When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) met with President Trump in Washington in March, the two leaders discussed regional issues ranging from the Iran nuclear deal to the ongoing wars in Yemen and Syria. But notably absent from readouts of their conversations was Lebanon and its internal stability—possibly because MbS is still recovering from Saudi Arabia’s controversial detention of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri in November. Additionally, MbS and the Trump administration share the view that Lebanon is already lost to Iranian influence. At a time of greater Saudi regional activism, the United States should encourage Riyadh’s attention on renewed investment and constructive engagement in Lebanon, instead of retreat and defeat.
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Research Associate, Middle East