The US State Department issued a statement today criticizing the Saudi government for halting its $4 billion in planned military aid to Lebanon, and for its call for all Saudi citizens to leave the Mediterranean nation.
The Saudis argued that Hezbollah is a “threat” and that its position within the Lebanese government meant it was inappropriate to back the nation’s military. The US argued that any aid to the Lebanese military would “diminish the role of Hezbollah” in Lebanon.
Historically, the Lebanese military has declined to get involved in wars happening on Lebanese soil, leaving Hezbollah to handle issues like Israeli invasions on their own, which has given the group considerable influence. Hezbollah is also one of the largest political factions within Lebanon.
With the growth of the Lebanese military, they’ve engaged in some limited fights against ISIS and al-Qaeda when those factions have crossed in from neighboring Syria, though in practice they have struggled in this role, and Hezbollah has again been seen as the more active force, fighting on the Syrian side of the border.