In a odd coincidence, just moments after we published an article laying out Hezbollah’s military power at a time when both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon appear to be targeting Lebanon, and just two days after we discussed a leaked Israeli cable that confirmed Saudi Arabia and Israel are deliberately coordinating to destabilize the region and push Lebanon to a state of war, Saudi Arabia has ordered its citizens residing in Lebanon to leave immediately in a travel warning issued on Thursday, November 9. As Al Arabiya adds, the travel warning also called for Saudi nationals not to travel to Lebanon from any point of origin.
Full advisory below:
Official Source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Saudi nationals visiting or residing in Lebanon are asked to leave the country as soon as possible.
Riyadh, Safar 20, 1439, November 09, 2017, SPA — Due to the situations in the Republic of Lebanon, the official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Saudi nationals visiting or residing in Lebanon are asked to leave the country as soon as possible.
The Kingdom advised all citizens not to travel to Lebanon from any other international destinations.
This follows a similar warning issued by the Kingdom of Bahrain on November 5 urghing its nationals residing in Lebanon to leave immediately and to “exercise caution.” The Bahraini call came a day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation, while on location in Saudi Arabia, citing concerns he could be assassinated like his father, criticized the Lebanon-based Hezbollah paramilitary and political movement and accused Iran of alleged attempts to bring destruction to the region. The Bahraini foreign ministry said in a statement received by AFP that its call was “in the interest of its citizens’ safety and to avoid any risks they may be exposed due to the conditions and developments” that Lebanon is going through.
Earlier, Reuters reported that Lebanon believes former premier Saad al-Hariri, who as noted above resigned on Saturday while in Saudi Arabia, is being held by Riyadh, and Beirut plans to work with foreign states to secure his return, a top Lebanese government official said on Thursday. A second Reuters source, a senior politician close to Saudi-allied Hariri, said Saudi Arabia had ordered him to resign and put him under house arrest. A third source familiar with the situation said Saudi Arabia was controlling and limiting his movement.
Saudi Arabia and members of Hariri’s Future Movement have denied reports that he is under house arrest. But he has put out no statements himself denying his movements are being restricted. He made a one-day flying visit to the United Arab Emirates earlier this week before returning to Saudi Arabia.
Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister also urged the international community to slap fresh sanctions against Iran, accusing its regional rival of supporting terrorism.
“We would like to see sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism and sanctions on Iran for violating the ballistic missile resolutions of the United Nations,” Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of foreign affairs, told CNBC Thursday.
Al-Jubeir also said that the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers was “weak,” especially given Tehran would be capable of assembling a bomb “within weeks.” He added he would like to see international agencies carry out a “much more robust” job when conducting inspections in Iran.
Al-Jubeir also described the situation in Lebanon as “unfortunate” and went on to accuse Hezbollah of “hijacking the system” and putting “roadblocks” in front of Hariri at every opportunity. When asked whether Saudi Arabia was headed for a direct conflict with Iran, Al-Jubeir replied, “We hope not”, and yet just hours later Riyadh made it clear that any Saudi citizens in Lebanon are now in danger.
Needless to say, traditionally such accelerate evacuation orders have preceded military intervention. Should that be the case again, keep a close eye on oil.