Hezbollah chief: Saudi Arabia 'declared war' on Lebanon, PM Hariri 'forced to resign & detained'
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says Saudi Arabia has declared war on Lebanon, adding that the “detention” and “house arrest” of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri an “unprecedented Saudi intervention” in Lebanon’s internal affairs.
The reports of the assassination plot were fabricated by the Saudis, Nasrallah said, while the PM’s resignation speech was also written by them, he claimed in a televised speech.
The Hezbollah leader also stated that the Lebanese government is still legitimate and urged all the parties to cooperate with it.Nasrallah claimed that Hariri was prevented by the Saudis from returning to Lebanon, while the whole situation around resignation of the PM was an “unprecedented Saudi intervention” in Lebanon’s internal affairs.
“Hariri is a prisoner in Saudi Arabia, and cannot return to his own country. Saudi Arabia is seeking to impose its will on the Lebanese government. It is trying to sow the seeds of discord among various political factions here and pit them against each other,” the Hezbollah leader said, as quoted by Press TV.
Meanwhile, the US State Department has released a statement "cautioning against any party, within or outside Lebanon, using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts." Washington urges all parties "to respect the integrity and independence of Lebanon’s legitimate national institutions," including the government and the army, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated Friday, adding: "In this regard, we respect Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri as a strong partner of the United States."
The Saudi plot also involved inciting Israel to strike Lebanon, Nasrallah claimed. However, he believes that a new Israeli war with Lebanon is unlikely, as the Israelis know how high its cost would be. He also warned Tel Aviv against trying to exploit the unfolding crisis in Lebanon for its own ends.The most recent armed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah erupted in 2006 and effectively resulted in a stalemate. Both sides, however, claimed victory.
The alleged Saudi actions against Lebanon were prompted by the kingdom’s anger at the failure of its politics in the country, as well as in its neighbor, Syria, Nasrallah stated. Riyadh, in fact, failed across all arenas in the region and will fail again with its new endeavor in Lebanon, the Hezbollah leader added.
The recent remarks made by the top Saudi officials equate to a “declaration of war” against Lebanon and Hezbollah, Nasrallah said. Earlier this week, the Saudi minister of state for Gulf affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan, said that the Lebanese administration would be “dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia,” and blamed Hariri’s administration for its inaction towards Hezbollah over the past year. “The Lebanese must all know these risks and work to fix matters before they reach the point of no return,” Sabhan told Al Arabiya.