Hezbollah says Saudi declares Lebanon war over Hariri detention


In a televised interview with Future Television's Paula Yacoubian, Saad Al Hariri re-confirmed his resignation from his position as Lebanon's Prime Minister.

Hariri's "sudden" resignation cited the "grip" of the Iran-backed movement Hezbollah on Lebanon, and also said he feared for his life.

"He looked like a broken man who did not believe what he was saying, who is following orders and relaying a specific message", said Randa Slim, a fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington.

Lebanon sits on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean where a number of big subsea gas fields have been discovered since 2009, including the Leviathan and Tamar fields.

The Lebanese Petroleum Administration has said it will evaluate bids for the offshore blocks and present them to the energy minister by November 13.

He has not returned to Lebanon since - despite the calls of Lebanese politicians and worldwide observers who suspect that Saudi may be holding him under duress.

Hariri also accused Iran and Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world.

"We never meddle in other countries' internal affairs and the issue of Hariri ('s resignation) is up to the people of Lebanon".

Aoun said on Sunday that Hariri's movements were being restricted in Riyadh, the first time the Lebanese authorities had publicly declared their belief that Saudi Arabia is holding him against his will.

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Hariri had not been heard from since but met with foreign diplomats, and appeared with Saudi royalty and in Abu Dhabi. But sources close to the Lebanese leader said his forced resignation was motivated by Saudi efforts to counter Iran.

Saudi Arabia has asked its citizens to leave Lebanon, and many Lebanese fear further economic sanctions or even military action against their country.

Harari - who has a home in Riyadh - has given no indication of when he'd be back in Lebanon.

Mr Hariri was a regular participant in the marathon, giving the global sports event a big boost. This year, President Michel Aoun encouraged runners to call on Hariri to return.

His resignation is part of a much bigger geopolitical drama that is now unfolding in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Spectators along the marathon course wore hats and held signs reading "Running for you" and "Waiting for you".

Mr Hariri's appointment as prime minister late last year brought to an end a two-year period of no government in Lebanon.

The US and France have noted the diplomatic anomaly, expressing their support for Hariri and for Lebanon's sovereignty as tensions have risen between Beirut and Riyadh.