What harmed Saudi Arabia’s image in Lebanon the most is that it was presented in the popular consciousness as a cash machine to whoever announces their support for it. Back then, a major aspect of Lebanese politics adopted the approach of political blackmail for the past decades.
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during the long civil war, many parties sought to exploit the Saudi influence to manage their battles and justify their shifts. Perhaps President Bachir Gemayel was, during his last year, the most objective in formulating the relationship and looked at it as two states, not a sect and a state. His heir Dr. Samir Geagea, however, seems crammed within the sect’s fences.
Before 1975 when the civil war erupted, Syria did not have the influence of Assad’s era and Iran did not have a frank interest in the country of cedars. Lebanon today stands on the cusp of a similar phase. Syria’s new is that it’s completely preoccupied with Bashar’s survival or departure, even if the men of the Baath regime re-deploy following the elections.
The other difference is that in our era, there are no dictatorships with expansive dreams like Egypt’s Abdelnasser, Libya’s Qaddafi and Iraq’s Saddam.
It’s not in Saudi Arabia’s interest to respond to being lured towards small political details, as it was applied in the past phase where it was preoccupied with small matters at the expense of the major issues desired by everyone. Previous experiences proved that luring is a trap which many countries have fallen into and which led to political blackmail.
The Saudi message today is that traditional diplomacy has changed, and it’s no longer based on money in exchange of temporary stances.
Despite that, there is a chance to create a secure future for Lebanon, and this will not only be accomplished via a foreign solution, thus, the Lebanese people must not expect a hand to strike without them to restore security and achieve justice.
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