Lebanon: Saudi Arabia Takes Off the Gloves
By: Firas Choufi
Published Friday, August 23, 2013
For the first time, Hezbollah is openly accusing regional intelligence services (read: Saudi Arabia) of being behind the recent terrorist attacks in Beirut and working to keep the Resistance out of any future government.
The statement from Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc on Thursday, August 22, did not take on the usual diplomatic tone, openly accusing local and regional elements of being behind the two deadly car bombings that took place in Dahiyeh recently.
"This terrorist blast was engineered by regional intelligence services that are benefiting from the policies of incitement adopted by some March 14 factions,” the statement read. “These groups are investing in terrorist takfiri organizations to carry out their plans.”
The “catastrophic failure of these takfiri groups to achieve the goals set out for them in Syria ... has forced their handlers to use them inside Lebanon instead, in order to compensate for their losses elsewhere.”
The statement remarkably does not accuse the usual suspect in such acts – the Zionist enemy – but points the finger in the direction of Saudi Arabia and its chief of intelligence, Bandar bin Sultan. Sources close to Hezbollah go so far as to say, “There is a clear Saudi decision, backed by the US, to stir things up from Baghdad to Beirut.”
As to why Riyadh has come to adopt this approach, the sources explain that every means permitted both regionally and internationally to topple the Syrian regime – with the exception of direct foreign military intervention – has been used unsuccessfully for the past two years.
The sources argue that Riyadh is concerned that the survival of the Assad regime will pose a threat to the stability of the kingdom in the long run, adding that Saudi’s recent gains in Egypt may evaporate at any moment. So, the sources maintain, in order to compensate for their setbacks in Syria, they have decided to ignite the Lebanese front.
The goal of this new approach is to force Hezbollah to turn its attention to protecting itself and its wide popular base, with the intent of preventing it from participating in fighting alongside the regime in various parts of Syria.
Saudi pressure is not limited to facilitating terrorist attacks on the Resistance and its supporters. Riyadh is also engaged in a political offensive, pressuring Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam to form a government without Hezbollah.
The pressure on Suleiman and Salam, however, abated somewhat following the Roueiss bombing last week, after Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah categorically refused any government that does not include his party.
Indications are that Druze leader Walid Jumblatt – the acknowledged kingmaker in forming a new government – is reluctant to impose a so-called fait accompli cabinet that would leave out a major party like Hezbollah. His two envoys who recently visited Saudi Arabia were tasked with explaining this position to the relevant Saudi authorities.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.