By Mohammad Mazhari

Lebanon is subjected to economic terrorism, military analyst says

November 17, 2021 - 18:47

TEHRAN – A senior Lebanese political and military analyst says Lebanon is besieged by Persian Gulf Arab states through an economic terrorism.

“Lebanon is indeed subjected to an economic war and economic terrorism in which more than one country are participating,” Amine Mohammad Hoteit tells the Tehran Times.

“The reason for this is due to the Saudi claim that Hezbollah is the major side who organized, planned and led the military operations in Yemen and caused the defeat of the Saudi-led aggression,” the retired general argues.

After the Saudi move in cutting ties with Lebanon following the Lebanese communication minister’s remarks about the Saudi futile war on Yemen, many political observers raised questions about the real reasons of such surprising decision.

It is unexpected that the Riyadh rulers cut relations with a country over unofficial remarks. The irony is that these remarks were made before George Kordahi was appointed as minister. 

Hoteit says the Saudi authorities, after their failure in excluding Hezbollah from the government, started pressuring the Lebanese people and Hezbollah as a retaliation.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What are the reasons for the economic siege on Lebanon by some Persian Gulf countries, while we see a restoration of ties with Syria represented by Abdullah bin Zayed's visit to Damascus?

A: The motives and reasons, with regard to the (Persian) Gulf relationships with Lebanon and Syria are different. With regard to Lebanon, don’t forget that Beirut is subjected to aggression led by Saudi Arabia followed by other Persian Gulf states.

The reason for this is due to the Saudi claim that Hezbollah is the major side who organized, planned, and led the military operations in Yemen and caused the defeat of the Saudi-led aggression.

Therefore, Riyadh wants to punish Beirut, especially Hezbollah, for its so-called role in Yemen. The other possibility is that the Saudis are pressuring Lebanon and Hezbollah to force them to stop the Houthi advances in Yemen in a way that save Saudis’ face. The problem when it comes to Lebanon is Yemen and Saudi Arabia's accusation against Hezbollah and its role in this regard.

The second reason for which Saudi Arabia has besieged Lebanon is due to the Saudis’ desire to take the lead in Lebanon, but it finds that in light of the influence that Hezbollah exercises in the country, it cannot achieve its goals.

This shows the weakness of the Saudis and their clients and followers inside Lebanon. Most of them have been scattered and Saudi policies no longer are desirable in Lebanon, unless for only one person: the leader of the Lebanese Forces.

As for Syria, there are different motives that push the (Persian) Gulf States in general and the Emirates, in particular, to extend bridge of friendship to Syria. There are three reasons; the first is a (Persian) Gulf states’ desire to get out of the losing position after the global war on Syria failed. Secondly, their desire (especially represented by the UAE) to preserve a seat and foothold for themselves in Syria and its reconstruction sector. The third reason, which is hidden, is that the (Persian) Gulf states want to return to Syria in an effort to limit Iran’s influence and relations with Syria under the pretext of consolidating Arab ties with Syria. (Persian)The Gulf States make every effort to cut and ruin Persian-Arab relations.

“The reason for economic siege is due to the Saudi claim that Hezbollah is the major side who organized, planned and led the military operations in Yemen and caused the defeat of the Saudi-led aggression.”Q: Do you think that Lebanon can survive the current economic crisis in the foreseeable future?

A: Lebanon is indeed subjected to economic war and economic terrorism in which more than one country are participating. Let us announce and regret that there are Lebanese sides helping the enemies in this war and terrorism. Therefore, the war on Lebanon has internal and external dimensions, in addition to the corruption and banditry to which the Lebanese economy is exposed.

I think the current economic crisis has no way out in the foreseeable future.

Some temporary and positive steps may be taken that alleviate the crisis, but no essential treatment is looming in Lebanon’s horizon.

Q: How can the countries and groups affiliated to the resistance axis - from Iran, Iraq, and Syria to Palestine - stand by each other in difficult circumstances?

A: As is well known, the resistance axis managed to formulate its relations with its components in a tactful and flexible manner within its capabilities and potentials, however, it achieved what was required in this regard.

 It is true that this axis does not work as an organization or alliance similar to the Atlantic Alliance under a unified command or one operations room, but the frameworks that were adopted for coordination and exchange of experiences are sufficient.

Leaders in the various components of this axis can exchange opinions, exchange capabilities, and intervene at the appropriate time, either with advice or by appropriate military forces. Therefore, I believe that the current framework of the resistance axis meets the requirements.

Q: There are those who say that the Lebanese government was formed with an American-French signal without the consent of Saudi Arabia. Do you think that Saudi Arabia is retaliating by putting pressure on the Lebanese government?

A: Yes, Saudi Arabia is not content with the current government and its formation because Riyadh’s demand was exclusively to expel Hezbollah from the government. This demand was impossible since Hezbollah is a major political player in Lebanon, and a government or parliament cannot be formed without Hezbollah’s contribution. Saudi Arabia wants to exclude Hezbollah, therefore, there is a contradiction between Lebanon's reality and Saudi demands. For this reason, Saudi Arabia refused to welcome the new government and rejected any form of dealing with it because Hezbollah is part of it. As for France and America, the matter is different, because they have realized that the power vacuum in Lebanon is not in their interest.
They know Lebanon may get out of control if it remains without a government. Therefore, they insisted on forming the government despite its inclusion of Hezbollah.

Q: Is there a paradox between Arab nationalism and resistance? When some parties talk about returning to the Arab incubator, they mean abandoning the axis of resistance. What is your comment?

A: In fact, there is a difference between Arab nationalism and (Persian) Gulf states’ policies, those who fell into the arms of the Zionists and became representatives of the Zionist movement in the Arab world. As for Arab nationalism and resistance, the ties between them are close and strong; and the resistance movements since World War I have always taken Arab nationalism as a slogan. 

Do not forget, for example, what Jamal Abdel Nasser said: “What was taken by force can only be restored by force.” It means that we cannot restore Palestine or any occupied land through negotiations, but rather by force, meaning the importance of the resistance and armies.

 So, Arab nationalism and resistance are inseparable. As for the attempts of some to make nationalism the antithesis of resistance, this is a despicable act and against reality and is not aligned with the history of Arab nationalism and resistance. But if you say that some of the political players in the (Persian) Gulf states deny Arab nationalism, this is true, and whoever denies Arab nationalism may deny the resistance.

Take, for example, the Arab National Conference, which is represented by a group of Arab elites and great figures, and in all its statements and positions, it affirms the legitimacy of the resistance, considering that the resistance is the only strategic option to restore Palestine and preserve Arab rights. 

Hence, the issue of resistance and Arab nationalism is a story of intimate relationships. 


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