The abrupt resignation of Lebanon's prime minister was bizarre even by the often twisted standards of the country's politics.

Saad Hariri made the announcement from the Saudi capital in a pre-recorded message on a Saudi-owned TV station. Stunned Lebanese are convinced Saudi Arabia, Hariri's longtime ally, forced him to take the step, which effectively wrecks the prime minister's delicate compromise government with Saudi nemesis and Iran ally, the Hezbollah militant group.

In doing so, the kingdom throws Lebanon into potential turmoil. It forces the small nation to become a new front in the regional fight for supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran. And that's at a time when Iran and its allies are seen to have won the proxy war against Saudi-backed Sunni fighters in Syria.