Saudi Arabia has shown “no enthusiasm” in regards to providing support for Lebanon in order to prevent its possible collapse, according to the Nidaa Al-Watan newspaper on Monday.
On Saturday, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman spoke by phone with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss joint cooperation between Saudi Arabia and France, as well as the latest regional developments and issues of common interest.
During the phone call, Macron and Prince Mohammed Bin Salman broke addressed the political failure in the Lebanese files.
The newspaper obtained information from sources following up on the Lebanese file, that Macron brought up the possibility of Saudi Arabia providing help for Lebanon to prevent its collapse.
However, it was to no good. Saudi Arabia publicly made it clear that it believes “the Lebanese should pick their choices better.”
“Support can not be provided for those who choose to share governance with Hezbollah and Iran,” Nida Al-Watan said, quoting its sources.
“Saudi Arabia will not help those who pursue an alliance with those who fight it and seek to destabilize it,” they added.
For years now, Saudi Arabia and Iran, two powerful countries. have been locked in a fierce struggle for regional dominance.
The old conflict between them has been largely led by religious differences. They each follow one of the two main branches of Islam, where Iran is largely Shia Muslim, while Saudi Arabia considers itself as the leading Sunni Muslim power.
However, in the past 15 years in particular, the differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been emphasized by a series of events.
The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq brought the downfall of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Arab who was known for being against Iran.
While in 2011, Iran and Saudi Arabia exploited uprisings across the Arab world for their own benefit, including Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen, further heightening mutual suspicions.
Meanwhile in Lebanon, Iran’s ally, Shia militia group Hezbollah, leads a politically powerful bloc and controls a huge, heavily armed fighting force.
Many observers believe the Saudis forced Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whom it backs, to resign in 2017 over Hezbollah’s involvement in regional conflicts.
In spite of Saudi Arabia’s firm stance in not helping Lebanon, Hariri did answer the Arab States’ call to mediate between Riyadh and Ankara to improve their bilateral ties, which have been shaky for some years now.
In fact, Hariri visited Ankara last week for that purpose, reportedly with an Arab mandate, and met with Turkish President Erdogan for two hours, all while Lebanon’s government formation, despite its urgency, was put on a standstill, waiting for him to resume his efforts.