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Saudi says Lebanon declared war, crisis deepens

Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 01:45

Saudi Arabia says Lebanon has declared war because of what it calls Hezbollah's acts of aggression against it. It's a dramatic escalation of a regional crisis that threatens to destabilise Lebanon. Lucy Fielder reports

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Lebanon has declared war, says Saudi Arabia, Because of what it describes as aggression by Hezbollah. Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan's comments are a dramatic escalation of a crisis that threatens to destabilise tiny Lebanon, This fragile country - where one in four people is a Syrian refugee - is in the cross-hairs of regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Especially since the Saudi-backed prime minister, Saad Al-Hariri, resigned in a statement broadcast from Riyadh at the weekend. Hezbollah participated in his government, but it is allied to Iran. Its guerrilla army, more powerful than the national one, is playing a major role in the war in neighbouring Syria, shoring up government forces. That's another arena for the proxy war between Tehran and Riyadh. Al-Sabhan said Hezbollah's actions constituted aggression against Saudi Arabia, and the government would be considered - quote - "a government which has declared war". Hariri's resignation shocked even his aides. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called it a "Saudi statement" and said Riyadh had forced him to do it. The sudden nature of billionaire Hariri's announcement stirring speculation in Lebanon that he'd been caught up in an anti-corruption purge in Saudi Arabia. And had been coerced. But Saudi's foreign minister said Monday that Hariri was protesting to Hezbollah "calling the shots" in his government. Hariri's power-sharing government took over a year ago and was heralded for ending years of political deadlock. Al-Sabhan did not spell out what action it might take against Lebanon.

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Saudi says Lebanon declared war, crisis deepens

Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 01:45