Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned on Saturday, saying he believed there was a plot to have him assassinated. He also accused Iran and the Hezbollah, its ally from Lebanon, of sowing “fear and destruction” in several Arab countries, the BBC reported.
“We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafik al-Hariri [his father, who was assassinated in 2005],” Saad al-Hariri said in a televised broadcast from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. “I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life.”
Saad al-Hariri, Lebanon’s most influential Sunni politician, became the prime minister in November 2016. He had earlier held the position between 2009 and 2011.
He is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, which is strongly opposed to the leadership in Iran. Hariri alleged that the Shi‘ite Muslim Hezbollah was “directing weapons” at Yemenis, Syrians and Lebanese and said the Arab world would “cut off the hands that wickedly extend to it”, Reuters reported.
Hariri’s resignation breaks the coalition government, formed in Lebanon in 2016 after years of political conflict, and thrusts the Sunni-Shi‘ite tensions into focus. It includes nearly all major political parties of the country, including the Hezbollah. Under the political deal, Hezbollah ally Michel Aoun was appointed president.