Saudi ambassador says some parties want to destabilize the Lebanese-Saudi relationship

Walid al-Yaaqoub, the new Saudi ambassador to Lebanon
Walid al-Yaaqoub, the new Saudi ambassador to Lebanon

Ambassador Walid al-Yaacoub , Saudi Arabia’s new envoy to Lebanon said on Monday that there are some politicians in Lebanon who want to destabilize the Lebanese-Saudi relationship, National News Agency reported

“Unfortunately, there are some parties in Lebanon who do not want good relationship between the kingdom and Lebanon,” al-Yaacoub told reporters following a meeting with former Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, National News Agency reported.

He added that the groups he referred to were “working in all their capacities to distort this relationship, and we are counting on the wisdom of the Lebanese to solve this problem.”

Yaacoub , who did not name the politicians he was referring to met with Information Minister Melhem Riachi to discuss the general situation as well as media and bilateral relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, NNA added .

He also met with Phalange Party leader MP Sami Gemayel at the party’s Saifi headquarters.

The ambassador is trying to meet with the Lebanese political leaders after having presented his credentials to President Michel Aoun last Wednesday. He already met with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

According to analysts , the parties al-Yaaqoub may be talking about is the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group and its allies

Iran and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations following an attack to Saudi Embassy in Tehran in 2016. Bilateral relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been strained over different geo-political issues such as the interpretations of Islam, aspirations for leadership of the Islamic world, oil export policy and relations with the United States and other Western countries. Although Saudi Arabia and Iran are both Muslim-majority nations and follow and rule through Islamic scripture, their relations are fraught with hostility, tension and confrontation, due to differences in political agendas that are strengthened for their differences in faith. Saudi Arabia is a right-wing conservative Sunni Islamic kingdom with a tradition of close ties with the United States and the United Kingdom. Iran is a Twelver Shia Islamic Republic founded in an anti-Western revolution with close ties to Russia, China and Cuba. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are seen to have aspirations for leadership of Islam, and have different visions of stability and regional order.

In the Syrian Civil War Iran has supported the Syrian government militarily and with billions of dollars of aid, while Saudi is a major supplier of aid to rebel groups. Both countries have accused each other of support for terrorism.

After the Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad were ransacked by Iranian protesters, Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3, 2016.

Saudi Arabia is concerned by Iran’s consistent desire to export its revolution across the board to expand its influence within the Gulf region—notably in post-Saddam Iraq, the Levant and within further south in addition to Iran’s controversial, much debated nuclear program.