TEHRAN(Basirat): The countries behind the regime-change drive in Syria have invested a vast amount of resources and political capital in their pursuit of the "New Middle East".
The royals in Riyadh, who played a key role in what eventually morphed
into a regional conflict, were hoping to achieve a long list of regional
and domestic objectives, including dealing a blow to the
Indeed, more than six years of
turmoil have given birth to a new Middle East - it just isn't the one
that the Americans, "Israelis" and Saudis were hoping for.
Iran and its allies emerging as the regional powerhouse, tantrums by
politicians in Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh are becoming increasingly
Plagued by internal schisms, economic crises and
declining military capabilities, these governments now face existential
The most recent jolts in Riyadh are only the latest
reminder of just how bad things have gotten for the Saudis and their
During a mere few days of back-to-back developments,
Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman purged the royal family
of potential opponents, forced the Lebanese premier to resign, declared
war on Lebanon and threatened to do the same to Iran.
seismic events have given way to anxiety over the possibility of a new
regional conflict, with Lebanon finding itself in the eye of the storm.
away from the all the rhetoric and grandstanding, the new realities on
the ground can hardly be perceived as encouraging for Salman and his
On the domestic front, Salman's pre-emptive coup,
which is tantamount to a war within the House of Saud, has eclipsed the
kingdom's power-sharing formula, a guarantor of its survival over the
At a time when Saudi Arabia is struggling with a
declining economy and a catastrophic military campaign in Yemen,
Salman's purge is certain to alienate the regime's traditional pillars.
enemies, combined with growing public discontent over the looming
5-percent value-added tax, government austerity measures, and delays in
the government paying its debts to companies, are increasingly
reminiscent of a rebellion in the making.
In short, Saudi
Arabia is headed for further instability, and even without the
additional burden of new regional conflicts, Salman's ability to survive
his own ‘vision' for the future is highly questionable.
are claiming through their propaganda machine that the young prince is
trying to clean the political arena in Saudi Arabia and fight corruption
but Saudi Arabia is a state of corruption," said London-based author
and journalist, Aly el-Kabbany.
"There was anger and expanding
opposition among the royals, ex-ministers and businessmen because of the
failing foreign policy of Muhammad bin Salman and because of the
aggressive war against Yemen, which bankrupt the country and failed to
achieve any of their objectives," el-Kabbany added.
Yemen's Ansarullah movement, which Salman has been bombing for over two
years, decided to showcase the unprecedented range of its ballistic
missiles by targeting Riyadh's international airport.
response to the attack is as much about diverting attention away from
its vulnerabilities when it comes to the war in Yemen as it is about
fueling the anti-Iran crusade.
Saudi officials quickly
connected the strike to Iran and Hezbollah. Riyadh proclaimed it an act
of war for which they held Tehran and Beirut responsible and to which
they vowed to respond.
The unsubstantiated allegations were a follow-up to the resignation of Lebanon's Prime Minister, Saad Hariri.
by Hariri but scripted by Riyadh, the resignation was delivered from
Saudi Arabia, where the Lebanese premier has been taken prisoner.
kidnapping is a further testament to Riyadh's growing desperation. Not
only has the move weakened Saudi ‘allies' in Lebanon, but it has also
secured Hezbollah's role as the defender of Lebanon's constitution,
championing calls for the return of a Sunni leader.
On Friday, Hezbollah's Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, declared Hariri's resignation illegal.
declare that the prime minister of Lebanon has not resigned," Sayed
Nasrallah said. "Saad Hariri is our political opponent, but he is also
our prime minister."
The Hezbollah leader explained that the
Saudi plot also involved inciting "Israel" to strike Lebanon. However,
Sayed Nasrallah downplayed the prospects of another war.
Author and professor at the Lebanese American University (LAU), Amal Saad, agrees.
Saudi nor the US have taken on Hizbullah before, it will be "Israel"
which talks them out of it, especially since both are relying on it to
do their dirty work," Saad opined. ""Israel" was begging the US to
repeal the nuclear deal with Iran precisely so it wouldn't have to take
on Hizbullah again."
Saad believes that Riyadh's increasingly
hostile posturing towards the Lebanese state is a "substitute for war,
not a harbinger of it."
The coalition-building process between "Israel" and Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf has been going on for quite some time.
cementing of the alliance was spurred on by the fact that both "Israel"
and Saudi Arabia lost in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The two have had to
pull their military, financial and diplomatic resources in the hope of
retaining some of their regional clout.
In recent months, they
have been shifting their attention toward Lebanon and away from Syria,
where any kind of progress has been ruled out due to the presence of
Damascus' allies - Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
But Tel Aviv and
Riyadh have learned the hard way that the ability of the resistance
axis to absorb an attack is far greater than their own capacity to
inflict real damage.
Saudi Arabia, which has brought the war in
Yemen to its own capital, is incapable of directly challenging Iran
militarily. And Tel Aviv cannot afford to ignore Hezbollah's newly
acquired status as a regional power.
The stage may be set for a
war that no one really wants, but the outcome of which can only have
one conclusion - a catastrophic defeat for Saudi Arabia and its allies
and their irreversible demise.