Saudi Arabia’s Arab Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan meets with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, in Beirut, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016. (The Daily Star/ Mohamad Azakir)
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Saudi Arabia has opened a new front in its regional proxy war with Iran, threatening Hezbollah and Lebanon to try to regain the upper hand.The resignation Saturday of Hariri, announced from Riyadh and blamed on Iran and Hezbollah, is seen by many as the first step in an unprecedented Saudi intervention in Lebanese politics.Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said Hezbollah had been "calling the shots" in Hariri's 30-member government, which included two Hezbollah ministers and was formed last year in a political deal that made Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, head of state.Saudi Arabia says it was launched by Hezbollah.Neither Hezbollah nor the Lebanese government responded Tuesday to the Saudi accusation, voiced by Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan, a top aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that both Lebanon and Hezbollah had declared war.Hariri, who was thrust into politics by the 2005 assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, led years of political struggle with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
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