Saudi hawk minister leads campaign against Iran and proxies

BEIRUT

BEIRUT (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince relies on a small, core group of advisers, none more provocative than the minister for Gulf affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan.

Al-Sabhan has had a hand in helping shape the kingdom’s high-stakes gambles to counter rival Iran. His fingerprints have been on the hurried and ultimately unsuccessful resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister earlier this month.

For days before Lebanon’s Saad Hariri announced his surprise resignation from Riyadh, which the kingdom is widely believed to have orchestrated, al-Sabhan issued threats against Lebanon’s government as well as Iran and its ally Hezbollah via Twitter.

It unnerved many Lebanese who feared being dragged yet again into the Saudi-Iran rivalry for regional supremacy. Earlier, al-Sabhan met with Hariri and delivered a blunt warning against concessions favoring Iran’s allies in Lebanon.

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