Lebanon is going to become another proxy-war battlefield between two regional powers i.e, Saudi Kingdom and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both countries’ desire to become regional hegemon has turned the Middle East into the war zones. Regional instability, militia violence, religious extremism has raised due to proxy war between both countries. Religious conflicts of both countries have divided societies and destabilise the government of Yamane, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain.
Hezbollah, a Shia militia and a political party, was formed in 1982 after Israel invasion in Lebanon. Hezbollah has political and strategic ties with Iran. Syrian and Iranian’s influence over Lebanon is always welcomed to be Hezbollah.
On the other hand, the Saudi government has close political, economic and historical relation with Lebanon ‘s Sunni leaders. Al-Saud family has a special tie with all political members of Hariri’s family.
In 2005, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated. Hizbullah was held liable for this notorious act. He was also the most famous Sunni leader and business tycoon in Lebanon. His murder split the whole country into pro-Saudi and pro-Irani factions. This division in the country created a rift in the political and social system of Lebanon. For the next three years, many unsuccessful agreements were made until the open conflict erupted between Hezbollah fighters and Hariri followers on May 7, 2008.
In 9th may 2008, Hezbollah send armed fighters to Beirut. They took control of media houses/outlets and communication cells of government. Within 12 hours the political balance of Lebanon shattered into pieces. This whole situation paralyzed the Lebanon government. The army stood neutral in whole political chaos. This act of Hezbollah opened the doors of a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Lebanon is going to become another war theatre between both countries. Sunni government and Hezbollah have become two main stakeholders of the Lebanon political system. Lebanon’s Sunni government is backed by Sunni’s regimes and Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah, a Shia militia, has military, financial and, logistic support from Iran.
Since 2013, Lebanon has adopted a “policy of insulation” due to war in Syria at the doorstep of the country. Lebanon has been kept himself away from Syrian war actors I.e, ISIS, SDF, Kurdish Force, Syrian Army etc. Lebanon is characterized by political instability and economic hardships, which has deepened due to war in neighbouring countries.
In recent years, Lebanon has come under the excessive influence of Iran. Hezbollah has gained ground in security and strategic matters of the country. Now Hizbullah has got prominent political positions in the country. Hezbollah,s emergence on the political system of Lebanon is considered a victory of Iran. Hezbollah now has army, weapons and telecommunication channels. Many social project i.e, hospital, schools have been completed by Hezbollah Authorities.
Saudi Arabia has become an active proxy-political actor after Egypt effective abandonment of its role with the signing of the Taif Accord, which ended the civil war in the Levant. Sunni Arab states are worried about Iran nuclear program, its support of Hezbollah, Hamas and Bashrul-Asad. Major aim Saudi-Lebanon partnership is to destroy nexus of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Saudi rivalry with Iran is more open in Lebanon as compared to other states of the Middle East.
Political Observers and analyst have warned that Lebanon could become the latest battleground in the proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran. Their Long-running standoff in Lebanon could further destabilize the middle east. Perceived Iranian victory in political and strategic matters of Lebanon could escalate a conflict among Shia and Sunni factions of the country.
Since the rise of the Arab Spring, revolution and violence has engulfed the whole Middle East. Major conflicts in the region are due to battle for dominance between the Saudi Kingdom and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both countries want to maintain their dominance at every cost.
Saif Ullah Rumi