Saudi Arabia appears eager to start another proxy war with Iran in the Middle East—one that will imperil millions of Christians and other lives in Lebanon.
A war in Lebanon would create another Middle East refugee crisis. It would also breathe new life into terrorist organizations, threatening not only the region’s Christians, but also the U.S. and its allies.
“Saudi Arabia and Iran regard the Middle East as their chessboard,” said Philippe Nassif. “Saudi Arabia and Iran have been at war for years—and the Christians are often caught in the middle.” Lebanon is one of the last bastion’s Christianity and pluralism in the Middle East.
“War in Lebanon would create another humanitarian disaster, like Syria and Yemen,” said IDC Senior Advisor Andrew Doran.
The apparent forced resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is particularly destabilizing. This is the latest threat to undermine sovereignty in Lebanon, where Saudi rival Iran wields significant influence through the terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabia is conducting a campaign against civilians in Yemen that many human rights experts and Members of Congress regard as rising to the threshold of crimes against humanity.
“IDC advocates for vulnerable minorities in the Middle East,” added Nassif. “In Lebanon, all peoples—Sunni, Shia, Christian, Druze—are minorities.” War did not break out in Lebanon in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, even as Iran and Saudi Arabia’s proxies fought for the last six years in Syria, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives.
Mr. Hariri has been one of the most outspoken advocates against terrorism and for peace in Lebanon. In April 2017, Mr. Hariri asked for the United Nations to negotiate a permanent peace in Lebanon. His call was recently echoed at IDC’s Summit for Middle East Christians by Maronite Patriarch Rai, who called on America to help Lebanon negotiate peace, adding that Lebanon sought “peace with those on its borders.”
IDC calls on the Trump Administration, the United Nations, and America’s allies—particularly Germany, France, and the United Kingdom—to negotiate a permanent peace in Lebanon, including the implementation of UN Resolutions 1701 and 1559, which call for the disarmament of all militias.
IDC also calls on the U.S., the UN, and the community of civilized nations to investigate Saudi Arabia’s ongoing campaign against civilians in Yemen—especially the targeting of civilians and the denial of medical aid to almost one million cholera victims in Yemen. The UN has characterized Yemen as the worst humanitarian disaster in the world.
Finally, IDC calls for the U.S. and its allies to work for the creation of a stable, politically neutral interim government in Lebanon.