Lebanon is ‘held hostage by Iran’, yet coercion from the Gulf suggests otherwise

January 7, 2022

This picture taken on January 3, 2022 shows a view of a screen displaying a televised speech by the head of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, airing during a memorial service marking the second anniversary of a US drone strike that killed the top commander of the Iranian revolutionary guard corps (IRGC) Qasem Soleimani alongside Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, at a hall in a school in the southern suburb of Lebanon’s capital Beirut. [ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images]

A common trope over the past decade has been the notion that Lebanon has been “held hostage” by the Hezbollah movement and its chief backer, Iran. This is based on concerns of the growing political and military power of Hezbollah, which along with the Amal Movement has been part of the Lebanese government since 2005 with the support of their ally President Michel Aoun. Claims of 100,000-strong trained fighters within its armed ranks, also mean it is larger than the Lebanese military and is the country’s most powerful armed group.

Such beliefs have been reinforced largely over the movement’s ability to consolidate power in the absence of strong state institutions while managing to avoid accountability and responsibility over its actions. Hezbollah’s alleged role in the assassination in former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and the acquittal of three members over their involvement is a case in point. More recently, the investigation into the Beirut Port blast has stalled due to Hezbollah and Amal boycotting cabinet meetings in protest over the perceived bias of the investigating judge, Tarek Bitar. Earlier calls by Hezbollah supporters for him to be removed led to intercommunal clashes with Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) militiamen. It was some of the worst street violence witnessed in the capital in years, leaving at least seven dead, all of whom were from the Shia community, sparking credible fears of a return to civil conflict and upending a fragile peace, although Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah vowed he would not be baited into civil war.

While it is understandable for segments of Lebanon’s sectarian society to view the country as being under the firm grip of an Iranian-supported Shia movement given its modern history which has had a lasting impact on the contemporary confessional political order, this idea is also rooted in deep-seated “othering” of the once-marginalised Shia Lebanese community who were and are still seen as an Iranian fifth-column.

This perception dates back well before the establishment of the modern Lebanese nation-state, where under four centuries of Sunni Ottoman rule, the Lebanese Shia (historically and colloquially known as the metwali) were discriminated against over alleged loyalties to Persia. After the end of French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon in 1943, the Shia were essentially excluded and underrepresented from the power-sharing arrangements between the Maronites and the Sunnis when they established the National Pact. It was following the activism of the charismatic cleric Sayyid Musa Al-Sadr in the 1960s and 70s that the Shia became more assertive of their rights and religious identities with the community becoming further empowered after the signing of the 1989 Taif Accord, both politically as there was more equitable distribution of powers for the country’s Muslim political elites, and militarily, as Hezbollah was the only militia allowed to keep its arms after the civil war ended.

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Therefore, with this context in mind, one can appreciate the concerns about the political ascendency of the Hezbollah, the community it represents and the influence exerted in Lebanon of its main supporter Iran. These feelings will become more pronounced during and after the general and parliamentary elections scheduled this year, amid a worsening economic meltdown and potential for further social unrest. Yet while both Western and Arab media tend to focus on the idea that Lebanon is being held hostage by Iran via Hezbollah, the discourse is one-sided and there is relatively scant attention paid to the fact that the Gulf Arab states, headed by Saudi Arabia, have been pressurising and weighing in on the Lebanese government, undermining the country’s supposed independence in the process.

Riyadh has had a long history of playing an influential force in Lebanese politics, often supporting Hezbollah’s political rivals and acting as a protector of Sunni interests to counter those of Iran’s.

Speaking of hostage-taking, it is ironic to note that it was the Saudis who audaciously kidnapped an acting head of state, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in 2017, who was coerced into announcing his short-lived resignation from Riyadh. It was later revealed that he was “verbally intimidated and beaten” during his detention.

The recent diplomatic fallout in October between Beirut and Riyadh, however, has resulted in concerted efforts to force the Lebanese government into making political concessions in order to mend and maintain important strategic relations.

Following remarks which surfaced by the then-Information Minister George Kordahi criticising the Saudi-led war on Yemen, the Saudis expelled Lebanon’s ambassador, recalled its own ambassador and banned all imports at a critical time when Lebanon was grappling with an economic crisis. Fellow Gulf states, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE were also quick to summon their ambassadors in solidarity. Despite insisting that he wouldn’t step down over the row, Kordahi resigned last month, likely owing to external pressure and the potential devastating consequences for the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese expats working in the Gulf who send vital remittances back home.

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While Kordahi’s resignation may have had a cooling effect on the crisis, tensions clearly remain in light of Nasrallah’s comments earlier this week regarding the Saudis and King Salman, accusing Riyadh of exporting the ideology of Daesh, specifically referring to the monarch as a “terrorist”. The remarks were an apparent response to calls by King Salman the week before for an end of “terrorist Hezbollah’s” influence over the state.

Rather than defend a coalition member within his own government, Lebanon’s Sunni Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned Hezbollah, distancing the government from the comments. This was echoed by dual-Saudi citizen Hariri who insinuated that the only threat to Lebanon is “the one who wants the state of Lebanon to remain hostage to the state of Iran”.

The Lebanese government appears keen on appeasing Riyadh and its Gulf allies out of a rational fear of political and economic retribution, which has included the Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi ordering the deportation of Bahraini oppositionists and the announcement of an interception of “nearly 9 million Captagon tablets” smuggled in citrus fruits destined for the Gulf. “We want to send a message to the Arab world about our seriousness and our work to thwart evil from harming our Arab brothers,” Mawlawi insisted. He followed these political gestures by ordering the removal of posters deemed offensive to King Salman from the predominantly Shia areas of southern Beirut. In its attempts to salvage ties with the Gulf, the compliant Lebanese government risks allowing the latter to utilise their leverage further as the elections near.

At the strategic level then, the actions undertaken by the Saudi-led bloc are little to do with offensive comments by Lebanese politicians and leaders. Rather these have been shrewdly exploited in an attempt for the Saudis to play catch-up in trying to expand their own influence while steering the country away from Iran through Hezbollah. There may be compelling arguments that Hezbollah undermines Lebanon’s national sovereignty, however these often overlook or fail to recognise that it was Hezbollah that protected and reasserted Lebanon’s territorial integrity when the south was under foreign Israeli occupation. This may seem like harking back to the past, but it remains the biggest strategic threat to Israel to this day, having amassed an arsenal of “hundreds of thousands of short-range rockets and several thousand missiles that can reach deeper into Israel“, providing a modest and credible deterrence against the prospects of any repeat invasions or a major flareup at the border.

As a fragile state with a history of foreign meddling and patronage from multiple actors, it would be disingenuous to use alarmist rhetoric that Lebanon is being “held hostage” by any one party or regional power. In reference to Hezbollah, this is based on an over-arching legacy of the civil war but also on prejudices against a formerly marginalised community that had historically never been a major player in the affairs of the country, now with unprecedented power and clout. Beirut, we are constantly being told, is under the firm control of Iran (apparently as Baghdad, Damascus and Sanaa are too) yet challenging this narrative are the Gulf states who seem to be the ones calling the shots and who, according to Nasrallah, are in effect holding some 350,000 Lebanese expats “hostage”. In reality, it is the outdated, corrupt political system that has taken Lebanon hostage, a system which will unlikely be reformed as long as people identify and vote along sectarian lines. The country is in the all too familiar position of having to balance relations with foreign rival powers while maintaining the delicate balance on the ground among its diverse communities who are currently facing an unprecedented economic crises.

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

انطلاق السعار الانتخابي ضد المقاومة

 الأربعاء 5 كانون الثاني 2022


فجأة، وبسحر «طويل العمر»، استفاقت الجوقة كلها في أجواء يرجح أن تزيد الأزمة السياسية تعقيداً، وتمدّد عمر الأزمة الحكومية المفتوحة منذ ثلاثة أشهر.

«سعار» ضد المقاومة، هو أقل ما يمكن أن توصَف به المواقف التي أُطلقت رداً على ردّ الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله على اعتداء ملك السعودية سلمان بن عبد العزيز بوصفه المقاومة بالإرهاب. الطمع في رضا المملكة، عشية الانتخابات وما تتطلّبه من مصاريف، أيقظ الجميع من سباتهم تذللاً وتزلّفاً، معتمدين المنطق السعودي نفسه في ابتزاز اللبنانيين المقيمين في دول الخليج في لقمة عيشهم.

رئيس حكومة «معاً لإنقاذ كرامة المملكة» نجيب ميقاتي كان أول من سدّد سهماً ضد المقاومة، فور انتهاء نصرالله من خطابه، مخرجاً حزب الله من «التنوع اللبناني»، في استمرار للدونية التي يتعاطى بها مع مملكة القهر منذ افتعالها الأزمة الديبلوماسية مع لبنان، وإصراره على إقالة وزير الإعلام جورج قرداحي مقابل «مكرمة» هاتفية. وبحسب مصادر مطلعة لـ«الأخبار»، فإن ميقاتي وصله جواب على ما قاله، وبأنه «لن يمر مرور الكرام».

سعد الحريري الذي يكاد اللبنانيون ينسونه، صوتاً وصورة، رمى أيضاً بسهمه طمعاً في أن «يُشهد له عند الأمير»، مذكّراً بأن السعودية التي «احتضنته» في 4 تشرين الثاني 2017 وأجبرته على الاستقالة، «احتضنت اللبنانيين ووفرت لهم مقوّمات العيش الكريم».

ونبّه من أن «التاريخ لن يرحم حزباً يبيع عروبته واستقرار وطنه ومصالح أهله لقاء حفنة من الشراكة في حروب المنطقة».

وليد جنبلاط، الطامح إلى نيل حظوة ملكية تماثل حظوة سمير جعجع، أخرج ما في جعبته من أسئلة، لم يكن سؤال «إلى أين» من بينها، وإنما «هل تقف حرب ​اليمن​ باعتبار اللبنانيين العاملين في ​السعودية​ منذ عقود رهائن؟» و«ماذا تريد ​إيران​ من لبنان ومن المنطقة؟»، وكأن من كان يتحدث أول من أمس إيراني لا يتكلم العربية، ولم يكن يردّ على اعتداء سعودي على أكبر الأحزاب اللبنانية وعلى شريحة واسعة من اللبنانيين.

ميقاتي وصله جواب على ما قاله وبأنه «لن يمر مرور الكرام»

وأدلى فؤاد السنيورة، صاحب جريمة الـ 11 مليار دولار بدلوه أيضاً في وصف كلام نصرالله بـ «الجريمة الموصوفة بحق لبنان واللبنانيين، وبما يعرض مصالحهم الوطنية للخطر»، متهماً نصرالله بأنه «يمعن في خنق لبنان وإقفال الأبواب والمنافذ عليه فوق ضائقته الاقتصادية والمعيشية والسياسية».

حزب الله، من جهته، لم يلتزم الصمت كعادته. فتولى بعض نوابه الرد على حملة التزلف للرياض. فقال النائب حسن فضل الله في بيان:

كنَّا ننتظر من رئيس الحكومة أن يُعلي من شأن الانتماء الوطني، وينتفض لكرامة وطنه في وجه الإساءات المتكرِّرة من ​السعودية​ ضد الشعب اللبناني»، لافتاً إلى أنه «بدل أن يُسارع دولته، الذي يُفترض أنه وفق الدستور رئيس حكومة جميع اللبنانيين، إلى الدفاع عن من يمثل دستورياً، فإنه ارتد ضد الداخل اللبناني، وأطلق عبارات التشكيك بولاءات جزء كبير من هذا الشعب، بكل ما يمثله تاريخياً وحاضراً ومستقبلاً». وأكد أن «انتماء المقاومة إلى وطنيتها اللبنانية لا يحتاج إلى شهادات بلبنانيتها، لأنها تمثل الانتماء الحقيقي الصادق لوطنها»، و«أكثر ما يسيء إلى لبنان ودوره ونديَّة علاقاته الخارجية، هو تخلي بعض مسؤوليه عن واجبهم الوطني في الدفاع عن دولتهم ومصالح شعبهم، وعدم الإقلاع عن مهاتراتهم، وتسجيل المواقف في حساب ممالك لن ترضى عنهم مهما قدّموا من تنازلات وهدروا من ماء وجههم».

