Lebanon: Isn’t it sad to see it, once again, in the crossfire between Iran and Saudi Arabia?

On one hand, Lebanon has been increasingly aligned with Iran over the past years, via its Iran-funded Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab countries are obviously unhappy about it, especially that Iran keeps expanding in the region. Its classical modus operandi is to contribute to regional wars by proxy (e.g., in Yemen, Irak, Syria, and of course Lebanon).

On the other hand, there has been a war in Syria and all the players of the region got involved, directly or indirectly (via just funding or actual participation). Of course, we can think of Iran but also Saudi Arabia, of Hezbollah (in the back of its own government at the time, which was telling the world it had a policy or attitude of neutrality). Hezbollah likely did this to serve its allies’ interests before its own country (classical). Who knows? Perhaps also from its point of view, it played a glorious role in pushing back against ISIS (the other Islamist evil; likely even more extreme?). Tragically, by doing so, there has been many war victims, both those Lebanese young men (the fighters) and what to say of the innocent Syrian civilians (or fighters too)? What to say about the suffering, the destruction, and the refugee crisis? Anyhow, regardless of any so-called noble or just absurd, civil war, it is always the innocent people (on all sides!) who suffer while paying a heavy price.

To continue the list of those involved in the Syrian war now, we can think of Russia, Turkey, Israel, the USA and their allies, from the locals to the Europeans to the North Americans, etc. Perhaps Bambi is forgetting other forces.

Anyhow, to come back to Lebanon, it has been increasingly under the influence of Iran over the past decades, and especially lately. However, it has a diversity of political parties and forces that play a certain role of opposition to Hezbollah and their internal allies, from the best of their capacity (when they are not partners in corruption). As a reminder, Hezbollah, Iran, and the Syrian regime are part of the same axis. Lebanon is being increasingly dragged into this alignment when traditionally it has been closer to the European Union (e.g., France) and the Western world (e.g., the USA, etc.).

Saudi Arabia is desperate to the point of resorting to almost the same technique of intimidation as Iran, with tiny bankrupt and sadly increasingly “Persian” Lebanon. It has been even more desperate in its confrontation with Iran (losing against its expansion) to the point of making peace with the old enemy of the region, Israel! Of course, there is also a role of the Americans in all this (Mr. Trump’s team and the continuity of this policy in the Middle East by the new administration). Continuity maybe when it comes to Israel and the traditional support to the Lebanese army. However, perhaps a more rosy approach with Iran, than the one by the former team (of Mr. Trump, his son-in-law et al.). Hezbollah took advantage of the USA’s more (at least apparent) weakness. It dared to import illegal gas from Iran more than once and bring it into Lebanon via Syria. The USA did not say or do anything… neither Israel mind you. Who knows? Perhaps there was also a humanitarian concern, could it be (out of compassion for the population)?

When Bambi talked about the new honeymoon between Israel and Arab countries, Bambi seemed sarcastic. Yet she is someone who is sick and tired of wars and of the Middle East endless unresolved issues. Perhaps because of that, and especially because she has faith in humanity, she salutes peace, economic development, extended hands/bridges and even love between people (preferring it to death, destruction, and eternal hate among people and their respective nations). She wishes her own birth country peace and harmony within all its internal components. She wishes it external peace with all the countries of the world, including Syria, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia et al., Europe, the USA, China, Africa, etc.

In her mind, clearly the best interest of Lebanon is to succeed in being/remaining impartial OR neutral with all nations, that is at an equal distance from all neighbours and players (in the region and beyond). How about some inspiration from Austria whose status of permanent neutrality post-war protected it during the Cold War? Indeed for perhaps 65 years, this country made a wise use of its neutral status. It allowed it to turn into a much trusted meeting point for West and East during the Cold War. In addition, it built a world reputation of an impartial hub for international diplomacy. Why can’t tiny Lebanon learn a historical lesson of wisdom from Austria (https://www.iipvienna.com/new-blog/2020/10/13/austria-and-its-neutralitya-tradition-with-potential)?

