Hizballah's Nasrallah says Hariri resignation 'imposed' by Saudi Arabia

Hizballah's Nasrallah says Hariri resignation 'imposed' by Saudi Arabia
Hizballah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah said the recent, unprecedented resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister was imposed by Saudi Arabia, during a speech reacting to the move on Sunday.

3 min read
05 November, 2017
Nasrallah blamed Saudi Arabia for the resignation [Getty]

Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah has claimed that the unprecedented resignation of Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri was imposed by Saudi Arabia, during a speech addressing the move on Sunday.

Nasrallah said "we believe Hariri's resignation was initiated by Saudi Arabia", in a televised speech on al-Manar TV

"Why didn't they let him announce this from Lebanon? Even the text of his announcement was written by Saudi Arabia.  All of us in Lebanon, from all walks of life, are surprised," he added.

"We won't even discuss the content of Hariri's statement because it wasn't written by him."

The Hizballah chief described the move as "destabilising for Lebanon" and called on its people to remain calm amid widespread speculation.

"We need to understand the causes of such a move by Hariri. No one in Lebanon understands the cause for the resignation. Hariri didn't want to resign, nothing in his behaviour indicated he wanted this. There is no internal cause in Lebanon for this move," he said.

"Is the cause of Hariri's resignation internal to Saudi Arabia's power struggle? Is Saudi Arabia unhappy with Hariri and wanted to replace him with someone more pliant?", he said referring to the recent cull of leading figures in the kingdom.

"In addition to the strangeness of this resignation, we do not know whether Hariri is currently in Riyadh as a free man," he added.

Nasrallah linked the Hariri resignation to the arrest of powerful Saudi figures including Prince al-Waleed bin Talal.

"When we know the most powerful men in Saudi Arabia are under arrest, it is legitimate to worry about the status of Hariri,” he said.

"This coup by Saudi Arabia is meant to destabilise Lebanon to distract from Saudi internal turmoil as they have done in Yemen."

On Saturday, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation from government in a surprise move that he blamed on Iran's growing influence in the region.

Hariri, whose father Rafic was assassinated in Beirut in 2005, also cited fears over his life during the announcement in Riyadh.

In a televised address on Saturday, he slammed Iran and the Lebanese Hizballah group for meddling in Arab affairs and said "Iran's arms in the region will be cut off". 

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

The announcement came during his second visit to the kingdom in a week.

On Thursday, Hariri told the Lebanese cabinet that "Saudi Arabia is very keen on stability in Lebanon".

In a separate trip to the kingdom earlier this week, Hariri met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who headed the recent arrests of leading figures.

"Whenever I meet His Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman I become more convinced that we and the Saudi leadership are in full agreement on Lebanon's stability and Arab identity," said Hariri tweeted following the meeting on Monday.

Hariri was appointed prime minister in late 2016 and headed a 30-member national unity cabinet that included members of the political wing of Hizballah.

Lebanon's government has largely succeeded in protecting the country from the effects of the civil war in neighbouring Syria.