فيما غرّد النائب إبراهيم الموسوي عبر «تويتر»:

«بئس الزمن الذي يطالب فيه البعض المقاومة بأن تكون جزءاً من التنوع اللبناني، هي التي حمت وضحت بدماء شهدائها وأرواحهم كي يبقى الوطن». وتوجّه إلى ميقاتي من دون أن يسميه: ««كلامك المتملق يمثّلك ويلزمك وحدك. وهو إساءة وإهانة لك قبل أن يكون كذلك لكل لبناني وطني شريف».

رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون، من جهته، أكد «أننا نحرص على علاقات لبنان العربية والدولية لا سيما مع دول الخليج وفي مقدمتها السعودية»، لكنه شدّد على أن «هذا الحرص يجب أن يكون متبادلاً لأنه من مصلحة لبنان ودول الخليج على حد سواء».

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مقالات متعلقة

Some Lebanese Politicians Bow to Foreign Diktats: Will Self-disrespect Solve Any Problem?

By Mohammad Youssef

Lebanon is experiencing a surge of Saudi intervention in its internal affairs. A malice intervention that amounts to be not only a violation for its sovereignty; rather a distortion of its identity.

Lebanon has always been and continues to be an oasis of freedom and a beacon of personal and collective liberty that defends and respects the basic principles like freedom of expression and religious diversity. This has made the country traditionally a platform for expressing free opinions and a hub for free press.

Last week Lebanon hosted a human rights conference by Bahraini activists to expose the grave violation of human rights perpetrated by the Bahrain’s government against its people.

The conference did not breach any of the observed protocols or legal measures; yet it has induced a huge campaign by Bahraini dictatorship against Lebanon, calling upon its government to deport the Bahraini individuals that organized the event.

The Lebanese minister of interior quickly responded to the request and has issued a memorandum directing the authorities to deport the organizers.

This Lebanese obedience and submission to the Saudi and Bahraini dictations reflect lack of respect to the country’s dignity, sovereignty and independence.

Earlier this month the Lebanese minister of information Goerge Kordahi has submitted his resignation from the cabinet due to mounting Saudi pressure and persistent request. The reason why Riyadh demanded Kordahi’s resignation was because he commented on the Saudi war against Yemen describing it as absurd and with no reason.

Kordahi’s statement was given during a political interview months before he assumed position at the cabinet, and even before the formation of the government itself.

Unfortunately and unjustifiably, senior leaders in Lebanon bowed down to the Saudi pressure and requested his resignation.

This event holds a very negative connotation from both sides; the Saudi side because it indicates how much Riyadh is sure that it can exercise pressure and dictate orders to our government, and from the Lebanese side because it shows clearly how much some of the Lebanese leaders lack dignity and are ready to sacrifice the country’s national pride to appease foreign Arab and non-Arab powers.

In conclusion, this policy of bowing to foreign pressure by senior officers in Lebanon is not going to do the country any good. Surrendering the national will to foreign diktats will not restore the country nor its interests. It will only degrade Lebanon and its citizens more and more and will induce the appetite for more pressure that will not necessarily boil down to our interest.

It is time to learn a very important lesson that the policy of self-disrespect and making concessions will not deliver and cannot remedy Lebanon’s ailments and crisis whatever.


هل ينكسر الإجماع اللبناني حول التوطين؟

ناصر قنديل

قد يبدو السؤال مستغرباً للكثيرين، مثلما كان مستغرباً السؤال قبل عشر سنوات حول الإجماع اللبناني حول التطبيع، فربما يكون التذكير ضرورياً بأن أشد اللبنانيين تطرفاً ضد المقاومة وسلاحها كان يؤكد صبحاً ومساء أن لبنان أشد المتضررين من التطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال، وأنه سيكون آخر المدافعين عن شروط المبادرة العربية للسلام التي أقرتها قمة بيروت عام 2002، وما تضمنته من تمسك بحق العودة للاجئين الفلسطينيين، إضافة للانسحاب الإسرائيلي الشامل من الأراضي المحتلة عام 67، وقيام دولة فلسطينية عاصمتها القدس، كشروط أي سلام، بينما يبدو لبنان السياسي والإعلامي اليوم كياناً رخوياً في موقفه من التطبيع، حيث يجري حشد آثار الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية للقول إن لبنان أمانه أولوية واحدة هي كسب رضا الخارج الغربي والعربي الذي يملك الأموال اللازمة للخروج من الأزمة، وتحت هذا الشعار تتدحرج الكثير من الممنوعات اللبنانية ويرفع عنها الحظر.

يمكن رصد ثلاثة ظواهر بائنة لا يمكن إنكارها من جهة، ولا تفسيرها بغير نظرية تفكيك الثوابت تحت شعار الحاجة لاسترضاء مصادر الأموال، وكلها تأتي في سياق تحول لبنان إلى كيان رخوي سياسياً، بلا ضوابط ولا حدود ولا سقوف، الظاهرة الأولى هي الحملة المتعددة المصادر على سلاح المقاومة، من حد أدنى عنوانه الحديث عن الحياد وحصرية السلاح بيد الدولة، إلى حد أعلى يخاطب المقاومة بصفتها جالية إيرانية، وتحرك مرجعية روحية كبرى هي بكركي بينهما، وهي تمثل ما تمثل في السياسة الداخلية والعلاقات الخارجية، وتضاف إليها أصوات تجرأت في ظلال سقف بكركي، مهما كان حجمها صغيراً، للحديث عن احتلال إيراني، أو الحديث عن أن التطبيع وجهة نظر وليس موضع إجماع داخلي، وذريعة كل هذه الظاهرة هي الوضع المالي والإقتصادي، والتساؤل من أين نأتي بالأموال، ما دامت المقاومة قد تسببت بفقدان رضا أصحاب الأموال، وغالباً يقول، تسببت المقاومة بتخريب علاقات لبنان بمن يمكن التطلع إليهم لمساعدته.

الظاهرة الثانية هي تفكيك المناعة التقليدية التي كان الوسط السياسي والحقوقي والإعلامي يملك تجاهها حساسية خاصة، تجاه مسألة حرية التعبير، وقد شكلت ظاهرة الهجوم المتعدد الأطراف لدفع وزير الإعلام جورج قرداحي للاستقالة مؤشراً خطيراً على حجم التحول، حيث الجميع يؤكد يقينه أن الموقف السعودي المبني على التصريح المنسوب للوزير قرداحي قبل أن يصبح وزيراً، ظالم وغير منطقي وليس له أي أساس وفق معادلة الحق والقانون، وعندما قال وزير خارجية السعودية ادراكاً لضعف الحجة في الارتكاز إلى كلام الوزير قرداحي، لم يتغير الموقف الضاغط طلباً لاستقالة الوزير قرداحي تحت شعار يشبه دعوات تقديم قرابين الاسترضاء، بمسمى عصري هو الإقدام على خطوة حسن نية ترضي السعودية، ولم يرف جفن المسؤولين في الدولة والمجتمع وهم يطيحون بما كانوا يصفونه من قبل بإحدى أهم ميزات لبنان، وهي تنوعه وحرية الرأي فيه، ورفض مساءلة الدولة إلا عن مواقفها الرسمية، وبقيت الحملة تتدحرج حتى استقال الوزير الذي تحفظ الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون على المطلبة باستقالته، وبقي يقول المطلوب خطوة من دون أن يحدد الاستقالة لأنه يخشى أن يسجل على رئيس فرنسا طلب استقالة وزير في دولة ذات سيادة لاسترضاء دولة أخرى، وأن السبب هو تصريح سابق لتولي الوزارة من هذا الوزير، فخجل ماكرون ولم يخجل لبنان، بل فتح عينيه على وسعهما، وقال لم لا، ننحر الحرية والسيادة كرمى لعيون صاحب المال.

الظاهرة الثالثة هي ما نشهده هذه الساعات مع قرار وزير الداخلية بترحيل معارضين بحرينيين، يتواجدون في لبنان بصفة قانونية، لأنهم عقدوا مؤتمراً صحافياً حقوقياً يعرض لانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان في بلدهم، ومشهود في العالم كله وفي منظمات الأمم المتحدة لمستوى اللياقة والدقة القانونية والسلمية والمستوى الحضاري لأداء المعارضة البحرينية، ومعلوم بالمقابل نوع المعارضين السوريين الذين فتحت أمامهم أبواب لبنان، ونوع العمل الذي كرسوا وجودهم في لبنان للقيام به، سواء من كان منهم متورطاً بأنشطة ارهابية، أو من كان يقدم الإسناد الإعلامي والمالي لهذه الأنشطة، لكن الفارق كبير بين حكومة البحرين التي تشكل أحد كيانات الخليج، ويندرج استغضابها ضمن مفهوم استرضاء صاحب المال، وحكومة سورية يشكل اغضابها استرضاء لصاحب المال، والتغير اللبناني تجاهها يجري على إيقاع تغير موقف صاحب المال الخليجي وليس تعبيراً عن قراءة مختلفة للمصلحة اللبنانية، ووفقاً لمراقبة سريعة يمكن ملاحظة حجم حضور المعارضة البحرينية في دول أوروبية كبريطانيا تقيم أفضل العلاقات بحكومة البحرين يترجمها وجود قاعدة عسكرية بريطانية في البحرين، كدليل على ثقافة الذل السياسي التي ينحدر إليها لبنان، ضارباً بعرض الحائط معادلة كان يتباهى بها بصفته ملجأ المعارضات العربية الديمقراطية، وفقاً لتوصيف شارل مالك قبل أكثر من نصف قرن، والذريعة هي فقط طلب رضا صاحب المال.

السؤال هو لماذا يستبعد البعض أن يكمل انحدار مشواره تحت ذات الاعتبارات، عندما يقال للبنان إن ثمن التوطين هو مئة مليار دولار على سبيل المثال، أي ما يكفي لسداد الديون وإعادة الودائع، وتحريك النظام المالي والمصرفي بأفضل مما كان عليه؟ والسؤال الموازي هو هل يمكن تصديق من يدعو لنزع سلاح المقاومة، كورقة قوة وحيدة بيد لبنان، عندما يقول إنه يرفض التوطين؟

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Did French President Macron’s Gulf Tour Complicate US Regional Policy?


These three outcomes could complicate the US’ regional policy and possibly even be interpreted as an asymmetrical form of revenge for stealing France’s historically unprecedented nuclear sub deal with Australia.

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Gulf countries of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia last weekend during a two-day trip. His regional tour resulted in several significant outcomes. The first is that Paris and Abu Dhabi clinched a €16 billion deal for 80 upgraded Rafale warplanes and 12 Airbus combat helicopters, which is France’s largest arms agreement to date. It comes a few months after the US and UK poached France’s €31 billion nuclear sub deal with Australia.

Second, Macron announced while in Doha that some EU countries were considering opening up a joint diplomatic mission in Kabul to liaise with the de facto Taliban-ruled government there. He noted, however, that this wouldn’t imply formal recognition of their authority. It should be remembered that the Qatari capital was the scene of peace talks between the US and the Taliban. It’s also where many foreign diplomats informally interact with the Taliban since the group has a political office there.

And finally, the French President held a joint phone call while in Riyadh between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati aimed at soothing over their recent differences. Another crisis between the two unexpectedly exploded after the Lebanese Information Minister (who resigned on Friday) earlier criticized the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Macron therefore showed that France is still crucial to managing disputes in its former Levantine colony.

These three outcomes could complicate the US’ regional policy and possibly even be interpreted as an asymmetrical form of revenge for stealing France’s historically unprecedented nuclear sub deal with Australia. To explain, despite a recent improvement in Emirati-Iranian relations, the former still remains suspicious of the latter’s alleged nuclear intentions and is skeptical of the US-led efforts to renegotiate the nuclear deal. France’s arming of the UAE is meant to maintain a regional military-strategic balance.

Regarding the second outcome, the US has pressured his partners to keep their distance from the Taliban until it capitulates to America’s pressure to unilaterally make far-reaching socio-political reforms. Macron’s pragmatic defiance of this demand is aimed at managing that war-torn country’s impending humanitarian crisis. It shows that France is behaving in an increasingly independent way, almost intentionally doing the opposite of what the US says in order to show its anger at AUKUS.

