Lebanon PM Resigns, Bringing Saudi-Iran Proxy Conflict to the Fore

Lebanese prime minister suggests he fears for his life, resigns

"I announce my resignation from the post of prime minister", Hariri said in a speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia by the Al-Arabiya news network.

There is "no danger to the economy or pound", Khalil said.

The sudden resignation could throw Lebanon's government back into crisis.

"Iran has a grip on the fate of the region's countries..."

In his speech, Hariri suggested he feared for his life and said the climate in the country is similar to the one that existed before his father, the late prime minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in 2005.

Hariri flew to Saudi Arabia on Friday after a meeting in Beirut with Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"Prime Minister Hariri has reached the stage where he is not able anymore to bear the pressure on Lebanon by Arab nations, due to the intervention of Iran", said Mohyeddine Awwad, sitting in a cafe where posters of Hariri hung.

Riad Kahwaji, head of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said the decision also shows that Saudi Arabia will not accept the current political structure in Lebanon, where a pro-Hezbollah president is tilting the balance of power in favor of the militant group.

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Hariri said Hezbollah's policies have put Lebanon "in the eye of the storm".

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

Rafik al-Hariri was killed in a 2005 Beirut bomb attack that pushed his son Saad into politics and set off years of turmoil.

Hezbollah is a vital ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the war the Damascus regime is waging against the Islamic State group and armed opposition movements. "Despite my efforts, Iran continues to abuse Lebanon." he said.

"Lebanon is too small and vulnerable to bear the economic and political burden that comes with this resignation", he said on social media.

Even as he resigned, Hariri warned his foes: "Our nation will rise just as it did before and the hands that want to harm it will be cut".

Kamel Wazne, a Lebanese political analyst, described the resignation as "a surprise coup by all measures".

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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