Who has advised Saudi Arabia to avoid the war with Hezbollah?

Written by Nasser Kandil,

David Ignatius who is the Washington Post’s most prominent writer in the region affairs and one of the figures of culture in the US political thought, who is familiar with his deep analysis, verification of information, judiciousness, and the reservation in publishing, away from press excitement considered that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is trying to lessen the consequences after the latest developments in the issue of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri. He indicated that what has happened in the file of the resignation of the Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri from Riyadh seemed convincing for each of Washington and Riyadh that it is better for their interests to keep the stability in Lebanon, although this requires some cooperation with Hezbollah as reported by a Saudi official that Saudi Arabia intends to cooperate with America in order to support the Lebanese institutions such as the army, in order to reduce gradually the power of Hezbollah and Iran  in Lebanon. He concluded that Mohammed Bin Salman seems aware that fighting Hezbollah is a long-term battle not a short one.

On the other hand, the Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Emile Hokayem wrote an editorial in the New York Times that the Saudi endeavors to confront Iran were not productive, Iran will remain a step forward, he added that the Saudi intervention in Yemen was costly and it did not resolve the battle. He warned that the war on Yemen may lead to scenario which Riyadh has already wanted to prevent its occurrence, which is the turning of Ansar Allah into an example that is similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon. He pointed out that Riyadh chose the wrong arenas to confront Iran, and when Riyadh obliged Al-Hariri to resign, that was in favor of Iran and Hezbollah. Furthermore he indicated that the Saudis have supported Al-Sisi, and have presented to him billion of dollars, but Al-Sisi has renewed the relations with Al-Assad and refused the Saudi pressures to escalate against Iran.

At a parallel level, the conservative US magazine; the National Interest has addressed the US President Donald Trump to stop getting involved at an inappropriate time and inappropriate confrontation with Iran, it added that Saudi Arabia’s plan was to make America fall in the trap of the permanent confrontation with Tehran. It talked about an alliance between Israel and Al Saud and their opposition of the nuclear agreement with Iran and their endeavors to escalate the tension in the region. It stressed that the motives of Saudi Arabia were not sectarian; however the goal of Riyadh was to push Washington to the Middle East in order to re-spread its military hegemony and to re-impose a regional equation in favor of Israel and Riyadh. It asserted that the achievement of this goal does not require a war on Lebanon only, but a state of continuous conflict between Washington and Iran. It added that what is strange is the dealing of Trump with such of this plan which he said that it clearly contradicts the US national interest. Therefore, the irrational behavior of the Saudi Crown Prince must not affect the US President.

These conclusions, articles, and many studies which have the same goal have been circulated at a symposium held in Washington; it included military experts and former generals to imagine the scenario of a war launched by Saudi Arabia as the “Operation of Decisive Storm” against Hezbollah with the participation of Israel or without it. The first bomb exploded by one of the officers and which got the attention of the attendance is when he said that the missile which fell on Riyadh from Yemen, and got the ignition of Saudi Arabia against Hezbollah, accusing it of its transferring to Yemen and launching it by one of its teams was from the type of Burkan 2-H which its range is 1500 km. This means, if we took the Saudi narration seriously of the role of Hezbollah in providing the missile and transferring it, then Hezbollah would have much better than it in quality and quantity of what was sent to the Yemenis, and that it has more skillful flingers in Lebanon from those whom it sent to Yemen. Do you know that the distance between Beirut and Riyadh is 1470 km, and therefore Riyadh will be in the range of Hezbollah’s missiles  from Lebanon if Saudi Arabia launched an air war against it or what it so-called the operation of Decisive Storm2. The war of Saudi Arabia on Yemen which failed was its most brutal and the longest war from the one which it can launch against Hezbollah, including a siege that it cannot impose it on Lebanon, a siege that tens of Saudi planes and battleships may burn, this war would be a maneuver in which Israel will discover some of Hezbollah’s surprises if it remained outside of this war. As a conclusion, Saudi Arabia after two years and a half of its war on Yemen has failed in preventing the fall of such a missile on Riyadh, so what will happen to Saudi Arabia if it will do so with Lebanon?

There were participations that review the scenarios of the falling missiles on Saudi strategic facilities and the start of the migration of the princes and the rich people from Saudi Arabia in addition to the state of panic, and the dangers of the disintegration of its military establishment. While some people said that what is the interest of Israel to get involved in paying the bill of the Saudi foolishness in a war where Israel will be under the mercy of Hezbollah’s missiles. Others added who can ensure that Syria which experienced the worst by Saudi Arabia not to participate in this confrontation and what about Iran. Is America’s interest to turn Saudi Arabia into an arena for the missiles which may affect American military and economic facilities, where Washington will be in front of a war which it does not want?

This debate may explain the circumstances which allowed the French President to propose his initiative of compromise, to avoid the scandal on one hand, and to retreat from the choice of so-called committing suicide on the other hand, as long as the first shot has not fired. Many people in Washington are asking why did Saudi Arabia choose the worst timing to confront Hezbollah and to be closer to Israel, while the interests say that Saudi Arabia must not grant Hezbollah or the Syrian President the opportunity to make it pay the cost of its involvement in the destruction of Syria, while others say; maybe Israel’s interest is by not exaggerating in showing the rapprochement with Saudi Arabia if the recklessness remains driving it, because Israel may find itself in the heart of a war which it knows that it does not want it.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,


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