Why Saudi Arabia refuses to restore rapprochement with Lebanon?

Why Saudi Arabia refuses to restore rapprochement with Lebanon?
Why Saudi Arabia refuses to restore rapprochement with Lebanon?

What are the latest Lebanese statements about Saudi Arabia?

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon said that Saudi Arabia does not show a desire for rapprochement with his country

What about Saudi Arabia’s response to Mikati’s government?

It did not welcome any visit of its prime minister, nor did it bless the formation of the Lebanese government

What are the reasons for this Saudi refusal?

It sees the Lebanese government as incapable of standing up to Hezbollah, according to a political analyst

While the political crisis hitting Lebanon has turned into one of the worst economic disasters in the world, the Lebanese government is dreaming of Gulf support led by Saudi Arabia to extricate its crisis, amid Saudi refusal to accept the new government headed by Najib Mikati.

These messages sent by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards Lebanon in recent months were not normal, as they came directly and explicitly after the political failure in the country, and the formation of a government that Riyadh sees under the authority of Hezbollah, and at the same time unable to carry out any economic reforms.

With the passage of more than a month since the formation of the new Lebanese government, statements by officials in Lebanon indicate a Saudi refusal to cooperate with it, which raises questions about the reasons for the recent damage to Lebanese-Saudi relations.

Saudi Arabia does not want

In the latest statements from Lebanon, its foreign minister, Abdullah Bou Habib, expressed his country’s interest in strengthening rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, noting that the Kingdom does not show a desire to do so.

He added to the local “Al-Jadeed” channel, on October 25, 2021, that “Saudi Arabia considers the relationship with Lebanon regional,” adding: “I am ready to visit the kingdom at any time, but there is no trick in the hand.”

On the other hand, since his accession to his position, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has deliberately launched positions and media statements to tickle the feelings of the kingdom, which refuses even to bless him with the birth of his government. On October 8, he said that the kingdom is “my political and religious kiss as a Muslim.”

The Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Jarida, had said, in late September, that the Lebanese Prime Minister had submitted a request to visit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt, as part of his attempts to restore Arab support to Lebanon, which is experiencing its worst economic and political crises since the end of the civil war in the early nineties.

The newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that Mikati did not receive a response to the visit request except from Kuwait, but confirmed that he is planning an Arab tour that includes the four mentioned countries.

real change

In the wake of violent clashes in Beirut, in mid-October, Saudi Arabia called on Lebanon to make “real and serious change”, saying that the country’s leadership had failed to address structural problems instead of relying on “short-term solutions.”

“The events of the past two days show us that Lebanon needs real and serious change,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told reporters during his visit to Washington.

The Saudi official considered that “the responsibility for this lies directly with the Lebanese leadership,” adding: “The Lebanese authorities must make a real choice to extricate Lebanon from the predicament it is in now. We have not yet seen that they have taken this decision.”

The recent Saudi statements did not change from the previous ones, the most prominent of which was on August 8, when Saudi Arabia affirmed that any assistance to the current or future government depends on “it carrying out serious and tangible reforms,” according to a statement by the Saudi Cabinet.

The statement indicated that the Kingdom renews its “solidarity with the Lebanese people in times of crises and challenges,” adding that “any assistance provided to the current or future government depends on it carrying out serious and tangible reforms, while ensuring that aid reaches its beneficiaries, and avoiding mechanisms that enable the corrupt to control the fate of the corrupt.” Lebanon”.

The danger of Hezbollah

Political analyst Mahmoud Alloush believes that Saudi Arabia has not succeeded in preventing Hezbollah from controlling Lebanon, explaining: “After its sponsorship of the Taif Agreement, Saudi Arabia played a major role in supporting Lebanon financially and politically within the game of power-sharing with the Syrians, but after the Syrian withdrawal, the Saudis continued This support is aimed at preventing Hezbollah from taking over the country, but they will not succeed in that.”

In light of this, Alloush indicated to “Al-Khaleej Online”, that the reason Riyadh did not interact with the new Mikati government is that “the Saudis do not show enthusiasm to give Arab cover to the Mikati government because it cannot, in fact, stand in the face of Hezbollah’s will.”

He added: “It seems that they have reached the conviction that continuing to support Lebanon during this period will only lead to the consolidation of Hezbollah’s influence and help it run the country from behind.”

He also believes that the rise of Prince Mohammed bin Salman to his position “led to a shift in the Saudi approach to the Lebanese situation towards focusing on limiting Iranian influence.”

He continued, “They pressured their ally, Saad Hariri, to end his understanding with Hezbollah and the Aounist movement, but he did not respond to them, and in the end they abandoned him.”

He believes that Hezbollah’s alliance with the Aounist movement “gave it Christian legitimacy for its weapons and its internal role.”

Abusive statements and drugs

Recently, other issues have caused more tension between the two sides, most notably the statements of the former Lebanese caretaker foreign minister, Charbel Wahba, who submitted his resignation from his post after insulting Saudi Arabia.

Charbel had attacked Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, during an argument that took place between him and the Saudi political analyst Suleiman Al-Ansari, in an interview on the American “Al-Hurra” channel, last May.

“Charbel” left the program, objecting to the Saudi analyst’s criticism of the Lebanese government and President Michel Aoun, describing the Saudi guest as “a Bedouin.” .

And last April, Saudi Arabia took a decision to prevent the entry of Lebanese agricultural products into its lands or their passage through its lands, after thwarting huge drug smuggling operations, which smugglers tried to deliver to the Kingdom in a pomegranate shipment.

Accusations are being leveled in Saudi Arabia against the Lebanese Hezbollah that some of its loyalists are responsible for drug trafficking in Lebanon and its export abroad, while the party denies these accusations altogether.

On October 18, 2021, the Saudi Foreign Ministry called on its citizens not to travel to Lebanon; Because of the difficult security conditions the country is going through.

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