The Associated Press BEIRUT (AP) — The head of Lebanon’s powerful militant group Hizbollah accused Saudi Arabia on Sunday of forcing the country’s prime minister to resign after less than a year in his post, as Bahrain ordered its citizens in Lebanon to “leave immediately” and banned travel there.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri stunned Lebanon and its leaders Saturday when he announced his resignation in a televised statement recorded in Saudi Arabia, citing Iranian and Hizbollah meddling in Arab affairs.
Hizbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, one of Lebanon’s most powerful figures, said the statement was “dictated and forced upon” Hariri and called for calm as Lebanese leaders consult over next steps.
Hariri’s abrupt resignation has set off anxious chatter about Lebanon’s unstable political configuration and put it at the center of a spiraling regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It has also raised worries that the Gulf kingdom, under the leadership of its increasingly bullish Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will squeeze Lebanon as a way to get to Iran’s proxy Hizbollah.