Lebanon (MNN) — The Arab League has sent an envoy to mediate a rift between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. The gulf Kingdom last week expelled a Lebanese ambassador and banned all Lebanese imports.
It all started when a Lebanese political official made remarks about Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, seeming to call them the aggressors in the war. To make matters more complicated, Hezbollah, a powerful political force in Lebanon, openly backs the rebel groups fighting Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
The Yemen war
The civil war has ravaged Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, since 2014. The Houthi government, championing Shia Islam, took control of the capital in 2015.
Alarmed by what they perceived as Iranian influence, Saudi Arabia and several other Sunni states began a military campaign to defeat the Houthis. This campaign has received support from Western powers, including the U.S.
Since then, the war has killed 233,000 people and put Yemen at serious risk of famine. The U.N. calls the situation the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Sectarianism in Lebanon
Andrew with Cry Out Now says the spat isn’t helping Lebanon’s economic crisis. “The normal wage for a middle-class Lebanese person is about $400 a month whereas it used to be $4,000 a month. Just the gap between those who have and have not has just been split wide open with this economic crisis.”
Andrew says the diplomatic crisis also highlights sectarian divides in Lebanon, a diverse country with a government composed of Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, and Christians. Andrew says, “So many people, half the country, are indifferent to it. They just want a modern system. The other half of the country identifies with one group. That is who they are. That’s their identity. They’re so tied to it that it’s a party before nation.”
Pray that Lebanese Christians will be peacemakers, always pointing to Jesus and bringing unity in a fractured country.
The header photo shows the provinces of the Arab League. (Photo courtesy of Arab Hafez at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)