As for the last of Macron’s achievements, he’s signaling that France will compete to fill the diplomatic-strategic void left in the Levantine-Gulf regions following the US’ gradual disengagement from there as it pivots towards attempting to “contain” China in the Asia-Pacific. The US’ traditional partners like Saudi Arabia increasingly distrust it for that reason as well as its ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran. France therefore cleverly realized that it might be able to replace the US’ dwindling influence.

All of this complicates US policy. The declining unipolar hegemon no longer dominates the West Asian region in which it had previously exerted its dominance. Its flip-flopping policy there across the last three administrations (Obama-Trump-Biden) has concerned its traditional allies. America is no longer regarded as a reliable partner, but as a self-interested actor aiming solely to advance its short-term strategic interests. France is furious after AUKUS and actively competing to replace US influence there.

Its arming of the UAE is especially significant given the US’ prior claims of war crimes being committed by all sides of the Yemen War in which Abu Dhabi used to play a leading role. Washington has also recently criticized Riyadh for its alleged human rights violations, which would have been unthinkable under the prior administration. France, having recently been on the receiving end of the US’ selfish policies, is likely viewed as a sympathetic balancing force by the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

As French influence in West Asia rises in parallel with American influence’s decline there, Washington will have to learn to appreciate Paris and its traditional regional partners instead of taking them for granted. Its crazed quest to “contain” China at all costs has dealt enormous self-inflicted damage to US strategy in Europe (France) and West Asia (UAE, Saudi Arabia). The voids that it’s leaving in those parts of Eurasia are being filled by France and others, with unclear long-term strategic implications.

All that can be known for sure at this time is that American policy in those strategic spaces is being complicated by a combination of the self-inflicted damage that its “Pivot to Asia” has dealt and the geopolitical opportunism of France and others. New regional orders have a credible chance of emerging, with the end result being that multipolar processes there will accelerate. This will further erode America’s declining influence in Europe and West Asia, possibly opening up new opportunities for all.

Aoun’s trip to Qatar cannot change Lebanon’s fortunes; for that, he must look further east

December 05 2021

Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s trip to Qatar for help can only be a placebo for his country’s woes. To jumpstart Lebanon’s recovery, he needs to be prepared to realign with new regional actors.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun heads to Doha to seek urgent help from Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. But Qatar can provide little compared to three other Asian powers.Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Giorgio Cafiero

The crisis in Lebanon goes from bad to worse. Rolling blackouts and soaring gas prices are just some of the ordeals people face day to day. They are buying less meat while pleading with family and friends abroad to send them medicine. Much of Lebanon’s middle class has sunk into poverty. The Lebanese Lira has lost nearly all value while health crises continue to plague the country. And as the crisis grows beyond all expectations, so does public anger.

It is within this context that Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun paid a visit to Qatar on 29 November. While in Doha, Aoun met with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss Lebanon’s internal crises, as well as the diplomatic row between Beirut and four of Qatar’s fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members – Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The dispute erupted in October after a Qatari news program aired comments made by Lebanon’s former Information Minister George Kordahi, criticizing the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen.

After weeks of undue pressure from Riyadh, which at times was described as tantamount to a war declaration, Kordahi was ultimately forced to resign on 3 December.

For his part Aoun, one of Hezbollah’s political allies, said he wanted Beirut’s relationship with Riyadh to improve significantly. The president of Lebanon and the emir of Qatar have both said that Arab nations need to stand by Lebanon and “overcome any flaws that might face these relations.”

What can Qatar do for Lebanon?

At this juncture questions remain about how much the Lebanese can count on Qatar for help. Doha will likely provide some form of aid, but this kind of assistance or investments are unlikely to generate much change in the Levantine nation. And while the Qataris may be able to ease some friction between Beirut and its GCC partners, it is far from clear if any Qatari mediation can help loosen the Saudi chokehold on Lebanon.

Ryan Bohl, a West Asia analyst at risk consultancy agency Stratfor/Rane, told The Cradle that Aoun’s trip to Doha could open the doors for Lebanon to receive “some humanitarian aid, especially as Qatar looks to keep its human rights defender reputation ahead of the World Cup in 2022.”

Nonetheless, Bohl also believes that there are significant limits to what Lebanon can expect from Qatar at this point. “Doha knows that Lebanon is a financial black hole, and so boosting Lebanon’s currency reserves or providing any other aid beyond humanitarian support is unlikely.”

What has become readily apparent is that GCC states have given up on Lebanon in many respects. And while Doha remains determined to assert some degree of influence through their unique history of building networks in the country, the Qataris are fully aware that Lebanon has undergone changes that make it less important to Gulf monarchies.

“[Although Doha] might agree to pay salaries of certain state employees, or [members of] the military, or potentially put some money into the central bank like the Qataris have done before, it’s unlikely to be a major investment that’s going to turn things around for Lebanon,” Dr. Andreas Krieg, assistant professor at the School of Security Studies at King’s College London, told The Cradle.

“The Qataris are aware that there are issues of corruption [in Beirut]. You’re unlikely to get very good returns on your investments,” Dr. Krieg pointed out.

As far as the diplomatic crisis goes, Qatari officials are looking to mediate between Beirut and the rest of the GCC states in an attempt to have all sides reach a consensual position to restore working relations.

This is a role Doha has been trying to play since the Saudis took it upon themselves to create a rift between its closest GCC allies and crisis-hit Lebanon.

Dr. Krieg also explained how, despite going on record to condemn the comments made by Lebanon’s former Information Minister, the Qataris also took it upon themselves to resolve the row.

“The Qataris very early on went to the Saudis and other GCC partners saying ‘we’re happy to mediate [and try] to find a solution to this,’” Dr. Krieg explains. “They received tacit approval from the Saudis to do that. So, the foreign minister was supposed to go to Lebanon. In the end he didn’t. But I think with the Lebanese president coming to Doha, this is also part of that [Qatari effort] to find a way to explore opportunities for a mediation process.”

According to West Asian analyst Ryan Bohl, Doha’s attempt to dial down the tensions “would once again serve Qatar’s ambition of being a diplomatic powerhouse and mediator as well as a humanitarian facilitator.”

But mediation by Qatar might prove unmanageable considering the firm stance Saudi Arabia and the UAE have taken against Hezbollah, as they consider the resistance group to represent Iran’s influence inside Lebanon. The clear trend among Gulf nations to withdraw resources and energy from Lebanon is not one anyone expects Qatar to reverse.

Saudi influence in Lebanon has been declining for quite some time. Nonetheless, it’s safe to conclude that neither Qatar nor any other GCC member seeks to take over Riyadh’s historic role in Lebanon. “Qatar is neither interested in a proxy struggle with Iran nor … in taking up that role of throwing good money after bad in Beirut,” Bohl says.

Yet Doha is not without experience or networks in Lebanon. Back in the 2000s, the Qataris were involved in the reconstruction of southern Lebanon and took part in mediation efforts between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government.

Today, Doha could build on those networks which position it as a Gulf state with a non-sectarian agenda in the Levantine nation and which has working relations with all major communities in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s bleak situation atop the rift between Beirut and four GCC states offer Doha an opportunity to assert further influence in the country.

Looking east, toward rising economies

Lebanon, in its current form, will likely experience a future where neither western nor GCC states are going to be willing to help with its crises. It might therefore be easy to imagine influential Lebanese figures joining Hassan Nasrallah in the belief that Lebanon must pivot to Chinese and Russian orbits of influence.

Tehran’s influence in Beirut is not a factor that would deter either Beijing or Moscow from assisting Lebanon. This constitutes a major contrast to western powers and most GCC states which consider any influence from Iran in the Mediterranean country a serious issue, a fact made evident by how much Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign harmed the Lebanese economy.

A Lebanon that looks towards the east could therefore complicate its relations with western governments. To be sure, if Lebanon does move closer to China, the country will not only remain a hotspot in the Iranian­–Saudi rivalry, but could also become an arena where the friction between Beijing and western powers plays out in increasingly tense ways.

Over recent years China has deepened its influence in numerous West Asian states, such as the UAE, and even in Israel, by developing their networks and strengthening ties in ways that alarm Washington.

Beijing’s incursion into Lebanon and its image as a possible savior could result in weakening US–Lebanon ties. Washington’s ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea has already warned of consequences if Beirut turns to China for investment relief, saying such a move could come “at the expense of the country’s prosperity, stability or fiscal viability or its long-standing relations with the United States.”

Doubtless, China is likely to find ways to benefit from a deeper partnership with Lebanon, especially in light of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This mega-infrastructure project alone has officials in western governments questioning whether Lebanon can remain what the Foreign Policy columnist Anchal Vohra recently described as “an outpost of Western values and influence in [West Asia].”

Russia is also an essential element of the ‘look east’ approach supported by Hezbollah and others in Lebanon. However, the Russians have far less economic influence in Lebanon compared to the Chinese, which remains the country’s largest trading partner, even prior to the economic crisis.

Yet Moscow remains important to Lebanon in matters of diplomacy, energy, and mainly security, given the Kremlin’s ongoing military presence in neighboring Syria.

Mindful of Washington’s crippling sanctions against the Syrian government and certain actors in Lebanon, Russian companies, many of which are also sanctioned by the US, have much experience operating in the so-called ‘gray sphere.’ This means Russian firms might possess unique advantages that Lebanese businesses and individuals would find appealing, particularly in their ability to circumvent sanctions for trade and transactions involving Syria.

Looking ahead, a Lebanon that moves closer to China and Russia could create a new period of uncertainty for Beirut as it finds new footholds in an increasingly multipolar world.

The risks and rewards of such a pivot to the east are likely to remain the source of debate for many in Lebanon who are looking for help from any country willing to assist it during a crisis that has been described as the worst of the modern era.

Ultimately, while Aoun’s latest trip abroad was to Doha, many Lebanese may be holding on to hope that his next one will be either to Beijing or Moscow.The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

هدية مجانية لماكرون وابن سلمان يبتسم

الإثنين 6 كانون الأول 2021

ابراهيم الأمين


مشكلة لبنان في إدارة علاقاته الخارجية لم تكن يوماً منفصلة عن مشكلته في إدارة علاقاته الداخلية، خصوصاً أن القوى المحلية تربط، صراحة، علاقاتها ومواقفها بتحالفاتها الخارجية. وهذا ينسحب على السياسيين والاقتصاديين والناشطين والإعلاميين أيضاً. لنأخذ، مثلاً، صاحب إحدى المؤسسات الإعلامية البارزة في لبنان، الذي تربطه صداقة بوزير الإعلام المستقيل جورج قرداحي. إذ إن هذا، عندما طالبه الأخير – من باب الصداقة – ألا يكون شريكاً في سفك دمه، ردّ بأنه يتقاضى راتبه من السعودية وليس من قرداحي نفسه.

الرواية – حتى ولو نفاها الطرفان – تعبّر عن طريقة تعامل اللبنانيين مع أزمات من هذا النوع. هل يمكن، مثلاً، أن نجد إعلامياً أو سياسياً أو ناشطاً أو حزباً أو رجل أعمال يرتبط بعمل أو علاقة دخل مع دول الخليج العربية، يبادر بانتقاد أي خطأ يقع في أي من هذه الدول. هل عثر أحد على ملاحظات نقدية لبرامج التدريس أو التعبئة الدينية أو السياسات الاقتصادية أو الاستهلاكية في هذه الدول، قبل أن نسأل عما إذا كان كل أدعياء الحريات قد علقوا على جريمة قتل وتقطيع الصحافي جمال الخاشقجي؟

الوثائق المسرّبة من عواصم ممالك القهر والموت كافية – ما نشر منها وما لم ينشر – لتشرح لنا طبيعة علاقة طبقة من السياسيين والإعلاميين والاقتصاديين مع هذه الدول وممثليها. ما من دونية يمكن أن تنزل إلى قعر أعمق مما حيث هم اليوم. لا يجرؤ أحد – أي أحد – على انتقاد أو توجيه ملاحظة. هل تتخيّلون، مثلاً، أنه يوم وقعت انفجارات في ميناء دبي في تموز الماضي، لم يجرؤ لبنانيون كثر على التواصل في ما بينهم للسؤال عما يحصل. تماماً كما هي الحال مع عاملين ومقيمين في السعودية ممن يتحدثون، عندما يعودون إلى بلدانهم، عن الحرب على اليمن وآثارها الداخلية، ويهمسون عن تعرّض قصور ملكية في الرياض لإصابات مباشرة بالقصف. أما السؤال حول كيفية تعامل اللبنانيين المقيمين هناك مع الإعلام الوارد من لبنان، فلهذا فصل آخر. إذ إن جلهم عمد إلى كل الخطوات التقنية التي تحول دون العثور في حواسيبهم أو هواتف أولادهم أو حتى في باقة القنوات الخاصة بشاشاتهم الصغيرة، على أي أثر قد يعرّضهم لـ«خطر» الاستماع أو قراءة أو متابعة ما يصدر عن جهات قريبة من محور المقاومة. وبالمناسبة، فإن الضغط في هذا المجال لم يعد يقتصر على العاملين اللبنانيين في السعودية، بل حتى على العاملين مع السعوديين ممن يقيمون في بلدان أخرى. وبلغت الأمور حدّ تجنّب وسائل إعلام لبنانية وعربية، قدر المستطاع، استضافة من يحتمل أن يوجه انتقادات مباشرة أو انتقادات لسياسات السعودية ودول الخليج.

