Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Saturday his surprise resignation, saying that Lebanon is passing through circumstances that are similar to the ones that preceded the assassination of his father former PM Rafik Hariri.
He explained that he was resigning over “Iran and its proxies’ infiltration of Lebanese internal affairs” and the violation of the authority of the state and the imposing of the status quo.
During a televised address, he described the phase that Lebanon and the Arab ummah are passing through as “decisive”, labeling as “tragic” the internal circumstances that have been caused by foreign meddling.
Addressing the “great Lebanese people,” Hariri said: “You, who carry ideals, values and a bright history, were a beacon of science, knowledge and democracy until groups, which are backed from beyond the borders and which do not want anything good for you, dominated you. These groups sowed sedition among the people of one country, threatened the authority of the state, established a state within the state and ended up by controlling it and having the upper hand and the final say in the affairs of Lebanon and the Lebanese people.
“I refer explicitly and unequivocally to Iran, which sows sedition, devastation and destruction in any place it settles in, as proven by its interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen. It is driven by a deep hatred of the Arab nation and an overwhelming desire to destroy and control it. Unfortunately, it found among the sons of these countries some people who put their hands in its hand and who openly declare their loyalty to it. They declare their will to kidnap Lebanon, with the values and ideals it represents, from its Arab and international surrounding. I mean ‘Hezbollah’, the Iranian arm, that not only operates in Lebanon, but also in the Arab countries.
“Over the past decades, ‘Hezbollah’ has unfortunately managed to impose a fait accompli in Lebanon by the force of its weapons, which it alleges is a resistance weapon. This weapon is directed to our Syrian and Yemeni brothers, in addition to the Lebanese people. I do not need to list these interventions. Their magnitude appears every day and we suffer from it, not only on the Lebanese internal level, but also on the level of our relations with our Arab brothers. The latest example of that is ‘Hezbollah’s’ cell in Kuwait. Lebanon and the great Lebanese people became in the eye of the storm and subjected to international condemnations and economic sanctions because of Iran and its arm, ‘Hezbollah’. We all read what the head of the Iranian regime referred to, that Iran controls the fate of the countries in the region and that Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, North Africa and the Arab Gulf cannot take any decisive step without Iran and I responded to that at the time.
“I want to tell Iran and its followers that they are losing in their meddling in the affairs of the Arab nation. Our nation will rise just as it did before and the hands that want to harm it will be severed. Just as Bahrain and Yemen responded, each and every part of our precious nation will do the same and evil will be returned to its sender.
“I promised you when I accepted to take the responsibility, to seek the unity of the Lebanese people, end political division, restore sovereignty and apply the principle of self-disassociation. This caused me harm, but I rose above this for the sake of Lebanon and the Lebanese people. Unfortunately, this pushed Iran and its allies to interfere further in our internal affairs, violate state authority and impose the fait accompli.
“The state of frustration that prevails in our country, the state of fragmentation and division, putting personal interests above public ones, targeting Arab regional security from Lebanon, and forming enmities we have nothing to do with, cannot be accepted under any circumstance. I am sure that this is the will of the Lebanese people in all of their sects.
“We live in an atmosphere similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and I sensed what is being woven in secret to target my life.
“Based on the principles I inherited from the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the principles of the Great Cedar Revolution, and because I do not want to disappoint the Lebanese or accept what opposes these principles, I announce my resignation from the Lebanese premiership.
“I am confident that the will of the Lebanese people is strong and they will be able to overcome the hegemony, from inside or outside. I promise you rounds full of optimism and hope that Lebanon will be stronger, free and independent, with no authority over it except that of its great people, governed by law and protected by one army and one weapon.”