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What ails Saudi Arabia-Lebanon relations?

The “natural” objective of the Saudi-Gulf measures against the “official” Lebanon is to exert pressure against Hezbollah

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

The “natural” objective of the Saudi-Gulf measures against the “official” Lebanon is to exert pressure against Hezbollah, Iran’s representative in the region.

A group of politicians in Lebanon, such as the deputies of the Lebanese Phalanges Party, maintain that it has not done nothing wrong by extending an apology to Saudi Arabia. However, the entire political class in Lebanon became error-prone when it chose to surrender to the Iranian agent which holds the reins of power in Lebanon.

It seems that the Lebanese political leader who best understood a decisive Saudi “transformation” is the head of the Lebanese Forces Executive Committee, Samir Geagea. His statements indicate that he is aware of Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy’s dimensions and what is expected from Lebanon as a state.

Lebanese in the Gulf

But how can Lebanon benefit from Iran? On the other hand, how will it benefit from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries? How many Lebanese workers live in Iran? How many are they in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Manama, Doha, Kuwait and in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai?

According to a study published by Al Arabiya.net, the number of Lebanese residing in Iran since the Mullah regime came to power is 1,000. Most of these are cadres of Hezbollah. However, the number of Lebanese living in Saudi Arabia alone has reached 400,000, not to mention around 150,000 in the UAE who send remittances to Lebanon worth of around $8 billion.

The entire political class in Lebanon became error-prone when it chose to surrender to the Iranian agent, which holds the reins of power in Lebanon

Mshari al-Thaydi

All this is besides the various Gulf investments in Lebanon and the large number of Gulf tourists in the land of the cedars. Having said that, how will Iran compensate for all of this?

Hezbollah has been in a state of war against Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries for decades. If Lebanon doesn’t get rid of this party, which has expanded its presence to Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, there is bound to be a confrontation.
Samir Geagea said that the Lebanese Cabinet statement by prime minister Tamam Salam on the Saudi crisis is not satisfactory.

He insisted that the Lebanese government ask “from [Hezbollah] to withdraw from the military confrontations waged in all of the Arab countries, otherwise the crisis will only worsen, as it must put the finger on the wound and address [Hezbollah] to withdraw its forces from Syria,” as reported by the Lebanese National News Agency.

Geagea was right; this is the source of the Lebanese ailment that must be healed by putting up a fight against a party, which has taken away the Lebanese state’s free will. It is impossible that Lebanon remains a state while Hezbollah’s “statelet” maintains its presence – a statelet that is training death-mongers in the capitals of the Arabian Peninsula.

This article first appeared on Asharq al-Awsat on Feb. 29, 2016.
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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.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.