Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Saturday announced his resignation, according to the official Lebanese news agency.
"I declare my resignation from the premiership of the Lebanese government, with certainty that the will of the Lebanese is strong", Hariri said in an unexpected move in a televised statement he read from the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Imad Harb, a political analyst at the Arab Center in Washington, DC, said that for Hariri to make the announcement in Riyadh "basically means he can't have control over his government or his country". In 2016 he was appointed prime minister for the second tenure by president Michel Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah. The nation was without a cohesive government and leadership for almost two years.
His first stint as prime minister came in 2009 but was only slightly longer than his most recent, lasting just 19 months, and failing in 2011 after ministers aligned with Hezbollah resigned while Hariri was in Washington DC meeting the then-US President Barack Obama.
Hariri's resignation was expected to sharply raise tensions in a country where politics have often been overshadowed by those in its much larger neighbor, Syria.
Hezbollah members have been accused over the 2005 assassination in a massive vehicle bomb blast of Rafik Hariri, the dominant figure in Lebanon's post-war political landscape.
"The Saudi Arabia-Iranian rivalry now is going to play out on Lebanon's streets in the next few days and next few weeks".
"We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafik al-Hariri".
Al-Sabhan met with Hariri in Saudi Arabia when the now resigned prime minister was visiting earlier this week.
Several Hezbollah members are being tried in absentia for the killing by a UN-backed tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. Hezbollah denies any involvement. Hariri has frequently called on the group to withdraw its fighters from Syria.
He blamed Iran for "disorder and destruction" in Lebanon and called Hezbollah "Iran's arm", which had imposed a "fait accompli on Lebanon through the power of its weapons".
"When I took office, I promised you that I would seek to unite the Lebanese, end political division and establish the principle of self-sufficiency, but I have been unable to do so".
Addressing "Iran and its followers" he said Lebanon would "cut off the hands that wickedly extend into it".
Ghasemi dismissed Hariri's "baseless accusations", which he said indicate that "a new scenario" for the region was being drawn. He says that Iran now dominates Lebanon and the Arab neighbourhood.
Saudi Arabia's Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan said in a television interview that Hariri's personal security detail had "confirmed information" of a plot to kill him.
Maha Yahya, director of the Beirut-based Carnegie Middle East, said that with the Syrian war calming down, Hariri's move could be a message from Saudi Arabia to Iran that it "can't have it all".
He earlier said that those who cooperate with Hezbollah must be "punished". "What's coming is better, God willing", Sabhan tweeted on Tuesday.