BEIRUT: Saad Hariri resigned from the Lebanese premiership Saturday. His televised address to announce the decision was made from Riyadh, and was as follows:
My brothers and loved ones of the great Lebanese people: I am addressing you at this crucial moment in the history of our country and of the Arab nation [the Arab world], which is living in tragic conditions caused by external interference in its internal affairs.
You are the people of a great Lebanon, with its traditions, values and bright history. You were the beacon of science, knowledge and democracy until you became governed by groups that did not care for your wellbeing. They were supported by forces outside the borders, which implanted among the people those who wished to cause strife, and formed a government inside a government. This ended with these forces controlling branches of government and obtaining the final say in the affairs of Lebanon and the [lives of the] Lebanese.
I refer, frankly and unequivocally, to Iran, which plants sedition, devastation and ruin, which is attested to by its interference in the internal affairs of the Arab nation, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen – driven by a deep hatred of the Arab nation and an overwhelming desire to destroy and control it. Unfortunately, I found the sons who put their hand in [Iran’s] hand, and openly declare their loyalty to them and seek to kidnap Lebanon from its Arab and international environment, with its values and ideals. I mean Hezbollah, which is the arm of Iran not only in Lebanon but also in other Arab countries.
To the great Lebanese people: over the past decades, Hezbollah has unfortunately managed to impose a fait accompli in Lebanon using the force of its weapons, which are alleged to be solely for the resistance. Their efforts are aimed to liberate our Syrian and Yemeni brothers, rather than the Lebanese. I do not need to list these interventions, and every day reveals to us the size of the suffering – not only at the internal Lebanese level but in terms of our relations with our Arab brothers, and [extending to] the cell of Hezbollah in Kuwait, far away. As a result, we are in the eye of the storm, [the target] of international condemnations and economic sanctions because of Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. We have all read that the head of the Iranian regime has pointed out that Iran controls the fate of the countries in the region, and that in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, North Africa and the Arabian Gulf, no decisive step can be taken without Iran – [statements] that I echoed at the time.
I would like to say to Iran and its followers that they are failing in their interference in the affairs of the Arab nation. Our nation will rise as it did in the past, and it will cut off the hands that are reaching for it. And as we responded to you in Bahrain and Yemen, we will respond to you in every part of our dear nation.
I promised you when I took office that I would seek the unity of the Lebanese people, end political division and restore the sovereignty of the Lebanese people. I have suffered for this, and I have spoken out in favor of Lebanon and the Lebanese people. Unfortunately, this hasn’t changed Iran’s position and interference in Lebanon.
Oh great Lebanese people: the state of frustration that prevails in our country, the state of fragmentation and divisions, and the primacy of special interests over the public interest, the targeting of Arab regional security from Lebanon, and the formation of entities that we cannot control, are not accepted by the Lebanese under any circumstance.
We live in an atmosphere similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafik Hariri, and I have sensed that someone has been targeting me.
Based on the principles I inherited from the late martyr Rafik Hariri and the principles of the Great Cedar Revolution, and because I do not want to let the Lebanese down or accept any deviations from these principles, I declare my resignation as Lebanese prime minister. I am convinced that the will of the Lebanese is stronger and their resolve is stronger. They are able to overcome these forces from inside or outside. I hope that Lebanon will be the strongest free independent country, with no authority over it except for its great people, governed by law and protected by one army and one weapon.
I thank all those who cooperated and placed their trust in me.
Long live a free independent and sovereign Lebanon. Long live the great Lebanese.