Kingdom of Saudi Arabia vs. Islamic Republic of Iran; A proxy war in the Middle-East

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The map veers into shaky ground when it paints Lebanon as an area firmly under Iran’s grasp. While Iran-friendly Hezbollah is the strongest armed force within Lebanon, it is by no means the sole armed political actor, nor do an overwhelming majority of Lebanese sympathize with Iran.

Various parties allied to the Saudis – especially the mainly Sunni Future Movement of assassinated PM Rafiq Hariri (now headed by his son, Sa’ad) and the March 14th political alliance to which they belong (which includes Christian Maronite and secular groups as well) have battled Hezbollah sympathizers and their allies in their own political bloc into a stalemate over the presidency. Lebanon even receives shipments of arms from Saudi. Like most political issues in the country, I’d hesitate to say there’s ever one dominant consensus among either the citizens or the politicians.

Also, while Israel is obviously not a supporter of either country, I wouldn’t describe it as neutral in the sense that it obviously considers Iran a much larger threat to its territorial integrity than Saudi. The enemy of one’s enemy and all that. While Israel and Saudi aren’t friends, Israeli-Arab conflicts have generally centered around Israel and its neighbors – Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese. Although Saudi sheikhs might condemn Israel and bluster into cameras, it seems that the Gulf states and Israel have come to a sort of peace, one likely solidified by a mutual (albeit shaky) ally in the US. They don’t share borders and the issue of the Palestinians is political deadweight, so why not at least come to some sort of tacit understanding against the Iranians?

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