Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saudis Give Up On Lebanese Mediation Efforts As Hizbullah Struts Its Stuff

The Saudis have been trying to mediate the difficult political situation in Lebanon following Hizbullah's withdrawal from the government. They've given up on the mediation efforts and the hope is that Qatar and Turkey will pick up where the Saudis left off.
Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's minister of foreign affairs, said Wednesday that his country had abandoned mediation talks to resolve Lebanon's political crisis that caused the government's collapse last week.

Al-Faisal made the comments in an interview with state-run Saudi TV in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt where he was attending an Arab economic summit to discuss economic challenges facing Arab nations. He also described the political situation in Lebanon as "dangerous."

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar Assad have been personally involved in an attempt to resolve Lebanon's political crisis, the Saudi foreign minister said.

But when no agreement was near the Saudi king "lifted his hands and kept away from the negotiations," al-Faisal said.

Meanwhile, Qatari and Turkish foreign ministers arrived in Lebanon Tuesday in an apparent attempt to pick up where Saudi and Syrian efforts left off.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani met with President Michel Suleiman, and caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri among other leading political figures, state-run Lebanese news agency (NNA) reported Tuesday.
Hizbullah withdrew from the government ahead of a report that was likely to name members of the terror group along with Syrian and Iranian officials in the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The tribunal investigating the assassination may call on Interpol to assist with the arrests of those that are eventually indicted.

While the diplomats are busy doing their work, Hizbullah is not so quietly or subtly laying the groundwork for their own takeover.
Hizbullah staged a quiet show of force Tuesday that rattled nerves, hours before senior Qatari and Turkish officials began talks in Beirut in an attempt to contain political tension over a U.N.-backed tribunal probing the 2005 killing of statesman Rafik Hariri.

Hizbullah’s actions came hours before Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Bin Jaber al-Thani and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu began a series of talks with Lebanon’s political leaders aimed at preventing a slide toward sectarian strife.

As The Daily Star went to press early Wednesday, Sheikh Hamad and Davutoglu were in talks with Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. The two officials will spend the night in the capital to hold further talks with other political leaders Wednesday.
Hizbullah is the reason that the Lebanese government is in the position it is in, and its terror outfit is likely among those behind the assassination of Hariri, but should that become official the terror group would lose support from the Lebanese people as the group has long claimed to be a resistance group to Israel (even though Israel has not occupied Lebanon since 2005 and Hizbullah caused a devastating war after its terrorists invaded Israel and killed several soldiers and kidnapped two others (Regev and Goldwasser), leading to a brief, but devastating war for large parts of Southern Lebanon where Hizbullah openly operates in defiance of UNIFIL and SCR 1701).

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