Saturday, April 13, 2024

Saudi Arabia seeking dialogue with Hezbollah following détente with Iran: Report

Saudi Arabia is reportedly pursuing dialogue with Lebanon's Hezbollah movement following the Tehran-Riyadh normalization and the Saudis recent efforts to mend fences with Damascus.

The Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper carried the report, quoting an unidentified Saudi official, who claimed that the kingdom hopes to open dialogue with Hezbollah “soon.”

The daily also cited “unofficial sources in Beirut” as saying that the dialogue would “be conducted through a third party.”

“Whether the endeavor succeeds or fails, it reflects the new phase in which Riyadh is rearranging regional relationships…,” the paper wrote, describing the kingdom’s policy shift as “unprecedented.”

Analysts argue that this significant foreign policy overhaul has already witnessed Saudi Arabia taking steps to re-establish diplomatic ties with Iran, and showing openness towards reinstatement of relations with Syria and the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas.

Saudi Arabia has been also significantly distancing itself from the United States both economically and politically.

Back in March, the same month when Riyadh and Tehran agreed to restore their relations through China’s mediation, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah described the reconciliation as a “good development.”

The ties between the two major regional players were severed in 2016 following protests outside Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic facilities in Iran against the kingdom’s execution of a leading Shia cleric.

The foreign policy revamp also serves as a blow to any prospect of “normalization” of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Reflecting on the unfolding developments on Monday, Israel’s Maariv newspaper said, “Saudi train is expected to stop at a station bearing a large sign with the name Hezbollah on it.”

Many other Israeli outlets have likewise described Saudi Arabia’s ongoing campaign of rapprochement with the region’s anti-Israeli parties as a source of frustration for Tel Aviv.

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