Lebanon needs all the support it can get from its true allies, the Arab world Image Credit: Gulf News

Lebanon’s crises seem endless. A country that once was a beacon of prosperity and freedoms has become a failed state in every sense. One crisis after another meant the small but influential state needs its Arab brethren more than ever to help it address not only its chronic financial woes, but also sort out its political mess.

Lebanon is set to hold its general elections in mid-May. With an increasingly polarised nation, two opposing camps are set for a face off. The first is the nationalist camp, which seeks to bolster Lebanon’s relations with the country’s natural hemisphere, the Arab world, in search for stability and viable solutions to political and economic problems. The other, meanwhile, has worked for years to turn Lebanon into a pawn in the dangerous regional game of belligerence spearheaded by Iran.

The second camp, led by Hezbollah, has been active militarily in most regional hotspots, mainly Syria, Yemen and Iraq, backed by Iranian money and arms. There is no reason for Lebanon to be involved in such conflicts other than being forcibly dragged by Tehran despite the objections of the majority of the Lebanese people, who have become increasingly vocal in their opposition to Hezbollah.

Blow to Lebanon’s Arab ties

The latest blow to Lebanon’s Arab ties dealt by the pro-Iran camp came in October when a senior minister, close to Hezbollah and its main allies, Amal Movement, led by Speaker Nabih Berri, and the Free Patriotic Movement, led by President Michel Aoun’s son-in-law Gebran Bassil, issued an unsolicited statement that slammed the Arab coalition’s campaign in Yemen that supports the internationally recognised government against the Al Houthi terror group.

The Gulf states severed their diplomatic ties with Lebanon, recalling their ambassadors. The minister resigned shortly thereafter but the main issue, however, continues to linger as Hezbollah leaders continue to attack the GCC states almost on daily basis.

Therefore, Saturday’s visit to Beirut by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al Sabah represents an opportunity for Lebanon to mend its existential relations with the Arab world. “For this to happen, we call on Lebanon to distance itself from internal affairs of other countries and avoid being a platform for attacking Arab and Gulf countries,” Sheikh Ahmed was quoted as following a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The visit, the first by a senior Gulf official to Lebanon in recent years, also means that Arabs are yet to give up on Lebanon. That is an encouraging sign, especially when an important election is around the corner, where the nationalist parties face the formidable arsenal of money and arms available to Hezbollah and its allies.

However, the Mikati government needs to show the political will to make the right decision and distance the country from Iran’s regional agenda and stop fighting its wars.

With the Lebanese Lira at record low (the US dollar is at nearly 30,000 Liras currently), and inflation at a historic high, Lebanon needs all the support it can get from its true allies, the Arab world.