Lebanon also Faces its Fate

Lebanon also Faces its Fate

Sunday, 19 November, 2017 - 08:15
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad.
This country, which is smaller in size than Kuwait, has an influence that goes beyond its population and geographic borders. Due to its numerous crises and problems, none of its leaders or parties or regional and international powers have been able to keep it off the track of regional crises.

An example of this was the escalation orchestrated by some government officials, such as the foreign minister and Lebanese president himself, in dealing with Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation. It may seem strange that those most supporting Hariri at the moment are his adversaries. It is likely that they are being prompted by powers that are opposed to Saudi Arabia, such as Qatar and Iran. Iran is determined to seize complete control over Lebanon after it had imposed itself by force over Syria.

Lebanon has always been a theater for regional disputes. It had previously been the arena for conflicts between various Arab powers and leaderships. Later Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser was forced to use it against his rivals in Syria and the Gulf. Iran’s Khomeini used Lebanon against the United States through bombings and assassinations. Syria had the lion’s share in turning Lebanon into an open field for its operations. Late Syrian President Hafez Assad and later his son, Bashar, insisted on meddling in Lebanon’s affairs, despite the political losses they incurred, because they believed that their smaller neighbor was a danger to Syria. They thought that international conspiracies were being concocted there against them.

Today, Lebanon is being used as a workshop and it plays a vital role in the war in Yemen. The Iranians are using it to direct their security, hostile and military operations there. I had discussed this in a previous article.

Beirut was and still is a center for international media and because it is controlled by “Hezbollah”, then nearly all of the Houthis’ non-combat activities pass through Lebanon, not Yemen itself. This includes political, legal and media campaigns against Saudi Arabia and the coalition it is leading.

Beirut was also a safe haven for rebels against the government of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. It was also a center for anti-Maliki activities.

In addition, Lebanon is an important workshop and arena for the Syrian intelligence, recruitment and propaganda war. Most conflicts seek a country like Lebanon with its open and diverse society and weak central authority.

Major regional countries are therefore destined to fight over their power and will not find a way out of avoiding dealing with the situation in Lebanon. There are allies and adversaries. Alliances are never permanent regardless of shared sectarian, ideological or even family ties.

The main and chronic Saudi Arabian problem in Lebanon is Iran, which is represented by “Hezbollah.” This is a problem shared with the majority of regional countries and the world. Riyadh focused on an important message, which is that Lebanon cannot remain “Hezbollah’s” prey. The Lebanese and Arabs, who underestimate the party, may not be aware that it could completely take over the Lebanese state and eliminate all of its diversity and liberties.

“Hezbollah” will destroy all of Lebanon’s independent groups, Christian and Sunni alike, if it forges ahead with its agenda of transforming Lebanon into an Iranian territory. These new challenges are the responsibility of the Lebanese people themselves, who, should they unite against “Hezbollah”, would find regional and international support. If they fail to do so, then they will be the first to lose in the new equation of Iran’s hegemony over Syria and Iraq.

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