Saudi Arabia claims Lebanon has declared war
Saudi Arabia said Monday that it was treating the hostile actions of Hezbollah as a declaration of war by Lebanon against the kingdom, Saudi-owned news network Al Arabiya reported. Hezbollah, the Shiite militia backed by Iran, has been involved in terrorist acts against Saudi Arabia that the kingdom's minister of state for Gulf Affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan, said amounted to a declaration of war.
Al-Sabhan's remarks occurred after Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Abel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir, told CNN that a missile fired Saturday at Riyadh, the Saudi capital, was launched by Hezbollah forces from Houthi-occupied territory in Yemen. Al-Jubeir said the missile had been made in Iran and smuggled into Yemen, where "operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah" rebuilt the weapon and launched it at Saudi Arabia.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced his resignation Saturday from an undisclosed location in Saudi Arabia. In his statement, he accused Iran of using Hezbollah to create a "state within a state" inside of Lebanon. Al-Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, had come to power in 2016 through a power-sharing government coalition that included Hezbollah's political wing, in addition to most of the country's other major parties, per Lebanon's 1943 National Pact.
Al Arabiya also reported that the Saudi government had informed al-Hariri of Hezbollah's aggressive actions against Riyadh to ensure the Lebanese government was aware of the hostilities. In an interview, al-Sabhan called Hezbollah the "party of Satan" and said that while Saudi Arabia expected "the Lebanese government to act to deter Hezbollah," the kingdom would additionally "use all political and other means" to confront the group as well as its Iranian patrons.