Aletho News


Saudi Arabia seeks dialogue with Hezbollah

The Cradle | May 1, 2023

Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar released a report on 29 April claiming that Saudi Arabia is seeking to establish a line of dialogue with Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah, coming in the aftermath of Riyadh’s reconciliation with Iran and Syria and following years of non-existent relations between the two sides.

According to Al-Akhbar, information provided by an unnamed Saudi official “reached Lebanese officials from a European capital,” which reveals that the kingdom hopes to open dialogue with Hezbollah “soon.”

The newspaper vaguely cites “unofficial sources in Beirut” as saying that the dialogue would “be conducted through a third party.”

“Whether the endeavor succeeds or fails, it reflects the new phase in which Riyadh is rearranging regional relationships on the path of asserting its Arab leadership,” Al-Akhbar writes, referring to Saudi Arabia’s newfound shift in policy as “unprecedented.”

Saudi Arabia has recently distanced itself from Washington significantly – economically and politically.

A Chinese-brokered reconciliation of Saudi-Iranian ties has been followed by the kingdom’s openness to reestablish ties with the Syrian government, as well as Hamas – with whom longstanding tension also exists.

This has resulted in significant Israeli frustration, and Hebrew media has referred to it as a blow to potential normalization with Riyadh.

A 1 May report by Israeli outlet Maariv laments that the “Saudi train is expected to stop at a station bearing a large sign with the name Hezbollah on it.”

Reports of dialogue between Hezbollah and the kingdom emerge as Lebanon finds itself in a presidential deadlock that has been ongoing since the term of former president Michel Aoun expired in October last year.

A lack of consensus and parliamentary quorum, as well as external political pressure, have resulted in eleven failed sessions to elect a president.

The two main candidates are the chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the US-backed Joseph Aoun, and the Hezbollah-backed MP Suleiman Franjieh of the Christian Marada party.

If dialogue between Hezbollah and the Saudis is achieved, this would be the first line of official contact between the two sides in 16 years.

However, last year, Middle East Eye cited sources as saying that a secret meeting between Hezbollah deputy chief, Naim Qassem, and a Saudi delegation in Beirut helped “pave the way” for the renewal of a ceasefire in Yemen, as well as the removal of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

May 1, 2023 - Posted by | Aletho News | , , ,

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