الانقسام اللبناني لا يقتصر على الهوية الوطنية والسياسات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية بل حول مفهوم الكرامة أيضاً

عملياً، نحن في مواجهة آلة من الشر تقودها السعودية بمشاركة الغرب. وعندما يتجاوز رئيس فرنسا كل أطروحاته حول الحريات وحقوق الإنسان، ولا يخشى أن يصافح قاتلاً كمحمد بن سلمان، فهو يفعل ذلك لأنه يعرف أنه لا يوجد في فرنسا نفسها من يحاسبه، ولأنه يريد تحصيل ما أمكن من عقود توفر أموالاً لشركات بلاده، مع إدراكه بأن الرياض بقيادة ابن سلمان تتجه إلى تولي الإدارة المباشرة لعشرات الشركات التي كانت تتخذ من دبي أو الدوحة أو الكويت أو حتى المنامة مقراً لإداراتها الإقليمية، وبدأت إبلاغ شركات عالمية كبرى بأن عليها نقل مكاتبها الإقليمية إلى جدة أو إلى نيوم (بعد اكتمالها) تحت طائلة عدم التعاون معها (وزيارة السعودية من بوابة جدة تبدو تعايشاً سعودياً مع الوجهة الجديدة لابن سلمان بنقل كل شيء إلى جدة وإلى الساحل القريب من البحر الأحمر، ونيته جعل جدة العاصمة السياسية والتجارية والدينية ومنطلق الأنشطة السياحية والإعلامية). ولا يأخذ ابن سلمان بالاعتبار، في ذلك، غضب شيوخ أبو ظبي ودبي الذين باتوا يستشعرون هذه الخطوات التي ستدفع بعشرات الشركات للانتقال إلى السعودية، وبينها ما يشغّل عشرات الآلاف في الإمارات، كما هي الحال بالنسبة لوسائل إعلامية كبيرة تخشى على نفسها إن جرى إلزامها الانتقال إلى السعودية، وفي مقدمها شبكة «mbc».

عملياً، يتصرّف ماكرون في السعودية كأنه نعمة طعمة! الأخير مقاول مستعد لمراضاة آخر مولود في عائلة آل سعود إذا كان في ذلك ما يحفظ له عقود عمله في السعودية. وهذا الأخير، شأنه شأن غيره من رجال الأعمال في لبنان ومصر وسوريا والأردن، مستعد لممارسة كل أنواع الضغط في بلده لتحسين صورة السعودية. هذا، بالضبط، ما فعله ويفعله ماكرون الذي يسعى إلى تحقيق جملة من المكاسب في هذه المرحلة، لكنه لا يريد صرفها إلا في الانتخابات الرئاسية الفرنسية المقبلة. في هذه النقطة بالتحديد، نجح ماكرون في جرّ طبقة سياسية لبنانية بأكملها نحو مربعه، لخدمته في تنظيم علاقة خاصة مع الرياض لا نتائج لبنانية لها سوى أن «مملكة الخير» قد تفكّر في «العفو» عن لبنان، إذا ما استكمل خطوة استقالة قرداحي بخطوات عملية أخرى.

لكن ما هي هذه الخطوات؟

ظاهرياً، يحق لنجيب ميقاتي الزهو بأنه حقّق انتصاراً إعلامياً كبيراً في نجاحه بدفع قرداحي إلى الاستقالة، وهو يعتبر أنه انتصر على جمع كبير من القوى في لبنان، من حزب الله وميشال عون إلى سليمان فرنجية وآخرين، كما نجح في التنمّر على حلفائه – خصومه من نادي رؤساء الحكومات بأنه أقدر على الوصول إلى ابن سلمان منهم، بالتالي لا يحتاجهم لتحقيق ذلك، ومن دون أن يقدم تنازلات من كيسه. وفوق ذلك، انتزع التغطية التي تتيح له الاستمرار في الحكومة وطي صفحة «البحث» في استقالته أو استقالتها. لكن ميقاتي يعرف أن ما حصل في الرياض لا يعدو كونه كلاماً بكلام، لأن تحقيق ما تطلبه السعودية يتطلّب حرباً أهلية في لبنان. فالدب الداشر يريد من اللبنانيين جميعاً، ومن الفرنسيين أيضاً، الدخول في معركة مع حزب الله كرمى لعيونه، وإلا سيظل غاضباً… والويل لكم من غضبه. كل ذلك في مقابل «تنازله» بقبوله الاتصال بميقاتي، في حضور ماكرون وبإصرار منه، أو الطلب إلى وزير خارجيته فيصل بن فرحان تسهيل «زيارة عمرة» لرئيس الحكومة وترتيب لقاء معه، من دون ضمانة مسبقة بأن يستقبله ابن سلمان نفسه.

لكن، ما الذي حصّله لبنان من هذا كله؟

أمر واحد، وهو تأكيد أن الانقسام ليس فقط حول السياسات الخارجية والاقتصادية والمالية والإدارية والانتخابية، بل هو انقسام حول مفهوم الكرامة الوطنية، خصوصاً عندما لا يرف جفن جيش كبير من التافهين، سياسيين واقتصاديين ورجال أعمال وإعلاميين، إزاء ما حصل، بل يواصلون إعطاء الدروس في كيفية بناء العلاقات مع الدول… وإذا كانوا بهذه الوضاعة أمام ابن سلمان، فكيف ستكون صورتهم أمام ماكرون، وهم الذين يعانون دونية مستمرة تجاه الرجل الأبيض…

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جورج قرداحي: الاستقالة والتوقيت والضمانات

السبت 4 كانون أول 2021

 ناصر قنديل

منذ اليوم الأول للأزمة التي افتتحها القرار السعودي بوقف العلاقات الدبلوماسية والإقتصادية مع لبنان، وضعنا استقالة الوزير جورج قرداحي خيارا في سياق المعالجة لا ينتقص من شجاعة وفروسية موقف الوزير قرداحي، فقلنا في مقالة 1-11-2021 “حل الأزمة ليس عند الوزير جورج قرداحي، فلا تلقوا بأحمال كل هذا التخلف على كاهله، ويكفيه فخراً أنه أضاء على مظلومية اليمن، وأضاء على معاني السيادة، وسواء استقال لمنع أن تستقيل الحكومة وندخل في الفراغ والفوضى ويتهدد سلمنا الأهلي، أو بقي لأن الموقف سلاح، فقد قدم المثال على ما يجب أن يكون عليه مفهوم السيادة والحرية والاستقلال، التي تختزنها الأزمة الراهنة، والتي يكثر الآخرون استعمالها كسلع لا كقيم أيضاً، حتى صارت ثلاثية حرية سيادة استقلال، تذكرنا بثلاثية الفوال، توم وحامض وزيت”. والسبب لجعل الاستقالة خياراً يعود لمعادلة وضعها الوزير قرداحي بنفسه، وهي لا لاستقالة الاذعان واستقالة العقاب، وشاركه الحلفاء بإضافة “لا للإقالة” إليها، وربط الاستقالة بضمانات توظيفها لحل الأزمة، كنقطة انطلاق بقيت بعيدة طالما أخفق رئيس الحكومة في تقديمها، وجاءت بها زيارة الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون إلى الرياض وطلبه للاستقالة كرسالة حسن نية لبنانية للحل، تتيح له أن يطلب رسالة مقابلة لها، لتقدم التوقيت الذي وجد فيه قرداحي اللحظة المناسبة، فما هي الحسابات؟

تقف فرنسا خلف بقاء الحكومة، بينما تطلب السعودية استقالتها وهي تعلم أن الفراغ هو البديل، وبالاستناد إلى الموقف الفرنسي وبنسبة معينة الموقف الأميركي الرافضين لإستقالة الحكومة، صمد رئيس الحكومة امام الضغوط السعودية التي طالبته بالإستقالة، ثم دعته لإقالة الوزير قرداحي، وبالإستناد إلى إستحالة إستقالة الحكومة، تمكن حلفاء الوزير قرداحي من تثبيت رفض الإقالة، بعدما كان رئيس الحكومة يقول الإقالة او استقالة الحكومة، والحلفاء وقرداحي لا يريدون تحمل مسؤولية اخذ البلد إلى الفراغ ولا يريدون هذا الفراغ، وقد بذلوا جهودا وقدموا تنازلات كي تكون هناك حكومة لإدراكهم أن مبدأ وجود حكومة في لبنان يستحق التضحية، وهكذا تمت صياغة معادلة توافق عليها قدراحي والحلفاء وترك له تقدير فرص السير بها، وهي ترجمة الجمع بين التمسك ببقاء الحكومة، والتمسك برفض الإذعان للإملاءات، وفق عبارة أطلقها قرداحي عنوانها، الضمانات، أي لا استقالة مجانية للاسترضاء، ولا تمسك بالمقعد الوزاري إذا أتيحت فرص للحلول، وكانت الاستقالة نقطة انطلاقها، وبات التمسك بعدم الاستقالة إقفالاً لباب الحل وفتحاً لباب استقالة الحكومة.

قد لا ينجح الرئيس الفرنسي في فتح باب الحل مع السعودية، لكن تمسك الوزير قرداحي بعدم الاستقالة كان سيتم تحميله مسؤولية هذا الفشل، سواء من قبل الرئيس الفرنسي أو من قبل رئيس الحكومة، ومعهما جزء كبير من اللبنانيين في السياسة والمجتمع، سيخرجون جميعاً للقول إن حزب الله منع قرداحي من الإستقالة ودفع بلبنان إلى الخراب، وسيكون خيار لعب ورقة استقالة الحكومة تحت شعار تفادي المزيد من إجراءات الغضب السعودي وارداً، أما وأن الرئيس الفرنسي أخذ على عاتقه أن يجلب مقابل الاستقالة خطوة مشابهة على طريق حل الأزمة تفتح الباب لحوار حول الخلافات أو المشكلات العالقة، فما فعله قرداحي هو وضع الأمور بين فرضيتي، نجاح ماكرون، وبالتالي تكون الاستقالة قد أدت مهمتها في فتح الطريق لإنهاء الأزمة، وهذا هو مفهوم المسؤولية الوطنية  الذي لم يحد عنه قرداحي، أو فشل ماكرون، وتكون الاستقالة قطعت الطريق على تحميل قرداحي وحلفائه مسؤولية هذا الفشل، وتظهير المسؤولية السعودية عن إفشال مساعي الرئيس الفرنسي، وما ينتج عن ذلك من تعزيز لعناصر بقاء الحكومة وقطع طريق استقالتها، وإسقاط منطق سحب الذرائع بدليل أن الذريعة الرئيسية تم سحبها ولم يتغير شيء.

