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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 6-Nov-2017
6-Nov-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia and Lebanon face increasing instability as crises multiply

Web Log - November, 2017

6-Nov-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia and Lebanon face increasing instability as crises multiply

Yemen's Houthi missile attack on Riyadh called a 'dangerous escalation'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Hezbollah's Nasrallah calls for calm in the streets of Lebanon

Iran now claims to control four Arab capitals: Beirut (Top L), Sanaa (Top R), Baghdad (Bottom L), Damascus (Bottom R) (AlWeeam)
Iran now claims to control four Arab capitals: Beirut (Top L), Sanaa (Top R), Baghdad (Bottom L), Damascus (Bottom R) (AlWeeam)

Following the shocking resignation on Saturday of Lebanon's prime minister Saad Hariri, fears are growing of instability and street protests. Hariri played a crucial role in the government as a Sunni Muslim, balancing a Syriac Maronite Catholic president and a Shia Muslim speaker of parliament, both of whom were closely allied with Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

The fears that that at best the government will simply be unable to make any decisions at all, as had happened in recent years, and at worst that street protesters will riot and blame Nasrallah for the country's severe economic problems.

Some people fear that Nasrallah will deflect attention from himself by starting a war with Israel.

Nasrallah is calling for calm, and for avoiding street protests:

"This created a state of anxiety in Lebanon and especially with the rumors that accompanied it. We call for avoiding a return to the previous tensions or to any street protests. ... All of us must remain calm within legal frameworks ... and I don't think that there is any party to clan in Lebanon whose interests are in Lebanon returning to chaotic conditions of the past."

However, the Foreign Ministry of Bahrain issued a statement calling on its citizens to leave Lebanon:

"Due to the current circumstances and developments in the Republic of Lebanon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests all citizens of the Kingdom of Bahrain, currently present in the Republic of Lebanon, to leave immediately and with utmost care and caution.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also stresses that all citizens should not travel to the Republic of Lebanon at all, for the sake of their safety, in order to avoid encountering any risks as a result of these developments."

Nasrallah said that the reasons for the resignation were not understood in Lebanon, and that anyway they weren't Lebanese reasons. He offered as proof the fact that Hariri traveled to Saudi Arabia to resign. "The shape of the resignation proves that Hariri was forced to do so and that the resignation was a Saudi decision." Arab News and Al Manar (Lebanon, Hezbollah) and Bahrain Foreign Ministry

Yemen's Houthi missile attack on Riyadh called a 'dangerous escalation'

Saudi Arabia is calling a ballistic missile attack by Houthi militias in Yemen a "dangerous escalation" of the war in Yemen, in which a Saudi-led coalition is fighting against Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia blames Iran for the missile attack.

On Saturday, the Houthis launched a ballistic missile that reached the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, about 800 km from the Yemen border. the Houthis have been regularly launching missiles into Saudi territory, but Saturday's missile attack is considered a game-changer because of the distance it traveled and its accuracy. The Saudis intercepted the ballistic missile with a surface-to-air Patriot missile, which caused it to shatter into fragments near the airport, before it could reach its target. There were no casualties.

The Saudi-led coalition responded to the "dangerous escalation" with a major escalation of its own. The Saudis have shut down all of Yemen's land, sea and air ports, and have launched airstrikes, supposedly the largest barrage since the beginning of the war, on Houthi targets in Yemen's capital city Sanaa.

Yemen has been engulfed in war since September 2014, when Houthi fighters attacked the government in Sanaa and overthrew the internationally recognized government. The war has already killed more than 10,000 and displaced millions, with around 500,000 cholera cases reported in the country since the worst outbreak in decades started in April. Saudi Arabia has been accused of creating a humanitarian disaster. Reuters and Al Jazeera

Saudi's young Crown Prince Salman forces rapid change among multiple crises

The 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by far the youngest ruler that Saudi Arabia has had in decades. He is bringing about vast changes, very quickly, but opening up the country to instability.

This weekend, there have been a series of crises in rapid succession. First, Saad Hariri resigned as Lebanon's prime minister while in Riyadh. Hours later, the Houthi missile attack on Riyadh occurred, called a "dangerous escalation" by the Saudis, who responded with their own escalation in the form of port closings and a barrage of airstrikes.

Next, Saudi Arabia announced a major purge of political and business Úlites, involving the arrest of 11 princes, four ministers, and dozens of former ministers accused of corruption. Just as the resignation of Hariri has raised questions about the stability of Lebanon's government, the size of the purge has raised questions about the stability and predictability of the Saudi government.

Saudi officials were still reeling from those three events, when there was news that Saudi Prince Mansour bin Muqrin was killed in a helicopter crash, when traveling near the Yemen border. There were immediate concerns that the helicopter was shot down by a Houthi missile, but no explanation has been given, and the Houthis themselves haven't claimed credit, suggesting that the crash was not related to the Yemen war. Several other Saudi officials were killed in the same crash.

If this were the 1990s, or even the early 2000s, when the Mideast was relatively stable, even these four events could be handled as a matter of course. But ever since the "Arab Spring" of 2011, the Mideast has become increasingly unstable almost continuously.

Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. Jordan Times and CNN and Al Jazeera

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Nov-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia and Lebanon face increasing instability as crises multiply thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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