|By Alaa Alghamdi| Tensions are running high in the Middle East as the relationship between Saudi Arabia and their neighbour Lebanon starts to strain. Saad Hariri’s return after five years has shown to onlookers that Lebanon is a country not at ease with itself, with mixed feelings being vocalised – both by his supporters and his enemies.
Saudi Arabia has for many years served Lebanon by financing various sectors of society in the country that divides it from Iran. However, this has become a point of contention between the governments. Now it has been announced that Saudi Arabia is stopping its aid program to the military in Lebanon as a protest against Hezbollah. Is this the breaking point in the relationship between the two countries for good?
With the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar –calling Hezbollah a ‘terrorist organisation’ couples of days ago, more sanctions are expected to be coming following Hezbollah entering the war in Syria in support of the Syrian President.
GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif
Shortly after the announcement from Riyadh cancelling the payment, the Lebanese justice minister Ashraf Rifi resigned,
What has caused this relationship crisis?
The assassination of Lebanese President Rafiq Hariri on 14th February 2005 left a rift in the country’s power structure. While links to the assassination have apparently come from high up in the Syrian government, with possible ties to the phone of Bashar Assad, this rift has been filled with the insidious Hezbollah and its proponents, backed by Iran.
When Hezbollah entered the Syrian war, they caused the Saudis to reassess their views of
Currently, there is little reaction from the people of Lebanon. They seem complacent and this, to onlookers, could be taken as consensus from the population. The country is starting to reach a point of crisis and it is up to the Lebanese people to decide what they want – strategically, economically, and politically.