Who is Lebanon's Saad Hariri?

Who is Lebanon's Saad Hariri?

Who is Lebanon's Saad Hariri?

The Lebanese economy and pound are not in danger following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Saturday, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told Reuters.

Lebanese PM resigned in a televised address blaming Iranian interference and alluded to fears of an assassination.

Imad Harb, a political analyst at the Arab Center in Washington, DC, said that for Hariri to make the announcement in Riyadh "basically means he can't have control over his government or his country".

In a pointed speech, Hariri suggested that he feared for his life and said the atmosphere in Lebanon is similar to the one that existed before his father, the late prime minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in 2005. "I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life", Hariri said, referring to his father.

Iran said the resignation would create regional tensions and rejected Mr Hariri's accusations as "unfounded". But it's been an uneasy partnership between Hariri, who heads a Sunni-led camp loyal to Saudi Arabia, and Hezbollah, which represents a camp loyal to Shiite Iran.

BBC reports that Mr Hariri has made several visits in the past few days to Saudi Arabia, whose leadership is strongly opposed to Iran.

The office of Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a veteran Christian leader allied to Hezbollah, issued a statement saying it was waiting for Hariri's return to Lebanon "to enquire about the circumstances of his decision and decide on the next steps".

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He served a full term as a prime minister in 2009-2011, which was marked by tensions with Hezbollah. A UN-backed tribunal has charged five Hezbollah members over the killing.

Hezbollah is a vital ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the war the Damascus regime is waging against the Islamic State group and armed opposition movements.

Hariri said Hezbollah's policies have put Lebanon "in the eye of the storm".

Hariri also drew a comparison between the political situation in Lebanon today and in 2005.

"When I took office, I promised you that I would seek to unite the Lebanese, end political division and establish the principle of self-sufficiency, but I have been unable to do so. This confrontation (between Saudi Arabia and Iran) is more violent than Lebanon can stand up to", he said, warning of economic and security ramifications.

Sabhan met with Hariri in Saudi Arabia when the now resigned prime minister was visiting earlier this week.

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