The upheaval in Saudi Arabia is quickly raising tensions in another arena: Lebanon. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was summoned to Saudi Arabia in recent days, where he unexpectedly read a resignation statement accusing Iran and Hezbollah of plotting to assassinate him. Speculation that Hariri was coerced into resigning by the Saudis triggered the half-joking/half-serious hashtag #FreeSaadHariri, as Hariri’s own party calls for his return to Lebanon. Meanwhile, Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the UAE have ordered their citizens to leave Lebanon, raising fears of an impending military confrontation. Of course, we’ve seen political posturing between Saudis and Qataris for some time now, so a military confrontation is far from imminent. But what’s truly surprising is what one journalist described as the “stunning absence [of] US diplomacy”, noting Secretary of State Tillerson hasn’t called Lebanon or Saudi to discuss the crisis. The US doesn’t need to play policeman of the world, but when we see such a dangerous escalation involving our allies in the region, it’s mad to sit this one out. Lebanon cannot be reduced to Hezbollah, and the country has had enough proxy battles unfold on its ground and at the expense of its citizens. Someone better step up and deescalate before we have a far bigger problem on our hands.

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