A new initiative from Saudi Arabia shall help the crises hitten Lebanon to quickly form a new government, let reformes take place, get money from foreign countries and organisations and simply stop the way to total anarchy in the country. Despide all of that, the relations between both states are deeply ambivalent, and one particular organisation causes many sleepless nights in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi dilemma
How do you wanna help a country, when its politicians just enrich themselves without any care for the people, and when the most powerfull acteur in inner politics is actually an enemy of yours?
Saudi Arabia is currently facing this dilemma, and it´s gonne be a taff task to create a coherent policy on this. In the past, the country has alway been an important player in the land of the cedars, but influence shrinked rapidely in the current years. This is partly due to the bad planned capture of prime minister Saad Hariri in 2017. He couldn´t leave his hotel in Riyadh for several days. That the country actually put great damage to their own image in the lebanese people, was one of the reasons it stepped away from the country while others played the game.
But next to these own mistakes, there is still the problem of that enemy in the country, namely Hezbollah militia, Tehran´s spearhead towards Jerusalem and the Mediterranean. Because Hezbollah is now the most important player in Lebanon, every dollar that is spend into the country will ultimately help them as well. Of course Riyadh had no interest whatsoever to strenghen them with its own money.
The best out of many bad choices
But now it seems that the calculation of the Saudis have changed. While the strenghten of the militia through foreign money was a fear at first, now the possible implosion of Lebanon could give Hezbollah more freedom to achieve its goals.
Anyway, a country without government is no pleasure for any neighboring state. And in the last years it weren´t Saudis, but Iran, Turkey and Russia, who showed their abbility to gain influence and power in chaotic environments. Saudi Arabia on the other side had to withdraw from Yemen, after all their actions there were no success at all.
A small window might open if Riyadh would try to make Hezbollah more independent from Iran, a similar strategy as is now underway in regard to Syria, which the arab states might welcome back in the short future. By this, there would be another player in the sump of Beirut, without any solution for the problems in sight.