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Saudi Arabia’s ‘Game of Thrones’ In Lebanon

Jonathan Schanzer
22nd November 2017 - Quoted by Bennett Seftel - The Cipher Brief

The sudden resignation of Saad Hariri as Lebanon’s prime minister during his trip to Riyadh earlier this month raised suspicions about whether Saudi Arabia facilitated Hariri’s departure as part of its broader strategy to counter Iran’s expanding influence across the Middle East. This event could foment instability inside Lebanon and could earmark the country as the next proxy battleground between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracie

“Lebanon is already a highly-contested territory in the Iran-Saudi battle for influence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has long lacked the advantage here because its power derives primarily from political and financial influence on the state’s existing power structures, while Iran has incubated and grown its lethal terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, into a force that directly undermines those power structures. Hezbollah’s military now eclipses that of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), and the group also wields significant economic and political control on the ground in such a way that calls into questions whether Lebanon can still be considered an independent state.”

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Tags

gulf-states, hezbollah, iranian-proxies, lebanon, saudia-arabia