Lebanon Will Only Survive if Hezbollah Disarms, Saudi FM Says

Speaking in Rome, the Saudi foreign minister said that Lebanon had been hijacked by the Shi'ite Iranian proxy group

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends the "Rome 2017 MED, Mediterranean dialogues" in Rome, Italy, December 1, 2017.
REMO CASILLI/REUTERS

Lebanon has been "hijacked" by Hezbollah and the country can only flourish if the Iranian-backed group disarms, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Friday.

"Lebanon will only survive or prosper if you disarm Hezbollah," Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a conference in Italy. "As long as you have an armed militia, you will not have peace in Lebanon." 

Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah has emerged as a big winner in the turmoil that has swept the Arab world since the uprisings of 2011. This growing strength has alarmed the Sunni Muslim monarchy Saudi Arabia, Shi'ite Iran's regional arch-rival

Last month Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri announced his resignation while he was in the Saudi capital Riyadh, a move which stunned the Lebanese and raised suspicions that it was orchestrated by Saudi Arabia, his main backer. He later returned to Lebanon and put the resignation on hold to allow for consultations.