The reasons for Macron’s movement regarding Lebanon… Is the crisis with Saudi Arabia over?

Without any doubt, it is certain that French President Emmanuel Macron succeeded in causing a major breach in the wall of the crisis between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and was able to put an end to the deterioration of relations between the two parties, opening the door to steps that pave the way for a new stage.

Yesterday, during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Macron was able to delve into the Lebanese file in its various aspects, and was able to break the estrangement between Beirut and Riyadh, as a direct contact was made with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and dialogue was exchanged between the two communities (Macron – bin Salman – Mikati).

In the joint Saudi-French statement that followed Macron’s visit, and in press interviews by Macron and Mikati, there was an emphasis on basic principles that can never be overlooked, such as supporting Lebanon and maintaining its stability, the Lebanese government’s commitment to reforms, as well as combating drug smuggling into the kingdom.

In fact, what happened yesterday represents the most eagerly awaited turn, as the Saudi-Lebanese dialogue is not a normal thing in the midst of the existing diplomatic crisis, and Macron’s success in bringing Miqati together with bin Salman is considered a breaking of all obstacles between Riyadh and Beirut.

In substance, what happened confirms that Saudi Arabia did not sever its relationship with Lebanon and did not close the doors to dialogue. Likewise, the step taken by Macron confirms that he was able to lure Saudi Arabia towards Lebanon once again from several titles: the first is that the stability of Lebanon means stability in the region, and any collapse in that country leads to major crises that no party can bear. As for the second title, it determines the importance of the Gulf’s contribution to this stability, both on the political and economic levels. As for the third title, it indicates that the basis of the relationship between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia has not been broken, and this is what was revealed in Mikati’s dialogue with bin Salman. The resignation of Information Minister George Qardahi was a turning point towards direct contact, and it was also an affirmation by Lebanon of official goodwill towards the Gulf.

In the midst of all this, yesterday’s dialogue reinforced the importance of the Mikati government at this stage, and was rather a recognition of it, contrary to the allegations of many internal Lebanese parties who spoke of Saudi dissatisfaction with Mikati and his government. It is known that the Saudi leadership did not place any direct veto on the performance of the government, and this matter was very clear in the statements of many Saudi officials in previous times, as there was confirmation that there was no demand for the resignation of the government after the crisis of Qardahi’s statements. However, the Saudis were also stressing the importance of stabilizing Lebanon and preventing its collapse in any way.

What about the commitments Macron talked about?

What Macron started with bin Salman and Mikati may be completed later with a clear path to the solution, and political sources say to“Lebanon 24” The important dialogue that took place means that relations may return to normal between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries, and she added: “We may witness positive situations soon, and there may be expected visits towards the Gulf, and this is required in the first place to end the existing crisis.”
In light of this scene, the commitments that resulted from that visit include Lebanon’s commitment to positive relations with the Gulf states in general and Saudi Arabia in particular, and respect for the sovereignty of those countries, refraining from making Lebanon a platform for action against Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and moving towards reforms because this opens the door to Arab and Western aid. .

Regarding the last point, it has been required for a long time, and Saudi Arabia is demanding it because investing money in Lebanon must be in the right place. Here, the great responsibility lies with all political parties, and the stage requires Lebanon to abide by what countries demand, and any reforms that can give Lebanon an opportunity to obtain direct funding, and this is what Macron alluded to explicitly in an interview yesterday.

Here, the rapprochement regarding these commitments opens the doors to a solution for Lebanon, especially when Saudi consent is achieved. As for the most important thing, it is that all of these commitments require a government, and dialogue with Mikati is nothing but to fortify the Council of Ministers, activate its work, and accept it to lead the settlement with the Gulf.

What about Hezbollah?

As for the basic conditions related to “Hezbollah” and its role in the Yemen war, Saudi Arabia is still on its position because the matter is related to its sovereignty and national security, and it has stressed the need to limit arms to the legitimate state.

Far from the possibility of achieving the last demand, the main commitments made by official Lebanon towards Riyadh must be the focus of a commitment by “Hezbollah” first, as what is required of it today is to acknowledge the importance of positive relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and to distance Lebanon from other conflicts that harm those Relationships, while the discourse should be calm and balanced towards the Gulf states.

However, it is not clear whether bin Salman touched on the issue of ending “Hezbollah” in his talks, knowing that this matter may open the door to great tension. In this regard, it may turn out that all the points related to “Hezbollah” and its role in Lebanon and the region will be the focus of other upcoming talks, especially between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the focus today from France and the Kingdom will be on the need to comfort Lebanon a little, prevent its collapse and support it.

The dialogue between the French and “Hezbollah” could pave the way for calming the atmosphere with Saudi Arabia further, and this matter is very much needed by “Hezbollah” and the national interest requires that, as happened with the resignation of Qardahi.

In sum, it seems that Macron succeeded once again in opening the door to a new settlement on Lebanon. The current atmosphere indicates that, and the concession made by Qardahi with the approval of Hezbollah gives hope to reach a solution, and Paris will have the largest role in the region, specifically in Lebanon, which will pave the way for a deeper Saudi role, blocking the way for the foreseeable Turkish expansion.


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