Analysis: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, ISIS and Hezbollah

hariri king abdullah
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri ( R) , who has close links to the Saudi royal family, announced the one billion US dollar Saudi aid to the Lebanese army after visiting King Abdullah (L) on Tuesday Aug 5, 2014

By Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The additional $1 billion which Saudi Arabia offered to the Lebanese army this week is not a gift but a political act that comes within the remit of curbing the current strife in Lebanon and its surroundings.

Saudi Arabia could have offered this financial aid to build up a Lebanese Sunni militia and would have had many reasons for doing so, from fighting the Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to deterring the Shiite Hezbollah and Bashar al-Assad’s intelligence forces.

Instead, Saudi Arabia chose to support the army in Lebanon – a country full of Christian, Druze and Shiite militias. So why does Saudi Arabia support the army and not Ahmad al-Assir, Khaled al-Daher or Adnan Imama and other Sunnis looking for a funder? It’s not in Saudi Arabia’s interest for Lebanon to turn into an arena for sectarian militias fighting each other on behalf of the region’s countries. It’s also not in the interest of Lebanon’s Sunnis and Shiites to support taking up arms and rebelling against the state. Despite assassinations and political mobilization, Lebanese public opinion remains mostly against resorting to arms, particularly following the destructive civil war that erupted in the 1970s. Therefore, the choice was made to support the Lebanese state and arm its military institution so the army can carry out its duties of protecting the Sunnis and the rest of the country’s factions. Let us recall that although Hezbollah has better arms and has had a fighting force for more than 30 years, it has failed to gain legitimacy despite its claim that it’s a resistance group and the guardian of Lebanon’s borders.

It’s expected that supporting the army and strengthening it will anger groups such as Hezbollah. Hezbollah prefers the creation of Sunni militias so it can justify its existence as an armed Shiite militia. It prefers this scenario over strengthening the Lebanese army – something that can legitimately and militarily threaten it raison d’etre.

Standing against militias

hezbollah ISIS ISIL
Extremist Islamist militants : Hezbollah ( L), a Shiite group backed by Iran ,  Al Nusra front an Al Qaeda linked Sunni group ( top right) and Islamic State an offshoot of Al Qaeda Sunni group ( bottom right)

Saudi Arabia has taken a decision against supporting the concept of militias, whether Sunni or Shiite, in Lebanon and other countries. It considers strengthening the state to be the correct option, not just for the Lebanese people, but for all the region’s countries which are concerned with establishing security. To respond to Saudi Arabia’s decision not to stand against legitimacy, Assad and the Iranian regime have since the 1980s invented religious Sunni leaders that compete with the civil Sunni leadership in order to hijack authority from leaders such as Karami, Solh and Hariri. Even Lebanon’s Sunni mufti, Mohammad Rashid Qabbani is rejected by Lebanon’s Sunnis because they consider him as an employee of the Assad regime! The Lebanese situation is similar to the Palestinian one as Fatah al-Islam, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are linked to the Iranian and Syrian regimes.

Strengthening the Lebanese army means weakening Hezbollah’s scheme to dominate Lebanon and turn it into an Iranian emirate. It will enable the Lebanese to confront Sunni terrorist organizations which came running behind Hezbollah from Syria into Lebanon in this cat and mouse chase. The events in Arsal have proven the importance of having a strong army that stops the meddling of Hezbollah which sought to clash with Syrian groups under the Lebanese army’s flag. Military challenges at state level, from the events in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp to the recent events in Arsal, have proven that it’s not possible to trust Hezbollah and that the Lebanese people will not accept that any party besides the army defends their security.

A political and security meeting got underway at the Grand Serail under the chairmanship of PM Salam and in the presence of former Premier  Saad Hariri and the ministers of defense and interior and key security officials .  The meeting is aimed at discussing the needs of military forces and set a mechanism to spend the Saudi grant.
A political and security meeting was held Friday August 8, 2014 at the Grand Serail under the chairmanship of PM Tammam Salam and in the presence of former Premier Saad Hariri ( hours after he returned to Lebanon after an absence of 3 years) and the ministers of defense and interior and key security officials . The meeting was aimed at discussing the needs of military forces and set a mechanism to spend the Saudi aid.

However, strengthening the Lebanese army does not promise salvation from Hezbollah and other militias as this aim is impossible to achieve in the near future. The aim is to halt Hezbollah’s progress towards its goal of playing the role of the Syrian army, which was expelled from Lebanon after a UNSC decision following Syria’s involvement in the assassination of Hariri nine years ago. A strong Lebanese army will either weaken the militia’s justification that they should have a presence in the country or restrict their activity. In this case, Hezbollah will become a Shiite problem, and resolving it will be left to Lebanon’s Shiites.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel.

