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Political crisis escalates among Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabia

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 11/10/17, 11:24 am

Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday deemed the Lebanese prime minister’s resignation last week unconstitutional, saying Saudi Arabia forced him to step down. Nasrallah said he was certain Saudi Arabia coerced Saad Hariri to resign and prevented him from returning to Lebanon. Hariri on Saturday resigned during a televised statement in Saudi Arabia, citing concerns of assassination attempts against him. Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept Hariri’s resignation until he returns to the country and explains his reasons. Dozens of citizens from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain on Friday morning gathered at Lebanon’s Beruit-Rafic Hariri International Airport to evacuate the country after receiving orders from their home countries to leave. The move has stoked fears of an impending crisis. Saudi Arabia has long accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah Islamist political party of supporting Iran, it’s regional rival. Tensions in the region increased after a Saudi-led coalition on Nov. 4 intercepted a ballistic missile fired by a Yemeni rebel group. Saudi Arabia said Iran supplied the rebels with the missile and accused the country and Hezbollah of aiding the attack. Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, who oversees the U.S. Air Force Central Command in Qatar, on Friday confirmed Iran manufactured the ballistic missile, saying it bore “Iranian markings.” “That in itself provides evidence of where it came from,” he said.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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