الذين ينتقدون الوزير قرداحي وحلفائه في قرار الاستقالة الذي اتخذه ودعموه، ويحاسبونه بمعايير السيادة والكرامة والعنفوان، التي رافقت رفضه للاستقالة، عليهم أن يتخيلوا ما سيحدث لو لم تتم الاستقالة، وتم تصوير الأمور وفق صورة تقول إن كل شيء كان جاهزاً لعودة العلاقات واستئناف الصادرات اللبنانية ووقف أي إجراءات عدائية أخرى، لو جاء الرئيس الفرنسي وقد سبقته استقالة الوزير قرداحي كعلامة حسن نية لبنانية طلبتها السعودية، وأن عدم حدوث ذلك يؤكد نوايا لبنانية سلبية، ولذلك تتفهم فرنسا المزيد من الاجراءات السعودية وليس فقط البقاء على الاجراءات السابقة، وبالتوازي سحب الغطاء لبقاء الحكومة، وهو أمر كاف ليعود رئيس الحكومة لخيار استقالة حكومته، وتصعيد الوضع الداخلي على قاعدة استعصاء تشكيل حكومة جديدة، ورفع وتيرة التصعيد المذهبي، في ظل وضع صعب اقتصادياً وأمنياً تعيشه المناطق اللبنانية كافة، وعندها سيخرج الكثيرون يوجهون الإتهام إلى قرداحي والحلفاء بالتسبب بالخراب.

لم يخطئ الوزير قرداحي باستقالته أمس كما لم يخطئ من قبل برفضها، وترجم في المرتين مفهوم السيادة بصفتها القرار الوطني النابع من حساب المصلحة الوطنية لا الاستجابة لإملاءات خارجية.

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هل تفتح الخطوة الباب أمام تسوية بقيّة الملفات المانعة لانعقاد الحكومة؟ | قرداحي استقال… فلننتظر الرد السعوي

السبت 4 كانون الأول 2021


سياسة المشهد السياسي

يقول متابعون للاتصالات إن الاستقالة ستشكّل إرباكاً للسعودية لجهة التعامل معها (هيثم الموسوي)

مع تقديم وزير الإعلام جورج قرداحي استقالته من الحكومة، لا يمكن إغفال عدد من التطورات. قد لا تؤتي هدية لبنان إلى المملكة العربية السعودية أُكلها، لكنها في الداخل قد تؤمّن انطلاق مسار سياسي جديدالمبادرة الخاصة جدّاً التي قام بها وزير الإعلام جورج قرداحي، بالاستقالة من الحكومة لفتح الباب أمام معالجة للأزمة مع السعودية ودول خليجية، تنتظر أن يلاقيها الطرف الآخر، وسط تباين في التقديرات حول ما يمكن أن تقوم به الرياض ردّاً على هذه الخطوة، ووسط مخاوف من استمرار موقفها من دون أيّ تصعيد في الخطوات الإجرائية، مقابل أن تتراجع دول خليجية أخرى عن إجراءات اتخذتها بتجميد العلاقات مع لبنان.

لكن الأمر ظلّ يلقي بظلاله على غياب الاستراتيجية اللبنانية الموحّدة حيال ملفات حساسة أبسط من الاستراتيجية الدفاعية التي يطالب بها خصوم المقاومة. إذ إن «الانهيار» أصاب مواقع رئيسية في البلاد حيال المطالب السعودية والاستجابة الضمنية للضغوط التي جاءت من الأوروبيين أيضاً، علماً بأن الجميع يعرفون أن القدرة على إدخال تحوّلات كبيرة في الموقف السعودي من لبنان ليست في متناول اليد الآن، بل إن الرياض تبدو مستمرة في التصعيد ريثما تتمكّن من تحقيق توازن على أكثر من صعيد.

ومع ذلك، فإن الخروج «الطوْعي» لوزير الإعلام من الحكومة خلط الأوراق من جديد. تكاتف فرنسا مع رئيس الحكومة نجيب ميقاتي ترافق مع «قبّة باط» سياسية داخلية جاءت من معظم القوى والمرجعيات. وبينما حاول البعض رمي الكرة في ملعب حزب الله، فإن الجميع يعرفون حقيقة موقف الحزب الذي بقي مصرّاً على احترام قرار قرداحي، مع الاستعداد للوقوف إلى جانبه لو قرّر المضيّ في المعركة. لكنّ الآخرين، جميعاً وبلا أيّ استثناء، كانوا في مكان آخر، وعملوا، كل من جانبه، على ممارسة أشكال مختلفة من الضغط على قرداحي لأجل تنفيذ الاستقالة. ومع ذلك، يتصرّف الجميع على أن الاستقالة أمّنت انطلاق مسار جديد في البلد. استعان ميقاتي بـ«الصديق» الفرنسي على الداخِل، ونجح الرئيس إيمانويل ماكرون في انتزاع «هدية» يدخُل بها على مُضيفه في الرياض.

السؤال عن السبب الذي دفَع القوى السياسية إلى ترك قرداحي «على هواه» يتراجع أمام الاستفسار عن «الثمرة» التي سيجنيها لبنان، وخاصّة أن «المطلوب رضاه» لا «مسامح ولا كريم»، فهل حصل لبنان على ضمانات بأن تدفع هذه الخطوة السعودية إلى أن تُعيد النظر بتصعيدها؟

الإجابة عن هذا السؤال قد تكون في ما قاله قرداحي في مؤتمره الصحافي، ولعلّه المختصر الأهم: «نحن اليوم أمام تطوّرات جديدة، والرئيس الفرنسي ذاهب إلى السعودية بزيارة رسميّة، وفهمت من رئيس الحكومة أنّ الفرنسيّين يرغبون في أن تكون هناك استقالة لي تسبق زيارة ماكرون، وتساعد ربّما على فتح حوار مع المسؤولين السعوديّين حول لبنان»، أي أنها «يُمكن أن تصيب أو تخيب»، علماً بأن ما علّقت به قناة «العربية» السعودية كانَ علامة أولى، قائلة: «في خبر عاجل، غير مهمّ للغاية، وزير الإعلام اللبناني يُقدّم استقالته من الحكومة».

بمعزل عن ذلك، يقول متابعون للاتصالات إن الاستقالة، لا شك، ستشكّل إرباكاً للسعودية لجهة التعامل معها؛ إذا قبلت الرياض الهدية وتراجعت عن إجراءات التصعيد، فسيظهر بأن حجم ردة فعلها على تصريح وزير لا يتناسب وحجمها كدولة. أمّا في حال رفضت المبادرة اللبنانية تجاهها، فيتأكد حينها بأن للمملكة أجندة للانتقام من لبنان، وسيحرِج ذلك أصحاب حملة التهويل على وزير الإعلام والذين سعوا طوال الفترة الماضية إلى تحميله المسؤولية.

استقالة قرداحي تريح فرنجية محلياً وخارجياً وانتخابياً

أمّا داخلياً، فإن الجميع يسعون في استثمار الخطوة، كل من وجهة نظره. رئيس الحكومة، الذي يتعرّض للضغط الفرنسي ويواجه الكراهية السعودية، يريد «فك العزلة» التي تواجه حكومته، وقد يسعى إلى استثمار الأمر من أجل إعادة تفعيل الحكومة، ولو أنه يحتاج إلى تسويات أخرى ذات طبيعة سياسية وأكثر تعقيداً ربطاً بمطالب الثنائي الشيعي وتيار المردة بما خص التحقيق في ملف المرفأ.

كذلك، ظهر أن سليمان فرنجية، نفسه، والمحطين به، ولا سيما نجله النائب طوني، يتصرّفون على قاعدة أنه «همّ وأزيح» ربطاً بالمسائل المتعلّقة بواقعهم الانتحابي، من جهة، وحتى بملف الانتخابات الرئاسية، من جهة ثانية، علماً بأن معركة انطلقت حول فرنجية الآن على من يخلف قرداحي، إذ يطمح مسؤولون في التيار نفسه إلى تولّي المهمّة بدلاً من اللجوء إلى صديق كما حصل مع قرداحي.

وتلفت مصادر مطّلعة إلى ضرورة مراقبة ما إذا كانت استقالة قرداحي مجرّدة عن التطورات التي تخصّ ملفات أخرى. وتوقفت المصادر عند تصريح ميقاتي لوكالة «أنباء الشرق الأوسط» في لبنان حول «إصرار الثنائي الشيعي على الفصل بين التحقيق القضائي بانفجار ميناء بيروت والتحقيق مع الرؤساء والوزراء»، وقول ميقاتي: «لدينا في الدستور المجلس الأعلى، وهو محكمة كاملة متكاملة مؤلفة من 8 قضاة من أعلى رتب قضائية، إضافة إلى 8 نواب»، في إشارة ضمنية إلى احتمال اللجوء إلى تسوية تقضي بفصل ملفات التحقيق الموجودة بين يدي المحقق العدلي في قضية انفجار مرفأ بيروت طارق البيطار، من دون الاضطرار إلى عزله أو تنحيته، علماً بأن ميقاتي كان دائم التأكيد على «عدم التدخّل في القضاء»، لكنه أعطى إشارة على استعداده للتراجع خطوة، إذ لفت إلى أن «ما يقوم به القضاء من دمج محاكمة الرؤساء والوزراء مع التحقيق القضائي أثار تباينات»، مؤكداً أن «الفصل بين التحقيقين ضروري حيث إن للعسكريين محكمة عسكرية وللقضاء هناك تفتيش قضائي، وأيضاً أوجد الدستور هذه المنظومة لمحاكمة الرؤساء والوزراء». وتساءلت المصادر عمّا إذا كان ميقاتي «يقول ذلك من عنديّاته، أو أنه استحصل على تراجع فرنسي عن الدعم المطلق لرئيس القضاء الأعلى القاضي سهيل عبود، والقاضي البيطار»، مشيرة إلى أن الأيام المقبلة ستؤكّد ذلك في حال «سجّل عبود خطوة لافتة وخرج حلّ ملف البيطار من القضاء بفتوى دستورية للفصل بين التحقيق وإعطاء صلاحية محاسبة الرؤساء والوزراء لمجلس النواب».

وكان رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون قد شكر قرداحي على مبادرته، مجدّداً التأكيد على حرص لبنان على إقامة أفضل العلاقات مع الدول العربية الشقيقة عموماً، ودول الخليج خصوصاً، متمنياً أن تضع الاستقالة حدّاً للخلل الذي اعترى العلاقات اللبنانية ــــ الخليجية. أمّا ميقاتي، فعلّق عليها بالتأكيد أنها «أتت ضرورية بعد الأزمة التي نشأت مع السعودية وعدد من دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي، ومن شأنها أن تفتح باباً لمعالجة إشكالية العلاقة مع الأشقاء في السعودية بعد تراكمات وتباينات حصلت في السنوات الماضية».

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Lebanese Information Minister resigns ahead of Macron’s visit to KSA

December 03 2021

ByNews Desk

Kordahi’s resignation was made in the expectation that Macron’s visit with Saudi Arabia would help ease the economic pressure on Lebanon

(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

At noon on 3 December, Lebanese Minister of Information George Kordahi submitted his resignation to President Michel Aoun and to the government of Lebanon.

The now former information minister, who joined Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s newly assembled cabinet, resigned over the diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia when Kordahi’s comments against the war in Yemen caused Saudi Arabia to recall its ambassador from Lebanon and ban all Lebanese imports.

Months before assuming his post, Kordahi had said that the Yemenis were defending themselves against the Saudi-led siege on Yemen, calling the war against Yemen ‘futile.’

In a statement given upon his resignation at a press conference, Kordahi said: “An intentional campaign was launched against me in some Lebanese and Gulf media and communication sites,” and that “because of this massive and unjust pressure against Lebanon, I refused to resign.”

He also said that “all those who attacked me in Lebanon were the ones who raised slogans of freedom and independence.”

Kordahi’s resignation on Friday emerged out of the hope that French President Emmanuel Macron’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia would help ease the pressure on Lebanon.

Kordahi told AFP ahead of his resignation that he does “not want to cling to this position if it can be useful,” hoping instead his resignation will come ahead of a possible deal between Macron and Saudi Arabia that would alleviate the economic and political blows waged by the kingdom. “I want to give Lebanon a chance,” he said.

He added that “the interest of my country and family is above my personal interest, and the interest of the Lebanese is more important than my ministerial position.”

“I don’t accept being used as a tool to harm my Lebanese brothers in the Gulf. The war in Yemen will not last forever, and a day will come when the warring sides will sit at the table,” Kordahi said.

At the peak of the crisis, Saudi officials had said that Kordahi’s comments reflected ‘Iranian influence’ in Lebanese politics.

The diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, however, reveals one of many examples of Saudi Arabia’s much more influential position in politics over Lebanon.

