Escalating Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon


Late on Thursday, the Saudi Arabia government ordered its citizens out of Lebanon. This is an indication that an economic crisis is looming between the two Arab nations with some speculations that Riyadh is ready for war. This comes after an intensified campaign by the Saudi Arabian government against the Hezbollah. For starters, this is a Shiite militia that has the backing of the Iranian government. The militia is considered as the most powerful force in Lebanon both in military and politics. The New York Times has learned that the latest development drove Lebanon into a state of panic and anxiety. For instance, journalists and politicians were equally worried, and some said they didn’t know what to expect. As for worried parents, they decided to pick their children from school. However, according to war experts and analysts in the region, the escalation is unlikely to degenerate into a war. They continue to argue that Saudi Arabia is not in a position of waging war. At the same time, analysts say that Israel isn’t interested in a war at the moment as it’s already worried by the many active conflicts in the region so far. However, there are speculations that actions by Saudi Arabia that resulted in increased temperatures in the area had the capability of causing an accidental conflagration.

Robert Malley has some insights about the region. Mr. Malley currently works at International Crisis Group as the vice president. Prior to this role, he used to function as the Middle East policy director for the Obama administration. He acknowledges that there are many fuses in the region. He also says that there are many risks of a conflict due to the little communication in the area. He notes that if things are to calm, everything should go in the right direction. Tensions rose when Saudi Arabia decided to confront Iran and the arrests of nearly 200 Saudis. Part of the arrested were 11 princes including a billionaire. While the Saudi government continues to argue that the arrests were driven by anti-corruption efforts, political experts and critics in the region continue to argue that the move was a consolidation of power by Mohammed bin Salman. The escalation between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia began when a missile was launched from Yemen and aimed at Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has blamed Lebanon and Iran for the attack. At the same time, Lebanon continues to argue that their former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is being held in Saudi Arabia against his own will.


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