News Release

Are Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S. Trying to Destabilize Lebanon?

CBS News reports: “Saudi Arabia on Thursday ordered its citizens out of Lebanon in its first concrete action against the Mediterranean country, while officials in Beirut demanded the immediate return of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who abruptly announced his resignation last week in a television appearance from the kingdom, where he has been holed up since.”

RANIA MASRI, [in Lebanon] rania.z.masri at gmail.com
An Arab-American academic based in Lebanon, Masri is available to discuss the workings of Lebanese politics. See her Twitter feed for regular updates, including translations of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s speech today,  @rania_masri.

PAUL PILLAR, prp8 at georgetown.edu
Pillar was an analyst at the CIA for 28 years. He is now a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing editor to The National Interest, where he writes a blog.

His latest piece is “Saudi Arabia, Wellspring of Regional Instability,” which states: “The Trump administration is worse than oblivious to all this; it is stoking it. While the President tweets about which stock exchange should be used for an initial public offering of shares in Aramco, at least as important a figure is another princeling. That would be the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who reportedly has hit it off well with his fellow thirty-something MbS [Mohammad bin Salman] and visited the Saudi crown prince just days before the purge.”

RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052 at comcast.net, @richards1052,
Silverstein writes on security and other issues for a number of outlets and blogs at Tikun Olam. His most recent piece is “Saudi Arabia and Israel: Looming Threat of Regional War,” which states: “The Saudi Crown Prince appears eager to ratchet up the conflict with Iran. Like Bibi Netanyahu, his … ally, he’s willing to exploit and manipulate hostility to a foreign enemy in order to bolster his own domestic stature. Given that he’s hellbent on establishing his own dominance in Saudi internal politics, such an enemy is very helpful in holding rivals at bay. [Mohammad] bin Salman also noted that Israel, with Saudi financial backing, orchestrated attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities and assassinated five Iranian nuclear scientists. This is the sort of decisive, brutal action the future Saudi monarch likes.

“Israel has responded in kind. Today, the foreign ministry sent an urgent cable to all diplomats demanding that they mouth a pro-Saudi line regarding the Hariri resignation. Israel Channel 10’s diplomatic correspondent, Barak Ravid, tweeted the translated contents of the cable.”

Silverstein’s other recent pieces include “Black Cube Hired Israeli Actress to Find Dirt on Weinstein Accusers” and “Black Cube and Oligarchs in the Shadows.”

See by Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon, a piece on published at Al Jazeera about a bill targeting Hezbollah in the U.S. Congress.

Also see Sharmine Narwani’s recent piece in The American Conservative, “Hezbollah is Not a Threat to America,” which states: “The U.S. listed Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist organization’ 20 years ago this month. Most other states, as well as the United Nations Security Council, have not. Two weeks ago, at a State Department briefing on the Hezbollah ‘threat,’ National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen tried to paint a picture of an organization that was directing “terrorism acts worldwide” and posing a threat ‘to U.S. interests’ including ‘here in the homeland.'”