In banning Lebanese imports and breaking economic ties over a minor issue, Saudi Arabia demonstrated an aggressive ability to strike at Lebanon’s already struggling economy.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia kidnapped and tortured Saad al-Hariri, the then prime minister of Lebanon, releasing him three weeks later.

Kordahi: Publications Court the Only One Authorized to Deal with Media Affairs

 November 28, 2021

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi stressed that the Publications Court is the only one authorized to deal with media affairs.

In a statement, the Lebanese minister commented on the ruling issued by the military court against Al-Akhbar’s journalist Radwan Mortada.

“The Publications Court is the only one authorized to deal with media affairs, including what is related to the work of journalists under the constitution and the laws regulating freedom of opinion and expression,” read the statement, carried by National News Agency (NNA).

He expressed his hope that this issue would be settled under the Publications Law, while ensuring freedom of expression and the rights of institutions in accordance with regulations and laws.

Source: NNA

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Saudi & Lebanese guests clash over diplomatic crisis

NOVEMBER 12, 2021

Saudi & Lebanese guests clash over diplomatic crisis

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/video-saudi-lebanese-guests-clash-over-diplomatic-crisis/

Link to subtitled video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ga1OAOuoBQ


In a recent talk show program on RT Arabic, Saudi Major General Abdullah Ghanem al-Qahtani and Lebanese journalist Khalil Nasrallah engaged in tense, back-and-forth exchanges over the roots of the current diplomatic crisis between their two countries.

Source: RT Arabic (YouTube)

Date: November 5, 2021

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Abdullah Ghanem al-Qahtani, Saudi Major General:

Great Mr Kamal, the issue has gone beyond Kordahi, Kordahi’s resignation (from his position as Minister of Information) is not required – it won’t be enough (to fix Saudi-Lebanese ties), nor is it (manner) required (to resolve current issues), not even – clearly (saying) – not even the President (Michel Aoun), (Gebran) Bassil (Head of the FPM), or anyone (else’s apology would do), the issue (now) for Saudi Arabia (isn’t related to Kordahi anymore), (Saudi Arabia) very clearly says: ‘we wish (to deal with) Lebanon as a state, we do not wish (to deal with) a militia(-led) Lebanon’, meaning that Hezbollah is the one running Lebanon, hijacking (power) in Lebanon, and making peace and war decisions in Lebanon; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not accept this.

Moreover, (speaking to) brother Khalil and others (as well), why are they upset? Saudi Arabia has done nothing more than withdraw its ambassador (to Lebanon) and told the (Lebanese ambassador to the kingdom) to leave, we do not want to import drugs from Lebanon, what’s wrong with that? What harm (does it cause)? If this issue concerns them a lot, why this nervousness and arrogance? Why (would they) speak in such a way and why (do they act) in such a pathetic and desperate way? Let me assure you something, Hezbollah is hated by Lebanese in Lebanon, the people of Lebanon – (Hezbollah) ignores – (and I’m saying this) to you (too Mr) Khalil, (Hezbollah) ignores millions (of Lebanese people) and says ‘we are Lebanon’, ignoring the people of Lebanon. All the Lebanese people, or most of them, want to get rid of Hezbollah. Look Mr –


– this means –


– (Allow me) for a few (more) seconds, look at (the situation in) Lebanon –


Mr Ghanem, you wish to say to Lebanon: ‘form a government that excludes Hezbollah, we wish to see a Lebanese government in which (there is no representation) of Hezbollah’, through these words you’re telling the Lebanese people: ‘you must exclude Hezbollah from the government and the political scene’, although it (Hezbollah) gained many votes –


(I’m not speaking about) exclusion, (I didn’t mean) the exclusion (of Hezbollah), Mr Kamal, (it’s not a matter of) exclusion, we demand Lebanese sovereignty. Is it (not) reasonable for Hezbollah to be a political component among the Lebanese, (a component) that forms, leads, and takes part in the governance of Lebanon? Should (Sayyed) Hassan Nasrallah do this? Brother, a few days ago, the man (Sayyed Nasrallah) came out (on TV) and said ‘we have a 100,000 fighters, I will crush Lebanon and (everyone) in Lebanon…’, so how would you deal with it? How would you hope for (good and stable) relations with a militant leading a state, hijacking its power? This is out of the question!

In the end – just a few seconds – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to my analysis, I’m not an official, (it) has passed all the boundaries, the choice is now in the hands of the Lebanese, they have an opportunity, they have the elections, they have the international community; France will not do them any good, nor will the US, the IMF is the one telling them ‘I will not lend you a single dollar before the election (takes place)’. (Yet,) what will the elections do? Will it put Hassan Nasrallah (in power) again? Let the Lebanese do whatever they want to, (let them) put Hassan Nasrallah –


– Good –


– as a leader affiliated to Iran, and (after all,) this is their (own) affair.


What do you have to say about that Mr Khalil Nasrallah? He says if Hezbollah was elected (by the Lebanese), let the (ballot) box and citizens elect him again, and (then) let Hezbollah and the ones supporting it in Iran do them (any) good.

Khalil Nasrallah, Lebanese Journalist:

Firstly, I wish to take the whole time I need, because the game of time is somehow leaning in favour of the (other) guest.


– do not interrupt me next time –


– in favour of Abdallah from Saudi Arabia –


– or else I’ll interrupt you, please! –


– The first point, –


– Yes please –


– He hasn’t lived in Lebanon, he doesn’t know (how things are in) Lebanon, he doesn’t know (the reality of) Lebanon at all, he hasn’t read anything about Lebanon, he doesn’t know about the electoral equations, he knows nothing about these numbers. He speaks what he hears on some (TV) channels, or maybe according to what is dictated (to him) by (certain sides) in a certain place.

Secondly, regarding the issue of the Arabic language, I’ve learned the Arabic language very well in Sanaa, so until now, it seems that he hasn’t heard the words of his eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah –


– where did you learn it? –


– (Nasrallah) the hero of the Arabs, he didn’t listen to him when he said –


– where did you and the Sayyed learn (Arabic)? –


– Mr Ghanem –


– Those 100,000 fighters are –


– Did you learn (Arabic) in Qom or Tehran? –


– (Just) a moment –


– (while another party) has a 15,000 fightesr in Lebanon and wants to ignite a civil war (in Lebanon), and is supported by the Saudi embassy, (and this man) is Samir Geagea (Head of the Lebanese Forces party). Sayyed Nasrallah said that day, (and he said it using) formal and eloquent Arabic, he clearly said: (I’ve mentioned the number of) these (fighters) to prevent a civil war in Lebanon, and we prepared them to defend Lebanon (against external aggression and threats); those (fighters) fought in Syria and are fighting against Israel. So, if this issue made Riyadh upset, it’s Riyadh’s problem to deal with –


– They fight in Syria against Israel? –


The third point, in everything Abdallah from Saudi Arabia has said – we (in fact) destroyed your (i.e., Saudi Arabia’s) scheme in Syria, we struck your scheme, we struck your (military) forces and the ‘Jaysh al-Islam’ –


– You fight Israel from Syria! –


– funded by Mohammed bin Nayef which was operated by Bandar bin Sultan in the beginning –


– Why don’t you fight Israel from Lebanon! –


– we know you (Saudis) very well. Thirdly, regarding the issue of –


– We too know you well –


– exporting of –


– we know you well, (we know) all of you militants –


– and accusing us of (exporting) Captagon (drugs), I wish that Saudi Arabia (understands) that Hezbollah does not export such substances. The second issue – and the most important point in this regard – is that they (Saudis) export suicide bombers to many Arab states. (The other) issue regarding the discourse of –


– How many (suicide bombers) have we exported to you in Lebanon? –


– Abdallah from Saudi Arabia, and the discourse of Saudis –


– how many Saudi (suicide bombers) have come to you, to Lebanon? –


– is that you have to do x, y, and z… what do you have to do with (Lebanon)? Whether Hezbollah is part of the (Lebanese) government or not? What do you have to do (with Lebanon’s internal affairs)? Mind your own problems, and mind your Yemen-related issues –


– and you, stay (concerned with the internal affairs of) Lebanon –


– Look (for solutions; what) should you do with the Yemen (issue) –


– Enjoy (having) Hezbollah (in Lebanon)! –


– the country which you have attacked in the first place. Above all –


– what do you have to do with Yemen?


More importantly, if you wish to see the extent of Saudi arrogance, the Saudi foreign minister said in his statement, very clearly – and clearly you’re free to jump in and talk over me, because they didn’t mute your microphone – if you go back to the Saudi foreign minister’s statement, (you’ll see) that he’s making impossible demands.

These impossible demands are the very same ones the Americans used to make, all US statements by the ambassador (to Lebanon), or David Hale used to speak of removing Hezbollah’s influence over the government, even though Hezbollah is not in control of the government…still they used to say that.


They also told you to form a technocratic government, and asked for everyone not to interfere, including Hezbollah…


When…when – the nature of the government is none of their business, neither the Americans’ nor anyone else’s, and the government turned out to be just as the Lebanese wanted it to be. This is very clear.


But that’s the French proposal. The proposal was to form a technocratic government…

The floor is yours Mr. Nasrallah…can you hear me?


Oh…no I didn’t hear you well…


What I said was that the French proposal was to form a technocratic government, a non-party government, and to keep all parties away from the government…and they later on said that it can be a technocratic government whose ministers are appointed by the different parties.


No, no, no…allow me to clarify. The French proposal, at first, was to form a national unity government that (espoused) a new political contract in Lebanon, which the Americans rejected. So, they proposed (a less effective solution of) forming a mission-driven government. “Mission-driven government” is somewhat an ambiguous term, and was part of what the Americans wanted, because at the time American pressure on Lebanon was at its highest. This led us to the formation of this government, not because a certain foreign power wanted this government to be formed, but because a certain party in Lebanon, Hezbollah, did not accept that the Lebanese people be humiliated, and brought in the fuel shipments, thereby forcing the Americans to accept the formation of a government in Lebanon, or at least to allow it to happen. By doing so, they overturned some previous objections, including (those of) the Saudis.

Not to stray too far off track, as for the Saudis, their main crisis is Yemen, that’s where their problem is. When they spoke with the Iranians, they made a few awkward suggestions…


Stick to Lebanon…(you have enough problems as it is)


…and the Iranians replied and told them that they should talk these things over with Hezbollah. This really irritated them (the Saudis). We understand how they deal with things, this mentality.

In Lebanon also, let me tell Abdallah something important, they (the Saudis) had some political forces whom they (encouraged) towards a civil war in 2017, and detained Lebanon’s Prime Minister (Saad Hariri), who also has Saudi citizenship.

Regardless of whether I agree with (Hariri) or not, the (Saudi) move was foiled.

Now, before the Tayouneh (massacre), and they (the Saudis) know full-well who they’re funding, the Lebanese Forces party, which is working for Saudi Arabia, has also failed in this task. They opened fire on civilians, and Hezbollah made a wise decision (to prevent any armed reaction).

Saudi options in Lebanon are now beginning to run out, and so they went toward this option (the diplomatic crisis over Kordahi)…and by the way, this business of cutting diplomatic relations has run counter to US wishes. The Americans did not agreed to the resignation of the Mikati government, they did not agree on a more severe embargo, and now the Saudis have begun to discover – and they will arrive to this conclusion in the near future – that they made a decision…just us the UN Secretary General says that the war on Yemen is foolish, this decision of theirs is also foolish. This is a decision that will have no favorable returns for them.

This show that they’ve put on, that the Bahraini government has followed in their stead, as well as the Hadi government in Riyadh, and the Abu Dhabi government…


What do we stand to lose?


…and so, in this next period, they’ll come to the realisation that they’ve made a wrong decision, and this decision will backfire. Let them go to Yemen, where they should talk to the government in Sana’a, peer to peer. This gamble of theirs will lose, and it has begun to lose, just as they’ve lost in other instances, they will also lose now.

Sayyed Nasrallah: ‘Israel’ Holding More Military Drills for Fear of Hezbollah Invasion, Saudi Pressure on Lebanon Targets Resistance

November 11, 2021

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed on Thursday that the Resistance martyrs are an immense moral, spiritual, and emotional fortune in our cities, villages, families and tribes.