Of note, Syria has occupied Lebanon for many years and was not the kindest neighbour to it. Syria may have also always perceived it as being part of itself. Not as a sovereign nearby smaller country. Same for Iran and its Islamist ideology (or hate of Israel? Or is it just an pretext?). Same for Saudi Arabia, perhaps to a lesser extent (or an indirect extent via its Islamists not in direct power). Same for all the Arab countries (historically on good terms with them, being an Arab country too). Do the Islamic or hegemonic forces see Lebanon as a sovereign entity or just as a battle ground for their proxy wars?

And what about Turkey that maybe wants to influence it too, or at least parts of it (like old times)? Europe and China too, not just the USA and Iran. Israel has occupied it for many years, first to fight Palestinians (who also were fighting it from within Lebanon), then as a masters of a no-mans’ land with the excesses of the occupier (like Syria).

Now, perhaps the divided components of Syria wants to be at a different place too, despite the alignment of Mr. Assad with Iran and Hezbollah?

Bambi thinks that Israel is at a different place now too.

So must Lebanon be too now!

Lebanon is the weakest link. The smallest, weakest has to be the smartest to survive.

To survive, Lebanon must be diplomatically wise with ALL the parties mentioned in this post.

Sadly, there are some public figures, now Ministers, who perhaps expressed an opinion that may have angered Saudi Arabia. They say the TV show was recorded in August, but aired only lately. The man in question was not even a Minister back then. Yes, he may have a biased, distorted view of the war in Yemen (far from the facts and surely from the point of view of Saudi Arabia). Yet, it is a legitimate opinion and it is his (it may even be shared by MANY in the new government that is known to be now like an Iranian colony). So, please Saudi Arabia, give him and especially give Lebanon (that you say you care much for) a break. Bambi is the first to say the same to Iran too (and even before saying it to Saudi Arabia). She surely says it to Hezbollah, that also did not act in a wise way in this story. Both Saudi Arabia and the Hezbollah are escalating… Poor Lebanon, give it a break, especially that its new Prime Minister and its President (although historically aligned with Hezbollah and indirectly or directly with Iran) have been working hard to rise above this conflict of words, to ensure the financial rescue of their country.

Anyhow, Saudi Arabia seems to be too upset by the opinion expressed by the new minister in question (who was a TV show man before, it seems). His opinion belongs to him and he has always had it. Bambi is saying so, even if and especially that she does not have the same vision as him for her birth country.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Koweit, and the United Arab Emirates are upset. Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain, expelled the Lebanese ambassador (48 hours notice to leave the country), recalled own ambassadors from Beirut, asked their own people not to go to Lebanon, banned imports from there (saying that sometimes drugs are smuggled by the Hezbollah; remember the latter needs funds and its country is bankrupt, in addition to a pandemic in the world limiting travels, etc.). At least, Saudi Arabia is saying the Lebanese expats are safe. Yes, but until when and what if the conflict degenerates into a regional war? Could it be? Or just war of words and influences (https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/saudi-expels-lebanese-ambassador-bans-all-imports-lebanon-2021-10-29/).

As far as Bahrain is concerned, the irony is that it will now have an Israeli Ambassador (good for them) AND not a Lebanese one (how sad for both them and Lebanon).

When it comes to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon historically used to have about 350,000 workers in this country (now down to about 180,000). Those politicians in Lebanon need to think of the safety of their citizens abroad, especially in the Gulf countries. Wisdom and calm should prevail. Not escalation. Not isolation…. and surely not violence in any form.

To conclude this post, regardless of the opinion expressed (or the next excuse when this conflict is solved), PLEASE hands off Lebanon all of you… Enough of crises and suffering for its people (once again all the innocent civilians who do not care about this or that party. They just want to live, without another crisis). Sadly, Lebanon is not an island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. Thus, it must be clever in its diplomacy… perhaps today more than ever!

2 thoughts on “Lebanon: Isn’t it sad to see it, once again, in the crossfire between Iran and Saudi Arabia?”

  1. And what a power struggle indeed is at play in the among those politicians who should be uniting people…
    Maybe not only Lebanon but many others could adopt Austria’s stance of neutrality… or at least maybe less power struggles? Those at the top who hurt all citizens with their fighting, may find they are still able to conduct business in times of peace if that is what they truly want?

  2. Anyway this incident with minister kordahi showed the ugly face of many lebanese politicians who stood with saudi arabia against the lebanese freedom of speech, and in general against LBN and lebanese.

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