Developments in Lebanon are taking an interesting turn. A turn that was perhaps predictable in the past year or two. Saudi Arabia has announced a cessation of all its aid to Lebanon, effectively conceding defeat in its attempt to pry that country towards it. For the time being.
That includes all sorts of aid: especially military and security. This doesn’t mean aid to Saad Hariri or Fouad Saniora or to its other proxies in Lebanon will stop. But aid to official Lebanese institutions has been stopped. The Saudis said that cut was because of Lebanese behavior which does not help the brotherly (or sisterly) between the two countries. Silly naive me, I had thought all that money for Lebanon was for its just being a brotherly (or maybe sisterly) Arab country.
This has been brewing for weeks, since it became clear that a candidate with the approval of Hezbollah (an ally of Iran and Syria) will become president of Lebanon. This should have been clear for a long time, given that Hezbollah, an Iranian ally, is the largest political party in Lebanon (as well as the most powerful and most effective military force in the country).
Apparently the intervention of Hezbollah (along with Iranian personnel) in the Syrian civil war has not affected its popularity inside Lebanon. That has been a disappointment to the Saudis and their Arab and Western allies, although I could have told them that, but they never asked me.
This may also mean the billions of dollars in agreed Saudi purchases of exclusively French weapons for the Lebanese army are canceled. Someone in Paris should be pissed about this, but perhaps the new export deals with Iran will ease that French pain.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum