World War 3? US and EU back Lebanon amid row with Saudi Arabia – Gulf CATASTROPHE feared

EU ambassadors to Lebanon said they reaffirmed “their strong support for the continued unity, stability, sovereignty, and security of Lebanon and its people”.

They also called “on all sides to pursue constructive dialogue and to build on the work achieved in the last 11 months towards strengthening Lebanon’s institutions and preparing parliamentary elections in early 2018, in adherence with the Constitution”.

On Tuesday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a declaration of support to Lebanon amid growing unrest in the Middle East.

She said: “The United States strongly supports the legitimate institutions in the Lebanese state.

“We expect all members of the international community to respect fully those institutions and the sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon.” 

The EU and US support comes after Saudi Arabia accused the Middle Eastern country of declaring war following “aggression” against the kingdom by Shia group Hezbollah.

Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the Iran-backed Lebanese group had attacked his country.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, he said the Lebanese administration would now be “dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia”.

He claimed Hezbollah’s actions “were considered acts of a declaration of war against Saudi Arabia by Lebanon and by the Lebanese Party of the Devil”.

Al-Sabhan said the message had also been delivered to Lebanese prime minister Saas al-Hariri, a Saudi ally.

Al-Hariri resigned at the weekend saying he feared an assassination plot against him, accusing Iran and Hezbollah of threatening peace in the Middle East.

After the shock exit, al-Sabhan tweeted: “Lebanon, after the resignation, will never be the same as before.

“It will not accept to be in any case a platform for launching terrorism to our countries.”

Lebanese president Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, has refused to accept Hariri’s resignation, saying he first wants him to return to Lebanon so he can meet him in person to understand the reasons.

Despite Washington’s decision to side with Lebanon on this issue, the US has joined Saudi Arabia in pointing the finger at Iran for the recent failed missile attack on Riyadh.

While President Trump continues his 12-day tour of Asia, the White House has condemned the missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi militias on Saudi Arabia and said Iran “enabled” the launch amid increasing instability in the Middle East.

In a statement, the White House said: “Houthi missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, enabled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, threaten regional security and undermine UN efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict.”

The news comes after Saudi Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of arming militias – something he branded a “clear act of aggression” which could be considered “an act of war”. 

Iran has denied the accusations and instead mocked Saudi Arabia.

The country’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on Twitter this week: “KSA [the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] bombs Yemen to smithereens, killing 1000s of innocents including babies, spreads cholera and famine, but of course blames Iran.