In his televised resignation speech, delivered from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Hariri blindsided both his government and staff in Beirut, bringing a dramatic end to an 11-month government that had largely failed to impose authority on a parliament split along regional lines, or on an economy weighed down by debt and corruption.
In his statement, Hariri warned, “Iran has a strong desire to destroy the Arab world.” He said, “the evil that Iran sends to the region will eventually backfire on Tehran.” He said, “Iran controls the region and the decision-making in both Syria and Iraq,” but added, that Iran was “losing in its interference in the affairs of the Arab world”, and stated that Lebanon would “rise as it had done in the past” and “cut off the hands that wickedly extend into it”.
Stressing his rejection of the use of Hezbollah’s weapons against the Lebanese and Syrians, Hariri pointed out that “the intervention of Hezbollah caused us problems with our Arab neighborhood.”
Hariri said that he is aware that there are assassination plots against his life saying: “I sensed that there are people who secretly want me dead.”
He said the atmosphere in the country is similar to the one that existed before his father, the late prime minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in 2005. He claimed that he feared the same fate as his assassinated father if he remained as leader. “We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of (his father the late prime minister) martyr Rafik al-Hariri. I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life,” he said.
“We will not allow Lebanon to become a trigger for the security of the region,” Hariri explained, and said that “frustration and fragmentation in Lebanon is unacceptable.”
Lebanese President Aoun confirmed that Prime Minister Hariri’s office called him from Saudi Arabia with the news of the resignation.
Leader of the Future Movement, Dr. Mustafa Alloush, stated that that the upcoming days will be a period of “militarization.”
Hariri was appointed prime minister in late 2016 and headed a 30-member national unity cabinet that included the Shiite militant Hezbollah.
The country has been protected by the government from the effects of the civil war in neighboring Syria.
It is expected that tensions will in the country, with Hariri’s resignation.