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Saudi minister says he has 'confirmed information' on plot to kill Hariri

Saudi minister says he has 'confirmed information' on plot to kill Haririā€

Iran's Foreign Ministry said Hariri's departure was a plot to "create tension in Lebanon and the region".

The coalition government he led brought together almost all of the main political parties in Lebanon, including Hezbollah.

Speaking in a televised address, Nasrallah said: "The resignation was a Saudi decision dictated to Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and was forced on him".

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Hariri, Lebanon's most prominent Sunni politician, announced he was stepping down on November 4 while visiting his ally, Saudi Arabia, and lashed out at Hizballah and Iran. His surprise withdrawal from a government that also includes Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah risked plunging the already fragile country deeper into turmoil.

Nasrallah said "there was legitimate concern", asking if Hariri had anything to do "with this internal struggle between the princes". Such an attack would also provide a perfect opportunity for the West to test the new Saudi leadership's "moderate" credentials: Would it cheer Israel on? But it has succeeded in killing thousands of innocent people, displacing millions, and helping Tehran position itself as the defender of the oppressed in the Middle East.

Hariri allies in Lebanon have denied suggestions he had been detained and a photograph was published on his Twitter account showing him with Saudi Arabia's newly appointed ambassador to Lebanon, Walid al-Yaaqoub.

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The prime minister must be a Sunni in Lebanon's sectarian system.

Nasrallah said he would not comment on accusations levelled against Hezbollah by Hariri, describing his resignation announcement as a Saudi statement. On paper, Bin Talal and Bin Salman are a match made in heaven: Both want to transform Saudi Arabia into a "secular" society, both detest the idea of democracy and liberalism, and both are equally willing to hand over the kingdom's wealth and sovereignty to the United States.

Earlier in the day, Lebanese President Michel Aoun called for cooperation among all Lebanese forces following Hariri's resignation, in order to reinforce stability.

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But in the view of Hebrew University scholar Yusri Hazran, it is doubtful that the Saudi gambit will succeed in really setting back Hezbollah, because it is simply too powerful in Lebanon. Iran's direct intervention and Russia's air campaign rescued Assad and turned the tide in his favor, recapturing large stretches of territory. When Saudi Arabia sealed Qatar's only land border, it looked toward Iran and Turkey to fill the gap. Hezbollah's first priority is to achieve victory in Syria, to make sure the Ba'ath regime prevails there.



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