Beirut (GPA) – Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah says the recent Saudi actions amount to a declaration of war against Lebanon.
In a televised address earlier today, Hassan Nasrallah spoke on several key events that have seen Lebanese-Saudi relations hit a new low. This of course started with the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Riyadh which Nasrallah called “unprecedented Saudi intervention.”
Despite the fact that Hariri’s resignation (presumably under pressure from Saudi Arabia where his giant construction business is based) was obviously intended to dissolve the Lebanese coalition government, Nasrallah said this is not the case. Nasrallah also called for Hariri to return to Lebanon, saying that the government deems “the resignation of Hariri illegal and invalid.”
Nasrallah went on to explain the feeling of surprise shared by many, describing the news of Hariri’s resignation as“All of a sudden, out of nowhere, Saudi Arabia called the prime minister on urgent matter without his aide or advisers, and was forced to tender his resignation, and to read the resignation statement written by them.”
Nasrallah also stated that Lebanon did not accept Hariri’s resignation, saying “We declare that the prime minister of Lebanon has not resigned.”
Nasrallah also joined the growing chorus of those claiming he Saudis have essentially kidnapped Hariri saying “No one should be silent about this matter. Yes, Hariri is held prisoner and must be released.” This claim has been denied by the Saudis as well as the US State Department, which sent envoys to meet with Hariri in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Saudis Have Declared War
Later in his speech, Nasrallah commented directly on the violent rhetoric coming from Riyadh recently and warning that all of Lebanon, not just Hezbollah, is in the Saudi crosshairs. “To the Lebanese; Saudi is calling for you to destroy yourselves, despite their mention of Hezbollah,” said Nasrallah.
In the address, Nasrallah also took on the claims that Iran and Hezbollah were behind the launch of a missile from Yemen that struck the Saudi airport in Riyadh. Nasrallah urged listeners to look at Yemen, where “there is a big humanitarian disaster while Saudis plans fail.” He then took a jab at the gulf kingdom, saying “Look at how smart Saudi intelligence is; they say the ballistic missile was from Iran given to Hezbollah in Yemen & fired it at Riyadh.”
Nasrallah also noted how these claims about Yemen is just more of the Saudi habit of “continually [talking down] the Yemenis due to their defiance by blaming everything on Iran.”
Warnings to Israel
Obviously, one nation that’s enjoying these recent Saudi attacks on Iran and Lebanon is Israel. Nasrallah also addresses this in his speech, giving a clear warning to the now openly Saudi-allied country.
Despite the Israelis being exposed as being in on this whole cycle of escalation, Nasrallah made clear that he still feels a war with Israel is “not as imminent as others think.” However, Nasrallah warned, should Israel get any ideas, that Lebanon remembered the “Qusayr operation which shook their ground;” and that “We are ready for anything.”
Nasrallah’s final words on the Israelis were that Tel Aviv “should be careful, considering regional situation and cost of a war.”
Nasrallah is likely correct that there is no competent force in the region that could take on Lebanon (and Iran) but now many are speculating a Saudi strategy for Lebanon similar to the recent isolation of Qatar.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.