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LEBANON-GULF CRISIS

Hezbollah accuses Riyadh of 'pitting Lebanese against one another'


Hezbollah accuses Riyadh of 'pitting Lebanese against one another'

Hachem Safieddine, chairman of the executive council of Hezbollah. (Anwar Amro / AFP)

BEIRUT — Hezbollah Executive Council chairman Hashem Safieddine called on Saudi Arabia to “stop harming Lebanon” Wednesday, accusing it of wanting to divide the Lebanese “against each other.”

Here’s what we know:

    •  Safieddine's comments come at a time when Lebanese authorities are trying to restore relations with Saudi Arabia, after Riyadh imposed a diplomatic ban on the country – issued in response to critical remarks uttered by former Information Minister George Kurdahi, who later resigned his post. In his most recent statement, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah called the kingdom a “terrorist” state – remarks that Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Aoun later denounced.

    •  “Saudi Arabia must stop hurting Lebanon,” Safieddine said during a conference organized by Hezbollah. He called on the kingdom to “stop conducting its policy of intimidation in the Arab and Islamic world”, remarking that Riyadh “cannot act like the Pharaohs because it has wealth.” He also called upon Saudi Arabia to not “impose its views on Lebanon,” to “pit Lebanese against each other and incite them to hatred.”

    •  Soon after Safieddine made his remarks, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Boukhari, tweeted that Hezbollah is “not taking into account the suffering and aspirations of the brotherly Lebanese people, [and is] denying the truth.” He denounced the Shiite party for considering itself “superior to the Lebanese state.”

    •  In a second tweet, the ambassador wrote that “seditious and divisive” statements cannot have “legitimacy.” Last Thursday, the diplomat declared that he considered the Shiite party to represent a “threat to [regional] security” and called on Lebanese authorities to “end Hezbollah's hegemony over the state.”


BEIRUT — Hezbollah Executive Council chairman Hashem Safieddine called on Saudi Arabia to “stop harming Lebanon” Wednesday, accusing it of wanting to divide the Lebanese “against each other.”Here’s what we know:    •  Safieddine's comments come at a time when Lebanese authorities are trying to restore relations with Saudi Arabia, after Riyadh imposed a diplomatic ban...