Lebanon’s Self-Destructive Bent to Confront Sunni Gulf Countries

Beirut, Lebanon, October 22, 2021. REUTERS (AZIZ TAHER /)

The political role of the tribes of Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have managed to maintain a historical good relationship between their rulers and other Arab countries of the Middle East, they have always shown respect for the role of the sects that made up these states and they tried not to interfere with that tribal construction that brings them together to avoid distorting the political life of societies in countries such as Lebanon, Iraq or Syria. With their behaviors, they demonstrated that they have served as positive political actors and important economic support without negatively influencing other countries in the region.

Despite Arab criticisms of the characteristics of Gulf societies, which are usually defined as essentially tribal, the role of that tribal identity did not prevent them from prospering thanks to their natural resources and their proper administration, which allowed them not only do big business worldwide but also inject money into different areas of need in countries like Lebanon, which has happened throughout their modern history.

It is true that there were often moderate discussions within Lebanese society about the building of a state and the national identity of the state; they always failed by not accepting federalism as a form of government. Yet the Gulf countries have been out of that debate and it was not the Sunni states that brought Lebanon to the brink of the current precipice, nor was it those discussions that led to its bloody civil war in April 1975.

The factor responsible for the Lebanese crisis is its own political leadership and sectors of a society whose own mistakes paved the way to civil war by allowing – in his time – the terrorism of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian armed gangs to hijack government institutions. and they will break the esprit de corps of the national army to wage their war for the liberation of Palestine against the Israelis, “but from Lebanese territory, not from Jerusalem.” It was to that end that Arafat and his terrorist groups seized the territory of the country of cedars to wage a war that was totally alien to the Lebanese but for which the country paid a very high price.

Saudi analysts have described the current Lebanese scenario indicating that today the actors and faces change, but history repeats itself again in reference to Yasser Arafat and his violent groups of the past with their expressions of secular and vindictive terrorism, which today takes shape and equals a greater danger in the figure of Hassan Nasrallah and his sacred terrorist organization: Hezbollah, which is trying to establish an Islamic Republic in Lebanon following the Iranian model.

An in-depth survey shows that the Gulf tribes did not take a direct part in the civil war that ravaged Lebanon between 1975 and 1990, contrary to it, as pointed out in one of his last editorials by the Shiite journalist critical of Hezbollah, Lokman Slim. , assassinated in February of this year, the Gulf countries collaborated and helped Lebanon, but stopped doing so due to the influence of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanese affairs, hence the terrorist group is accused of being responsible for his death, still unpunished.

As Slim described in his editorial in the Beiruti daily An-Nahar, the contribution of money that was injected for the comprehensive reconstruction of the country stopped flowing to Beirut due to its position of total subordination to Tehran and the designs of Hezbollah, its strength. military occupation of the country. Thus, If you examine the current role of Hezbollah and its open alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the role played by the Arab tribes of the Gulf in the current crisis in Lebanon is non-existent.

The policymaking and scope of economic power of the Sunni Gulf countries within Lebanon has been withdrawn over the last decade and with it their investments in electricity and in aid of fuel subsidies. There, the lack of electrical energy that plunged the country into darkness and the current lack of fuel must be understood.

In recent weeks, many of the Gulf Cooperation Council (CCPG) states have ostracized Lebanon, even initiating what could be called a boycott for choosing a sterile partnership with Iran that has led to its ruin and destruction. gates from being considered a failed blowout. Thus, the real fact is that the Gulf countries simply have no interest in their affairs given the Lebanese government’s choice to openly hand over its sovereignty and decision-making to Iran through Hezbollah, setting aside a historic brotherhood relationship with Sunni states.

As reported by infobae days ago. In early November, the Saudi kingdom withdrew its ambassador from Beirut and ordered the Lebanese ambassador to leave Riyadh. Saudi companies were also ordered to terminate all relationships with Lebanese companies whose imports were prohibited within the kingdom due to drug trafficking from Lebanon and for which Hezbollah is accused.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Kuwait accompanied Riyadh’s actions, its diplomats were withdrawn from Beirut and the Lebanese diplomats expelled. A package of very harsh measures against Lebanon is also underway, including what could be a mortal blow to its rickety internal economy, that measure will restrict remittances from Lebanese residents in the Gulf, as well as the prohibition of travel and total divestment from the Lebanese economy.

These actions make it clear that, For the first time, most of the Gulf states are not only unwilling to support the Lebanese state and the serious problems of its economy in the face of the terminal crisis that threatens its disintegration, but they are also taking a clear stance to isolate Lebanon, This will aggravate their problems, but that is not the responsibility of the Sunni Gulf countries but of the Lebanese political leadership itself that favored looting and corruption along with all kinds of outrages until bringing its population to the current dire state.

The reason for the Gulf states’ decision has been a series of hostile comments from Lebanese officials against their policies. However, the underlying causes of the de facto abandonment of Lebanon by most Sunni countries has been precipitated since the last decade given the rise in political power of the pro-Iranian Shiite group Hezbollah. Those concerns have been mounting along with Iran’s growing regional influence following the US intervention in Iraq in 2003 and its effective military presence, which goes well beyond Lebanon’s borders.

Thus, after several years of efforts to find ways to maneuver within Lebanon to limit Hezbollah activities, the Sunni states have come to the conclusion that working within Lebanon under the current circumstances is a lost cause.

The first clear sign that the Gulf countries were prepared to move away from Lebanon came in 2016, when Saudi Arabia cut billions of dollars in aid, discouraged Saudi tourism to Lebanon, and in conjunction with the Arab League formally appointed Hezbollah. as a terrorist organization. This eventually resulted in the Gulf petrodollar ATM being shut down for the Lebanese.

Losing the aid that has given it economic oxygen throughout its history is one more absurdity of the many of the Lebanese political leadership, with this it has decided to inflict the most extreme and dangerous damage to its own stability. As a result, the historical affection for Lebanon as a cultural and economic center on the part of the Gulf Arabs, whose origin dated from the 1960s and 1970s, has completely disappeared, no longer exists. The Gulf foreign ministries today perceive Lebanon as a sink for wasted aid, where in the last decade, tens of billions of dollars have been looted by its political leaders, especially in the last decade. Worse still, today Lebanon is the main source of regional instability, terrorism and drug trafficking that is spurred by the Shiite tutelage and protectorate of Iran.

For Sunni Arabs, Lebanon was a relevant actor strategically as a regional and global financial center where in the past the surpluses generated by oil revenues were channeled, the country had an exemplary liberal financial and banking system. However, the path that he decided to travel has led him to his current miserable situation from which he can hardly emerge in the medium term, if he does not fragment before and repeat the bloody and painful experience of his civil war of 1975, something that in this current scenario it should not be ruled out.


The United States and Iran resume negotiations for the nuclear agreement in Vienna