In the last few days I have “suddenly” received many calls from Lebanese media and various public figures, inquiring about the future of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. I sighed as I recalled my memories of Lebanon and compared to what was happening then and what is happening today on the ground.
I went to Al-Murooj and Barmana School, where I learned about the science, methods and personalities that left an important impact on my life. In the suburb of Beirut, our neighbor was Hussein el-Husseini, the former speaker of the Lebanese parliament, a renowned political personality and one of the most important members of the Taif agreement, which put an end to the bloody civil war in Lebanon.
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I have known him as a paragon of good manners, reverence, respect and noble politics. I knew Ghassan Al-Tueni, the late media icon. In his days the press was free and independent. He was the editor and publisher of An Nahar, one of the Arab world’s leading newspapers. Icons and legends of science, literature and business did not allow their country to be hijacked irrespective of the cruelty of the virtual occupation in its various ugly forms.
The visit to Baalbek is considered the key to the passage to another civilization where the most important cultural festival will be held in which the world will follow the Fayrouz and the great artists from around the world, where they enjoy a plate of literally original Baalbekia with a good taste.
Saudi Arabia wants a friendly, fair and respectful relationship with Lebanon, and the most important question remains whether Lebanon wants the same kind of relationship with itHussein Shobokshi
Hotbed of terrorism
Today this beautiful spot of Lebanon history is a hotbed of terrorism and extremism, a weapon-ridden area where the worst types of drugs are cultivated and the worst forms of crime are committed, such as kidnapping, robbery, murder, extortion and smuggling under the eyes of the state, which is unable to stop this tragic situation.
This scene, which is in my mind, depicts the change of situation in Lebanon, a country where the “senior” and the “Khawajat” are absent. Therefore, if we fully recognize that Lebanon today is unlike Lebanon of yesterday, and therefore Saudi Arabia today with Lebanon will be very different from what it was yesterday.
Saudi Arabia wants a friendly, fair and respectful relationship with Lebanon, and the most important question remains whether Lebanon wants the same kind of relationship with it.
There are many indications and evidence which point out that the things are going toward an uncomfortable direction and that signs of reassurance, confidence building and improvement of the atmosphere are completely nil.
The same reasons exist, as Hezbollah continues to send mercenaries to Yemen for technical assistance in training the Houthi terrorists and launching Iranian ballistic missiles toward Saudi Arabia. The current situation between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon is never reassuring.
The Voice of Justice and Lebanon the Free Master is absent in favor of voices threatened by the militias of death. The reality is painful and sad and we only see the ruins of Lebanon that we loved.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.
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.