Shiite Hezbollah dominates Lebanon, but it has sought not to provoke the Sunni community, which in turn has avoided crossing the guerrilla force.The fear among some Lebanese now is that Saudi Arabia will upset that balance, trying to compensate for its losses in proxy wars elsewhere.
Unexpectedly, Hariri appeared on Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV in a recorded video from an undisclosed location, haltingly delivering a statement in which he accused Iran of meddling in Arab affairs and the Iran-backed Hezbollah of holding Lebanon hostage.'Iran's arms in the region will be cut off,' he said, adding that he felt compelled to resign and that his life was endangered.But he was known to tow the Saudi line and his shock resignation suggests Saudi Arabia may have a new plan of action for the country.The kingdom had long backed the Sunnis in Lebanon's multi-sectarian political system - and during the civil war - but on Monday it accused the tiny Arab country of declaring war against it because of aggression by Hezbollah.It's believed they did not see Hariri as the man for that job.In Syria the civil war is not completely over but Iran and its allies are seen to have won the proxy war against Saudi-backed rebels.Hariri, a Sunni Muslim leader, had faced the seemingly impossible task of presiding over a government under the control of Iran-backed Hezbollah.
The Shiite militant party is accused of killing his father, Rafik, in 2005 and in his resignation speech on Saturday he suggested he now fears for his own life.
Here he is pictured yesterday with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Hariri made the surprise announcement from the Saudi capital in a pre-recorded message on a Saudi-owned TV station.
Last week, Saudi Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan predicted on Lebanon's MTV station that 'astonishing developments' were coming for Lebanon.
The Islamic State's dream of a Middle East caliphate may be over, but Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite powerhouse Iran continue to worsen conflicts across the region as they battle to reign supreme.
Here Mail Online looks at some of the key countries where their hands are wreaking havoc because of different political and religious opinions…The resignation of Lebanon's Saudi-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri has thrust Lebanon back onto the front line of the Middle East's most biting rivalry, pitting a mostly Sunni bloc led by Saudi Arabia and including the UAE against Shiite Iran and its allies.
After Hariri's resignation, rumours spread in Lebanon that he was under house arrest in Saudi Arabia - especially after news broke over the weekend of arrests in the kingdom of dozens of Saudi princes, ministers and influential businessmen in a sweep purportedly over corruption.