Addressing Hezbollah ceremony on Martyr Day held separately in Beirut’s Dahiyeh, Southern Lebanon, Mount Lebanon and Bekaa, Sayyed Nasrallah called for reviewing the wills of the martyrs loaded with religious and moral lessons.

Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted the noble stance of the martyrs’ families who repeatedly affirm their readiness to make more sacrifices, hailing their steadfastness in this regard.

Hezbollah leader indicated that the martyrs’ blood has led to several important achievements, including the liberation of the prisoners and the occupied territories, ongoing deterrence of the Israeli aggression, prevention of the civil war in Lebanon, frustration of US schemes to control Lebanon completely, and preservation of the nation’s freedom and independence.

Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted also how the Resistance managed to defeat the takfiri war on Syria, adding that the visit of the UAE foreign minister to Damascus represents an Arab acknowledgement of defeat in the terrorist campaign which some Arab regimes paid billions of dollars to fund it.

‘Israel’ afraid of Hezbollah Infantry

His eminence maintained that, for the first time since 70 years, ‘Israel’ shows fear on Lebanon’s border, adding that the Zionist army is drilling periodically because it is concerned about Hezbollah military capabilities.

The Zionists have added the term ‘Galilee’ to the confrontation formula, according to Sayyed Nasrallah who added that the Zionists are afraid of Hezbollah invasion of Galilee settlements.

“Regardless of the liberated region’s area, the consequences of Hezbollah invasion will be strategic, according to Sayyed Nasrallah who added that the Israelis take the military preparations of the Islamic Resistance very seriously.

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the Israelis are afraid of Hezbollah infantry and its ability to conquer Galilee and the entire northern area in occupied Palestine, adding that the Zionist enemy is also concerned about the Resistance precision-guided missiles.

Neither the normalization deals, nor occupation sites, nor fences, nor fortresses would be able to protect ‘Israel’ from the Resistance fighters in Lebanon, Palestine and the entire region, Sayyed Nasrallah said.

Sayyed Nasrallah cited a partial US influence in Lebanon, adding that the statesmen often obey the US orders.

Regarding the demarcation of the marine borders with the Israeli occupation entity, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that the Lebanese state must take a sovereign decision to confront the US pressures and insist on all the national rights, regardless of all the wicked US offers (Hof Line).

Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that Hezbollah is ready to defend every grain of sand and drop of water in order to protect the national sovereignty.

Sayyed Nasrallah maintained that there are several instances of the US domination over Lebanon in several domains, adding, however, Hezbollah looks for a sovereign state that maintains equality among its citizens.

One of the simplest forms of preserving the national sovereignty is the rejection of the foreign dictates and pressures, Sayyed Nasrallah said.

Fabricated Diplomatic Crisis with Saudi

Hezbollah stressed that the Saudi reaction to the remarks made by the information minister, George Kordahi, is extremely exaggerated, adding that the Saudis did not react at all to similar remarks made by US and UN officials.

Sayyed Nasrallah asked, “Why has not Saudi Arabia that claims to be following the Islamic ruling system and its king alleges to be the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, react to figures, communities and governments which abused and insulted the Prophet?

“Were Kordahi’s remarks more abusive than the insults against Prophet Muhammad?”

Minister Koradahi did not use offensive terms while criticizing Saudi Arabia who stirred up the trouble in order to confront Hezbollah, according to Sayyed Nasrallah who recalled the Saudi role in inciting the Israelis against Lebanon during 2006 War.

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that Saudi does not deal with Lebanon as a friend, citing the two instances of Iran and Syria which take positive attitudes toward Lebanon despite the involvement of some Lebanese parties in insulting them and conspiring against them.

Sayyed Nasralah stressed that Hezbollah rejects the resignation of the information minister, adding that the Saudis will pressure the Lebanese authorities to make more concessions.

Sayyed Nasrallah explained that when the former foreign minister, Charbel Wehbe, resigned under the Saudi pressures, the KSA authorities did not show any positive reaction.

The ongoing Saudi pressure on Lebanon is part of the ongoing battle with the Resistance, according to Sayyed Nasrallah who noted that Riyadh wants its allies in Lebanon to engage in a fight against Hezbollah and ignite a civil war.

Saudi War on Yemen

Hezbollah Secretary General stressed that the Iranians did not ask the Saudis during their recent negotiations to contact Hezbollah in order to end the crisis in Yemen, adding that Riyadh was advised to hold negotiations with Ansarullah Movement.

Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated that the end of the Yemeni crisis requires that Saudi halts the aggression and lift the blockade on Yemen, adding that the victories in Yemen were created by Yemeni leaders, brains, miracles and divine aids.

Sayyed Nasrallah also underscored that the Yemeni army and popular committees victory in Marib will be resounding, adding that the Saudi aggression will have completely failed after a 7-year costly war.

Hezbollah Reality in Lebanon

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that Hezbollah is the largest political party in Lebanon, but that its influence in the Lebanese institutions is smaller than that of the other parties.

Sayyed Nasrallah refuted the claims about Hezbollah control of the Lebanese institutions by showing instances of the Party’s inability to change the official decision of the government, including the restoration of ties with Syria in order to sustain the economic cooperation in this regard, the approval of the Chinese, Russian and Iranian investments, and the recuse of the judicial investigator into Beirut Port blast as the Party sees he is politicizing the probe.

Sayyed Nasrallah also wondered how Iran, accused of occupying Lebanon, could not dock a diesel ship at a Lebanese port.

Tayouneh and Khaldeh Massacres

Regarding Tayouneh massacre, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that its file is completely separated from that of the Beirut Port blast, denying any trade off in this context.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that what is required is the disclosure of truth and restoration of justice in both files, adding that Hezbollah wikll continue following up the investigations into the massacre committed deliberately by the “Lebanese Forces” till the criminal get punished.

Moreover, Sayyyed Nasrallah reaffirmed that criminals involved in Khaldeh massacre will be also punished, adding that Hezbollah will be then ready to hold any reconciliation in the town.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Hezbollah Deputy SG Urges Saudi Arabia to Stop Interfering in Lebanon’s Internal Affairs

Nov 11, 2021

Hezbollah Deputy SG Urges Saudi Arabia to Stop Interfering in Lebanon’s Internal Affairs

By Staff, Agencies

A top official of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah calls on Riyadh to stop meddling in the country’s internal affairs amid a Lebanon-Saudi rift over comments on the Yemen war.

“Lebanon is an independent country that does not accept subordination to anyone,” al-Manar television network cited Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem as saying at a graduation ceremony on Wednesday.

Referring to the current dispute with Saudi Arabia, the senior Hezbollah official stressed that it was Riyadh that started the problem with Beirut.

 “We don’t have any demand from it [Saudi Arabia] but to stop interfering in our [Lebanon’s] internal affairs,” he stressed.

Sheikh Qassem on Sunday had said the real target of the Saudi diplomatic aggression on Lebanon “has been always Hezbollah as well as its military power.”

Tensions rose between Riyadh and Beirut following critical comments made by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi regarding the Saudi-led war against Yemen.

On October 29, Saudi Arabia gave the Lebanese ambassador 48 hours to leave the country over Kordahi’s remarks. The kingdom also imposed a ban on all imports from Lebanon.

The measures were taken days after an interview with Kordahi was aired by an online show affiliated with Qatar’s al-Jazeera television network.

During the interview, Kordahi called the Saudi-led Yemen war futile, and said that Yemeni army forces and their allied fighters from Popular Committees are defending themselves.

The interview was recorded before Kordahi was appointed as minister, but it aired on October 25.

Saudi Arabia and some of its regional allies, backed by the US and other Western powers, have been waging a devastating war on Yemen since March 2015 to reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The Saudi war, which Riyadh had claimed would last only a few weeks, but is still ongoing, has failed to achieve its goals. It has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, killed tens of thousands of innocent people, and destroyed the impoverished state’s infrastructure.

Elsewhere in his Wednesday remarks, Sheikh Qassem pointed to a last month’s deadly shootout in Beirut and noted that the resistance movement dealt wisely with the massacre which was committed by the Lebanese Forces [LF] political party in Beirut in mid-October.

At least seven people were martyred and 60 others injured in the attack on October 14, during which Hezbollah supporters were shot from rooftops while they were gathering to peacefully protest against a judge investigating last year’s Beirut Port explosion as they accused him of bias.

In a statement, Hezbollah and its ally Amal Movement said armed groups affiliated with the LF party, a former militia group during the 1975-1990 civil war, fired at the protesters from rooftops, aiming at their heads, in an attempt to drag Lebanon into new sectarian strife.

“Hezbollah and Amal movement spared the country from going into the unknown,” Sheikh Qassem stressed, calling for a “fair, impartial and transparent judiciary.”

Hezbollah Main Target of Saudi Diplomatic Aggression – Deputy SG

Nov 8, 2021

Hezbollah Main Target of Saudi Diplomatic Aggression - Deputy SG

By Staff, Agencies

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General His Eminence Sheikh Naim Qassem said Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic war on Lebanon to only be a pretext for targeting the Lebanese resistance movement.

“Saudi launched a diplomatic aggression on Lebanon, but its real target has always been Hezbollah and its military power,” Sheikh Qassem noted on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Lebanon and expelled the Lebanese envoy to Riyadh late last month.

The move came after George Kordahi, currently Lebanon’s information minister, said during a television program that the 2015-present Saudi-led war on Yemen was an act of aggression by Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates, the kingdom’s most significant ally in the military campaign.

Kordahi called the war “absurd,” saying it had to stop because he was opposed to wars between Arabs. The minister also said the Yemeni army forces and their allied fighters from the Popular Committees were “defending themselves… against an external aggression.”

The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and pushed the entire Yemen close to the brink of outright famine.

The UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait have, however, followed in Saudi Arabia’s footsteps by severing their diplomatic ties with Lebanon.

In earlier remarks, Sheikh Qassem called on Riyadh to apologize to the Lebanese people for its actions concerning Lebanon, emphasizing that Hezbollah supported existence of normal ties between the countries “on the basis of respect and independence.”

Despite Riyadh and its allies’ insistence on deepening the diplomatic crisis with Lebanon, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib has also called for initiation of talks with Saudi Arabia as part of efforts aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute.

US Calls on the Gulf States to Restore Relations with Lebanon

Nov 5, 2021

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen net

The United States of America calls on the Gulf states to restore relations with Lebanon. The spokesperson for the US State Department, Ned Price, says that an effective dialogue must be initiated with Beirut.

US' Ned Price urges Lebanon government to stop Hezbollah's rocket fire at  Israel
The spokesperson for the US State Department Ned Price

The US called on the Gulf states to revive relations with Lebanon, saying that the struggling nation needed international support. The comments came in the wake of the crisis that Gulf countries maintained that were sparked by old remarks of the Lebanese Information Minister’s George Kordahi.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, “Our position is that diplomatic channels should remain open if we are to seek to improve the humanitarian conditions of the Lebanese people.” 

Blinken: the US will aid Mikati’s efforts to restore political stability

Yesterday, on the sidelines of the UN climate meeting in Glasgow, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Blinken stated that the US would assist Lebanon in its efforts to recover from a historic economic catastrophe, as well as aiding Mikati’s efforts to restore political stability after a more than one-year power vacuum.

Yesterday as well, France called on the regional parties and officials in Lebanon to calm and initiate a dialogue, stressing the need to distance Beirut from crises in the region. 

The Begining of the Crisis

The crisis began last week when Saudi Arabia summoned its ambassador in Lebanon for consultations Friday, while it requested the ambassador of Lebanon to leave the kingdom within 48 hours and decided to stop all Lebanese imports to the kingdom.

حكومة المملكة تستدعي السفير في لبنان للتشاور، ومغادرة سفير لبنان لدى المملكة خلال الـ (48) ساعة القادمة، وتقرر وقف كافة الواردات اللبنانية إلى المملكة.https://t.co/UHdiGG5Cm4#واس_عام— واس العام (@SPAregions) October 29, 2021

Following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait asked the Lebanese ambassador to leave their territories within 48 hours. In turn, the UAE recalled its diplomats from Lebanon and issued a travel ban for its citizens to the Country.

What did Kordahi state?

Lebanese Minister of Information George Kordahi described the Yemen war as “futile,” adding that “Ansar Allah group has been defending itself in the face of external aggression against Yemen for years,” which provoked international and local reactions.

