Saudis walk back es­ca­la­tion as dra­matic moves back­fire

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - NEWS -

BEIRUT » Saudi Ara­bia’s dra­matic moves to counter Iran in the re­gion ap­pear to have back­fired, sig­nif­i­cantly ratch­et­ing up re­gional ten­sions and set­ting off a spi­ral of re­ac­tions and anger that seem to have caught the kingdom off guard.

Now it’s try­ing to walk back its es­ca­la­tions in Le­banon and Ye­men.

On Mon­day, the kingdom an­nounced that the Saudi-led coali­tion fight­ing Shi­ite rebels in Ye­men would be­gin re­open­ing air­ports and sea­ports in the Arab world’s poor­est coun­try, days af­ter clos­ing them over a rebel bal­lis­tic mis­sile at­tack on Riyadh.

The move came hours af­ter Le­banese Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri, who shocked the na­tion by an­nounc­ing his res­ig­na­tion from the Saudi cap­i­tal on Nov. 4, gave an in­ter­view in which he backed off his stri­dent con­dem­na­tion of the Le­banese mil­i­tant Hezbol­lah, say­ing he would re­turn to the coun­try within days to seek a set­tle­ment with Shi­ite mil­i­tants.

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