DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:40 PM) – In a statement released by the Lebanese Armed Forces on Sunday, the army announced that there is no trace of any assassination plots against abdicating Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
The statement read that the intelligence services connected to the army, despite several arrests and investigations, had not found “the presence of any plan for assassinations in the country.”
Saad Hariri, who was Prime Minister of Lebanon from December 2016, resigned on Sunday via a televised broadcast on the Saudi regime’s official news outlet Al-Arabiya, while on official visit to Saudi Arabia. Hariri claimed that an assassination plot on his life was being planned in Lebanon, and accused both the Islamic Republic of Iran and Lebanese political party and resistance movement Hezbollah of “meddling in Arab countries’ affairs”.
Neither the allegations of illegal meddling nor the alleged assassination plots have been confirmed, however, leading many to suspect Saudi involvement in the sudden resignation of the Prime Minister.
Hariri’s decision to abdicate comes as a shock to the Lebanese political landscape, especially since Hariri had announced less than a month ago that he would join a coalition government with Hezbollah, which would be a historical occassion.
Saad Hariri is the son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. Since that year, Saad Hariri has headed the Future Movement political party, member of the March 14 Alliance. Hariri was appointed by President Michel Aoun in December 2016, after a political deadlock that had lasted for over two years.
Sources in the Lebanese presidential palace indicate that President Michel Aoun is unlikely to accept Hariri’s resignation until he returns to Lebanon to explain his reasons in person. However, according to Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Hariri has no plans to return to his homeland anytime soon.