Yesterday, sources close to the Lebanese Minister of Information, George Qardahi, told Al-Mayadeen that Kordahi will not resign, and this position has not changed.


Sayyed Safieddine: Lebanese Crisis Rooted In MBS’ Fear of Yemen’s Marib Liberation

Nov 1, 2021

Sayyed Safieddine: Lebanese Crisis Rooted In MBS’ Fear of Yemen’s Marib Liberation

By Staff, Agencies

The Head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, His Eminence Sayyed Hashem Safieddine said the diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia is rooted in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS]’s “fear” of the liberation of the Yemeni strategic city of Marib as Beirut supports Yemenis fighting the Saudi war.

Sayyed Safieddine noted in a statement that it is not “reasonable” to think that the diplomatic crisis is related to remarks made by the Lebanese information minister “it is rather greater than that.”

“What is happening in Saudi Arabia is a major thing, as the Saudis and the Gulf [countries] in general, who have followed the path of forming relations with ‘Israel’, cannot bear a voice from Lebanon and others who will criticize them in the future over the Saudi-‘Israeli’ relations, which will be made public in the coming days,” he added.

The senior Hezbollah official further underlined that the Saudi Crown Prince lives in a state of “dilemma and anxiety” and will have to face an excessive situation after the fall of Marib, emphasizing that MBS is fearful of losing all his illusions.

Sayyed Safieddine warned that all those who work to interrupt the Lebanese government, undermine the country’s stability, and mount US and Saudi sanctions to destroy Lebanon, highlighting Hezbollah’s sacrifices “in order not to lead our country to internal clashes, and for this, we [have striven to] resolve the economic and internal problems of the Lebanese people.”

His Eminence emphasized that those who are pushing to fabricate security, diplomatic and political crises in Lebanon are the ones that are working to sabotage the country.

He said that the future of Lebanon is not in the hands of the Saudis “but in the hands of God and thanks to those who sacrificed for the dignity of the country.”

Saudi Arabia will not tolerate any criticism in the future, especially after its relations with the ‘Israeli’ regime will be public in the coming days, the Hezbollah official added.

The Saudi-Lebanon row began after current Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi said during a television program that was recorded before Kordahi became minister, but was aired last Monday, that the 2015-present Saudi Arabia-led war on Yemen was an act of aggression by Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates [UAE], the kingdom’s most significant ally in the military campaign.

Kordahi called the war “absurd,” saying it had to stop because he was opposed to wars between Arabs. The minister also said the Yemeni army forces and their allied fighters from the Popular Committees were “defending themselves … against an external aggression.”

The Saudi kingdom subsequently recalled its ambassador from Beirut and expelled the Lebanese envoy from the Saudi capital.

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البداوة القطرية والتمدن الفينيقي اللبناني

نوفمبر 1 2021

 ناصر قنديل

القرار السعودي بقطع العلاقات الدبلوماسية والتجارية مع لبنان، والسعي لتعميمه خليجياً، رداً على تصريح سابق لوزير الإعلام جورج قرداحي، هو كمن يطلق طائرة حربية بزعم ملاحقة عصفور يزعجه، لا يفسر إطلاقها حجم الهدف المدعى، فالقرار وما سبقه من حملة غضب مفرط يثيران تساؤلات أبعد مدى بكثير من الحدث ورد الفعل عليه، لو سلمنا باعتباره أزعج حكام السعودية، وأبعد مدى حتى من محاولة تحطيم الشخصية الوطنية وروح الكرامة فيها وإذلالها وصولاً لتطويعها، بداعي التمنين بالحاجة للمال، وفي توقيت تبدو السعودية مثقلة بهمها اليمني الآخذ في التسارع نحو الخسارة الكبرى، ويبدو لبنان في ظل حكومة تعاني صعوبة التعافي، فكلما تعافى فيها جرح تفتحت جروح، والمنطقة ولبنان على أبواب استحقاقات كثيرة، تتيح تفسير حال الاضطراب التي تعيشها قوى إقليمية ومحلية، ما يدفعها مواقف وخطوات تصعيدية تحتمل الكثير من المخاطرة والمغامرة وصولاً للمقامرة، كما كانت حال ما فعله التورط في مجزرة الطيونة، أملاً بتداعيات أكبر منها تجعلها في النسيان.

لا يمكن النظر لحجم الضغط السعودي، والسعي لجعله خليجياً، بالتناسب مع ما تعلنه الحكومة السعودية عن إدارة ظهر تجاه لبنان، أو انزعاج مما يقال بحقها من قبل أطراف لبنانية، فالسعودية منخرطة عميقاً في السياسة اللبنانية، لكن على قاعدة لا للاستقرار في لبنان، ولا لحكومة، أي حكومة في لبنان، وألم يثبت أنه لم يكن مع الرئيس سعد الحريري حصراً، تحت شعار لا للحريري، بل لا للحكومة، لأن شرط اللااستقرار هو اللاحكومة، والذهاب إلى الضغط الأقصى في استعارة لمصطلحات الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب، له وظيفة واحدة، هي الدفع بالانقسام اللبناني تحت عنوان الابتزاز الذي تمثله العلاقة مع السعودية، لوضع مستقبل الحكومة على بساط البحث، عبر دفع فريق لبناني للضغط باتجاه التضحية بالحكومة استرضاء للسعودية إذا تعذر ضبطها تحت سقف الرضا السعودي، وبعد إسقاط الحكومة وما يرتبه من فوضى وانهيار، وإقفال لباب البحث بالحلول السياسية والاقتصادية، والذهاب للانتخابات، يفتح الباب للتدهور الأمني، حيث القوى الحليفة للسعودية تحاول ملء الفراغ في ساحاتها الطائفية.

خلال سنوات مضت على تولي العماد ميشال عون رئاسة الجمهورية، لم يقم الرئيس بزيارة أي من سورية وإيران، بل بادر في أول زيارة خارجية إلى زيارة السعودية، وضبط إيقاع علاقته بالعرب الآخرين وبسواهم، كالحال مع إيران، على ساعة توقيت عدم إزعاج السعودية، وعندما تحدث وزير الخارجية السابق بكلام تسبب بالغضب السعودي، كان يكفي الاعتذار عن مضمون عنصري ورد فيه بحق البدو، ذهب رئيس الجمهورية لطلب الاستقالة من الوزير شربل وهبة، وخلال كل الفترة الماضية قبل احتجاز الرئيس سعد الحريري وبعد احتجازه، ولبنان بكل أطرافه يدفع فواتير السير تحت سقف ما يرضي السعودية، لكن لبنان لم ينل من كل ذلك سوى المزيد من التجهم والعبوس والتعالي، ومن يراهن أن إقالة أو استقالة الوزير جورج قرداحي ستغير الوضع واهم ومشتبه، ومن يظن أن استقالة الحكومة سيغير الوضع سواء تجاه لبنان أو تجاه من يكون سبباً في استقالة الحكومة، رئيساً أو وزراء، سرعان ما سيكتشف أن لا شيء تغير سوى أخذ لبنان إلى الأسوأ، فليس ثمة مطلب سعودي واقعي من لبنان يتم الضغط لأجل تحقيقه، هناك قرار سعودي بالانتقام من الفشل في لبنان، بدفعه نحو الفوضى واللااستقرار، فما دامت السعودية تفشل في اليمن فيجب إسقاط لبنان على رؤوس أهله، هكذا ببساطة.

كلام رئيس الحكومة تعليقاً على القرار السعودي عاقل وحكيم، تجاه تأكيد الحرص على السعي لفعل كل ما يخدم تحسين العلاقات مع السعودية، لكن دعوة وزير الإعلام للاستقالة تحت عنوان دعوته لتحكيم ضميره لفعل ما يخدم المصلحة الوطنية، في غير مكانها، وإن ذهبت الأمور بهذا الاتجاه ستكون إهانة مجانية ألحقها لبنان بنفسه بلا مقابل، أما إن تفاقمت الأمور وأودت بالحكومة ووصل رئيسها لحد الاستقالة، فلن تكون بعدها في لبنان حكومة وربما لا انتخابات، ولن يجد الذين فعلوا بنا ذلك لا باباً سعودياً مفتوحاً، وربما لا يجدون وطناً يرجعون إليه بعد السفر.

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Lebanese Information Minister Kordahi: ‘No Question’ Of Resigning Over Saudi Crisis

Nov 1,2021

Lebanese Information Minister Kordahi: ‘No Question’ Of Resigning Over Saudi Crisis

By Staff, Agencies

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi said that resigning is “out of the question” after his remarks on Yemen’s war sparked a diplomatic uproar between Beirut and Gulf states.

“My resignation is out of the question,” Kordahi told Lebanese television channel Al-Jadeed on Sunday, without elaborating.

The row began after George Kordahi, currently Lebanon’s information minister, said during a television program, which was aired last Monday, that the 2015-present Saudi Arabia-led war on Yemen was an act of aggression by Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates [UAE], the kingdom’s most significant ally in the military campaign.

He called the war “absurd,” saying it had to stop because he was opposed to wars between Arabs. The minister also said the Yemeni army forces and their allied fighters from the Popular Committees were “defending themselves … against an external aggression.”

The Saudi kingdom subsequently recalled its ambassador from Beirut and expelled the Lebanese envoy from the Saudi capital.

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Saudi Arabia Has It All Figured Out in Lebanon – As It Had With the War in Yemen!

October 31, 2021

Saudi Arabia Has It All Figured Out in Lebanon – As It Had With the War in Yemen!

By Mohammad Yossef

Beirut – Saudi Arabia is escalating its aggression against the nearly completely devastated and ravaged Lebanon. The so called kingdom of goodness is venting its anger and expressing its frustration because of its humiliating defeats in Yemen. Hence it has exhausted all possibilities in other places; Lebanon continues to function as a venue for Riyadh to send its poisonous messages through!

Nonetheless, these messages will definitely fall on deaf ears, as the world is busy in other places and more important issues, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [KSA] will have to wait  for years before it could restore little of dignity, if any!

The Ansarullah or better known as the Houthis have put the kingdom into shame as its military, regardless of all the support it is receiving, has been receiving devastating blows from the Yemenis.

Aside of all its heavy loss, the hotheaded Saudi leadership continues to carry out its merciless war against the Yemenis with no slightest opportunity to win a battle, let alone the war.

The continuous massacres and war crimes by the Saudi forces and its backers have not been able to break the will of the Yemenis to fight and they have been able to achieve real victories across the whole front.

The United States and the United Nations, as many other governments, have dubbed the war as absurd and futile.

Many governments in the world have called upon Riyadh to put an end to the war without any positive answer from the latter.

The Saudi government, in its struggle to draw the attention to its dilemma and big plight in Yemen, has chosen Lebanon as a mail box to send messages to the West, namely the US.

The Americans are busy minding other issues and would not accept any further political turmoil in Lebanon as they are organizing groups of so called civil society and NGOs, and orchestrating efforts to win the majority in the next parliamentary elections due in the few coming months.

Saudi Arabia is exercising pressure on Lebanon and blackmailing the government to force minister of information George Kordahi to resign because of an opinion about the Saudi war against Yemen that he expressed before assuming his office.

The Kingdom threatened to severe relation with Lebanon and to send tens of thousands of Lebanese citizens working there back to Lebanon.

Not only that, but Riyadh has also forced other gulf countries to adopt similar positions against Lebanon.

This Saudi pressure has been shamefully supported by many Saudi-financed Lebanese media outlets and Lebanese parties and figures. Many of the Lebanese tools who work for Saudi Arabia have sided with Riyadh against their country and government calling for its resignation.

This attitude of vengeance by the Saudis was not well received by the French government which still believes that Lebanon should have a government to be able to address its dire situation.

As such, the Saudi pressure will not substantiate any successful possibility to bring the government down, and if it otherwise did, then Riyadh will be held responsible for all the repercussions and consequences that will come after.

Lebanon would wait for friendly countries to support and help in one of its most dangerous critical situations and not like what the Saudis did by pressuring it.

A time for the Lebanese to contemplate about who their real friends are and who are their adversaries and opponents.

Whatever the case is; Saudi Arabia who was defeated in Yemen will not win in Lebanon. Definitely!

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