “formed a government inside a government… Hezbollah has unfortunately managed to impose a fait accompli in Lebanon using the force of its weapons, which are alleged to be solely for the resistance.” Hariri’s resignation and condemnation of Iranian interference was upheld by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “a wake-up call to the international community to take action against the Iranian aggression that is trying to turn Syria into a second Lebanon.”
Said Netanyahu in comments released by his office, “This aggression endangers not only Israel but the entire Middle East. The international community needs to unite and confront this aggression.”
Hariri himself implied that he felt threatened, citing the assassination of his father, former-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and saying “I have sensed that someone has been targeting me.”
Hariri’s opposition to Iran and Hezbollah is nothing new, and he held nothing back in assailing Iranian activities in the region on Saturday. He was quoted by The Daily Star as saying Iran “plants sedition, devastation and ruin, which is attested to by its interference in the internal affairs of the Arab nation, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen—driven by a deep hatred of the Arab nation and an overwhelming desire to destroy and control it.”
Hariri has been in office as Prime Minister for less than a year, having taken the office in December 2016, but the specter of Hezbollah has loomed throughout his term. During a trip to the White House in July, United States President Donald Trump noted the threat Hezbollah posed to the region and to Lebanon.
In comments posted to the White House website, Trump called Hezbollah “a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people, and the entire region.”
Said Trump during the Hariri July visit, “The group continues to increase its military arsenal, which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel, constantly fighting them back… Hezbollah likes to portray itself as a defender of Lebanese interests, but it’s very clear that its true interests are those of itself and its sponsor—Iran.”
That was ultimately clear to Hariri too and Saturday he decided to resign because of it.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 5, 2017)