Saudi Arabia’s suspension of aid worth $4 billion to Lebanon’s army and Internal Security Forces derives from Riyadh’s declining relationship with the Lebanese state since the hegemony of pro-Iran Hezbollah and its follower, the Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun. It is not true that Riyadh has had enough of Lebanese media criticism - despite this, Saudi support continued because it was aware that Lebanon is diverse religiously and politically.
However, things took a dangerous turn when the Lebanese state broke with its Arab and Muslim neighbors after its Aounist Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil refused to adopt Arab condemnation of the arson attack against the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad. Gibran justified himself by claiming to protect Lebanese national unity and impartiality.
Lebanese Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi resigned because of “Hezbollah’s influence in government” and its paralyzing of the country’s politics. The people have been prevented from electing a president for 21 months due to Hezbollah, which does not consider the state a priority and is busy waging regional wars.
Hezbollah is managing Lebanon’s foreign affairs. For now, Lebanon is not even close to being a state.Mshari Al Thaydi
The party issued a statement in response to the Saudi aid suspension, evading responsibility for the deterioration of Lebanese-Saudi relations and repeating the usual insults toward Riyadh. Hezbollah is managing Lebanon’s foreign affairs through Bassil. For now, Lebanon is not even close to being a state.
This article first appeared on Asharq al-Awsat on Feb. 22, 2016.
Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.