Crisis in the Region: Who Is Responsible?

Published: July 18, 2006

Share Article

Saudi Arabia has charged that the crisis unfolding across Lebanon and northern Israel was the responsibility of Hizballah and its backers. On July 14 the Saudi Press Agency quoting “an official source” said a “gravely dangerous situation” was created by “miscalculated adventures carried out by elements inside the state and those behind them.” One day later at an emergency session of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo Prince Saud al-Faisal labeled Hizballah’s kidnapping of Israeli soldiers — the act that precipitated the current Israel-Lebanon confrontation — as “unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible.”

Today Prince Saud continued to criticize Hizballah and called for complete control by the central government over all of Lebanon, “We support the Lebanese government spreading control over all of its territory.. ..The decision of war and peace belongs to the legitimate authorities, not any other party — otherwise there will be chaos.” Speaking to reporters in Jeddah, Prince Saud continued the call for a ceasefire and for the international community to play a role in ending the conflict.

What follows are the complete Saudi Press Agency statement addressing the question of who was responsible for the crisis; a statement summarizing Prince Saud’s address to the Arab League meeting; and a US State Department report about Saudi Arabia’s position on the crisis.

“These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them.”

Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal

JEDDAH, JULY 14, SPA — AN OFFICIAL SOURCE SAID THAT THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA HAS BELIEVED AND STILL BELIEVES IN THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE UNDER OCCUPATION TO FIGHT THIS OCCUPATION IN ALL ITS FORMS AND TO REJECT ITS ILLEGAL MEASURES AIMING AT ERASING IDENTITY AND CHANGING REALTIES ON THE GROUND.

ON THIS BASIS, THE KINGDOM HAS ALWAYS BEEN STANDING WITH ALL ITS CAPABILITIES WITH THE LEGITIMATE PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE WHICH AIMS AT RESISTING MILITARY OCCUPATION AND AVOIDING HARMING THE INNOCENT.

ON THE SAME BASIS, THE KINGDOM STOOD FIRMLY WITH THE RESISTANCE IN LEBANON UNTIL ISRAELI OCCUPATION OF SOUTH LEBANON ENDED.

VIEWING WITH DEEP CONCERN THE BLOODY, PAINFUL EVENTS CURRENTLY TAKING PLACE IN PALESTINE AND LEBANON, THE KINGDOM WOULD LIKE TO CLEARLY ANNOUNCE THAT A DIFFERENCE SHOULD BE DRAWN BETWEEN LEGITIMATE RESISTANCE AND MISCALCULATED ADVENTURES CARRIED OUT BY ELEMENTS INSIDE THE STATE AND THOSE BEHIND THEM WITHOUT CONSULTATION WITH THE LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY IN THEIR STATE AND WITHOUT CONSULTATION OR COORDINATION WITH ARAB COUNTRIES, THUS CREATING A GRAVELY DANGEROUS SITUATION EXPOSING ALL ARAB COUNTRIES AND THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS TO DESTRUCTION WITH THOSE COUNTRIES HAVING NO SAY.

THE KINGDOM VIEWS THAT IT IS TIME THAT THESE ELEMENTS ALONE BEAR THE FULL RESPONSIBILITY OF THESE IRRESPONSIBLE ACTS AND SHOULD ALONE SHOULDER THE BURDEN OF ENDING THE CRISIS THEY HAVE CREATED.

THE KINGDOM WILL CONTINUALLY SEEK FOR SECURITY AND STABILITY IN THE REGION, EXERTING EVERYTHING THAT IT CAN DO TO PROTECT THE ARAB NATION FROM AN ISRAELI OPPRESSION AND TRANSGRESSION.

–SPA

Prince Saud al-Faisal addresses Arab Foreign Minister’s emergency meeting

Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal [July 15] addressed an emergency closed door meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo. In his address, Prince Saud criticized some who have taken impromptu and emotional decisions without thinking of the consequences that have led to the disastrous results in the last half a century.

He added that such behavior has led to numerous tragedies and the loss and occupation of Arab territories.

Prince Saud said it was unacceptable for a member of the Arab League to take unilateral decisions. He added that the consequences of such actions affect not only the particular country but also other members and lead to miscalculated adventures.

Prince Saud noted that the Israeli government has been continuing its hateful occupation polices and been engaged in premeditated and repeated destruction of infrastructure. He added that Israel has also constantly violated human rights, engaged in unlawful targeted assassinations and has shown disdain for all established international norms and conventions. Prince Saud added that the international community shoulders the responsibility for overlooking Israel’s aggression and illegal behavior.

Prince Saud called upon Arab foreign ministers to establish an effective mechanism to formulate a successful response to the crisis. He emphasized that the League must be a party to a solution of the conflict, rather than part of the problem. The foreign minister called for a speedy end to the Israeli aggression against Lebanon and Palestine, an end to the violence, and for the prevalence of dialogue.

Source: SaudiEmbassy.net

Bush Welcomes Saudi Condemnation of Lebanese Militants
White House says Arab nations recognize Hizballah as threat to security

By David Shelby
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington – President Bush July 14 welcomed a statement from Saudi Arabia characterizing Hizballah’s provocation of Israel as “irresponsible” and saying the Lebanese militant group’s actions “are exposing Arab nations and their gains to grave dangers without these nations having a say in the matter.”

The Saudi statement laid the blame for the current crisis squarely on the militant group and its Iranian backers and urged them to take the necessary actions to resolve the problem. “These elements should bear the responsibility for their irresponsible actions and they alone should end the crisis they have created,” the statement said.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the president looks forward to the outcome of an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, Egypt, July 15 and hopes “that their comments will reflect the same concern about Hezbollah’s acting independently and thereby imperiling the democracy in Lebanon, which we support.”

Snow said it is “pretty obvious that what Hezbollah is trying to do is to destabilize the situation. It has an interest in renewed violence at a time when Arab nations have been speaking out more and more about the importance of a two state solution; they agree with us on that. And what is heartening to note is that a number of Arab nations are, in fact, saying to Hezbollah, ‘Sorry, you’re on your own.’” (See related article.)

He said Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt are coming to view Hizballah as an independent force, not a legitimate government entity, and an active threat to the Lebanese people, the government of Lebanon and the security of the entire region.

The Saudi statement rejected the notion that Hizballah’s recent actions could be considered acts of resistance, saying, “A distinction must be made between legitimate resistance and uncalculated adventures undertaken by elements inside [Lebanon] and those behind them without recourse to the legal authorities and consulting and coordinating with Arab nations.”

Snow said the United States supports Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora in his efforts to extend effective government control “over all Lebanese territory, including the southern regions where, in many places Hezbollah holds sway.”

Source: Washington File, US State Dept.