Al Arabiya



17 responses to “Analysis: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, ISIS and Hezbollah”

  1. digital82711 Avatar

    The Lebanese people may want an army that can defend Lebanon so that they don’t need Hezbollah, but you don’t defend the country with the army you wish you had, but with the defenders you do have who can and will win battles. And the Lebanese army is not that force.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      They ARE and have been working on it. To keep up the ‘propaganda’ that they ‘can’t’ because Syria left it in the condition of ‘boy-scout-troop’ years ago, is simply propagating what the Assadics want – a submissive Lebanon. As the cabinet says, ‘Back up YOUR Army.’ And really, there are a lot of little militias willing to do that .. too. 😉

      1. Anti ISIS Avatar
        Anti ISIS

        Well 5th, Syria has been out of Lebanon for more than 9 years. So what the hell have they been waiting for. And please 5th, spare me your whole HA spill.

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          I don’t see how you can say they have been out at all. Only their army left.
          Only their sloppy, shitty-temperament army left. With their tanks.
          And Assadics stayed in control. They burned through the whole society.

    2. Anti ISIS Avatar
      Anti ISIS

      That’s right, but HA is.

      1. nagy_michael2 Avatar

        That’s Because in the past and still the present Syria and Iran trained HA instead of building a strong army. why didn’t do that instead? or they want to keep the force secular so it can be used as they will it to? we’re not fools Bro? you can say Iran is willing to help the army now.. well why don’t save Iraqi shiites first from ISIS.. second already the army is being hated by the sunnis because of HA influence and its not Sunni imagination man..
        The Saudi money is best for whole Lebanon and Saudi could have chosen the evil way of arming one group another. the our war could be nastier and long one..

  2. Fauzia45 Avatar

    For a state to exist ,it must have good arms and a strong army !This way it can enforce law and order that are essential for security and stability!!!

  3. This article is so detached from reality its not funny. We live in real time now and the takfiri problem has become a world problem.

    1. The real lebanese Avatar
      The real lebanese

      The article has a whole section just for that.

    2. arzatna1 Avatar

      Takfiris attract each other . This is why the army should take over and the so called resistance ( Hezbollah) should be incorporated into the army .
      Hezbollah’s presence in Syria has attracted the takfiris because birds of feather flock together …. There is absolutely no difference between the two.

      1. Anti ISIS Avatar
        Anti ISIS

        In your bias opinion maybe. Lets be honest with each other here, HA is the only one who can stop these terrorist. Whether you wish to admit or not. And the truth is if these takfiris infiltrate Lebanon, you will run like little mice begging HA to save you and your loved ones. But of course you will never admit this. To put HA in the same category as these takfiris is absurd to say the least. When was the last time you heard HA beheading someone. When was the last time you heard HA strapping a bomb to themselves and killing innocent people. When was the last time you heard HA issuing a fatwa permitting their fighters to rape little innocent children or woman. No my friend, there is a big difference between the two. But I guess ignorance is bliss.

        1. arzatna1 Avatar

          Lets be honest . Hezbollah brought the takfiris here and as long as Hezbollah remains in Syria more takfiris will be on the way to Lebanon . In the end Hezbollah and the takfiris will be running like mice from each other because they will be targeting each other .
          Both are killers and terrorist organizations. There is absolutely no difference . I am not biased . I Think both organizations should not exist in a modern Lebanon because they will take Lebanon 1500 years back . We can’t afford them if we want a state .

          1. Anti ISIS Avatar
            Anti ISIS

            Like I said, in your biased opinion. Do enlighten me, what has HA done for the likes of you to put them in the same category as these mercenary takfiris. What burns you and those that think like you is the fact that HA are the only ones that will save your sorry asses if Lebanon is invaded by the takfiris.

          2. MekensehParty Avatar

            not much, they just peppered the streets with explosive laden cars to blow politicians who disapprove with them and passerby, they destroyed the country for a couple of corpses in 2006 and kissed the Israeli ass since then, they started a small civil war in 2008, banished and threatened all moderate politicians, went to war against the Syrian people and brought back all the shit that comes with it… should I continue or is this a proper summary.
            As for your empty bluff, because that’s what it is in reality and on the ground, if you’re so sure that you can beat these takfiris in Lebanon, why haven’t you kicked their asses in Syria by now? 3 years of massacres and we’re not seeing you beating them in anything, in fact they are closer to you than ever, and the body bag business is flourishing in dahyeh and bint jbeil… Maybe it’s time you morons start listening to good Lebanese like Arzatna who still has a face-saving plan for the naturalization of the irani agents that you are.

      2. You live in a bubble. Either you are naive or in denial as to what is happening around us.

      3. 5thDrawer Avatar

        Actually, they are all trying to ‘out-takfiri’ each other. :-))))))

    3. MekensehParty Avatar

      “the takfiri problem has become a world problem”
      Isn’t that what you wish for?

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