Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the onus of preserving relationship

Hussein Shobokshi

Published: Updated:

To put things in perspective for terrorist Hassan Nasrallah, who appeared “confused” and “worried” about Saad al-Hariri, he is the same person Saad Hariri accused of killing his father Rafik al-Hariri. This rather amusing development is useful in describing the real Saudi position on Lebanon.

The new young Saudi leadership has no special relationship with Lebanon. There is no nostalgia of the past that affects its perspective of Lebanon or old friendships. The Saudi people as a whole have changed their relationship with Lebanon.

They neither travel to spend their vacations in Lebanon, especially as there are other alternatives and more secure and respectable destinations like Dubai, Bahrain, Jordan, Turkey Europe, Asia and the US.

ANALYSIS: Is Iran’s influence fading in Lebanon and Yemen?

They also do not go to Lebanon for education as they can travel to the whole world instead. They also no longer await a Lebanese mediator to complete their work, because Saudi people have become fluent in all languages. They can connect directly to the decision-making capitals around the world.

The Lebanese people are no longer the most experienced, knowledgeable or sought-after in the labor market. There are more accountable alternatives, from Jordan to India and countries around the world.

The Lebanese media is no longer the source of real news and Saudi competencies have become noticeably qualified and many of the traditional attractions of Lebanon in Saudi Arabia have ended.

Lebanon, a country, which was once known for Kahlil Gibran, is today represented by terrorist Hassan Nasrallah, and gives him the space to participate in political decision-making

Hussein Shobokshi

National security

On the contrary, there is a prevailing view among the Saudis that Lebanon is dangerous for Saudi national security. Lebanon has become a platform for television channels attacking Saudi Arabia, military training station for terrorists and funding source for operations against Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon used to play a similar role during the 1970s, when it hosted Saudi nationals whom it called political opponents (and hosted political opponents from other countries, which resulted in a civil war that lasted more than two decades).

Today, Lebanon is in a real crisis and has to confront itself. When it symbolized civil, scientific, economic, technical and educational culture, Lebanon was a truly exceptional country. It “exported” experts to the world in these areas.

Lebanon, a country, which was once known for Kahlil Gibran, is today represented by terrorist Hassan Nasrallah, and gives him the space to participate in political decision-making, even exports terrorism to the region in Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria. Yet the strange proposition from the President and the media continues that Hassan Nasrallah is an opponent.

Also read: Saudi minster: We will soon reveal who ‘sold out’ the Lebanese people

Lebanon has chosen this path. It chose to “participate” in terrorism to build its future. It chose to be an evil platform against countries of the region. It chose to “ignore” the prevailing terrorism emanating from it. These were the choices Lebanon made. But when the consequences of these decisions caused death and destruction in Saudi Arabia and its allies; then Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself.

Lebanon will not find lot of supporters in Saudi Arabia calling for special connections with it. Lebanon is the one that started taking positions against Saudi Arabia.

Historically, Saudi Arabia has been consistent in its position on Lebanon and has only tried to safeguard it. Taif Agreement could be described as the most famous example of this approach. Yet, the level of insults hurled against Saudi Arabia, that have been allowed in Lebanon, confirms that the country is not keen to preserve this relationship. May be this is better for both parties.
Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the “Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.

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