Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, during a panel discussion as a Med Forum in Rome, warned that Lebanon has been “hijacked” by the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah. The Saudi top diplomat said, “Lebanon is a tragic situation. It’s a country that was hijacked by a foreign country through a militia that is a terrorist organization, that’s what you have. Lebanon is dominated by Hezbollah. They either do it subtly or they kill. And we’ve seen that. It’s the only entity that has an armed force in the country and they use it, against their own people. They say that these arms are for the resistance. What’s the resistance doing in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Syria? Nothing. Doing Iran’s bidding. So as long as you have an armed militia, you will not have peace in Lebanon, no matter what we try to tell ourselves. So, the solution to Lebanon is disarming Hezbollah and turning it into a political party like all other Lebanese entities. And this is going to be very, very difficult,” he said.
The Saudi Foreign Minister further asserted while Lebanon is an example of coexistence of different religions and reiterated his country’s warning, that if Hezbollah does not disarm itself, Lebanon would not survive. Al Jubeir said, Lebanon will only survive or prosper if you disarm Hezbollah. And for us in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon is critically important. If it didn’t exist in the Arab world, we would want to invent it. It’s an example of coexistence of different faiths, of different ethnicities and the survival of this experiment is critical to the survival of the Middle East and the Arab world because if this, I call it an experiment although it’s not an experiment, it’s a reality, if this reality fails, no minority will feel safe in the Middle East,” the Saudi top diplomat warned.
The Lebanese militia Hezbollah has emerged as a major winner in the regional turmoil that has swept the Arab world since the uprisings of 2011, also known as the Arab Spring. The organization’s growing strength has alarmed the Sunni Muslim monarchy Saudi Arabia, which is the regional arch-rival of Hezbollah’s patron, the Shi’ite Muslim Islamic Republic of Iran.