Saudi Arabia Orders Its Citizens Out of Lebanon, Raising Fears of War
–BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon on Thursday, escalating a bewildering crisis between the two Arab nations and raising fears that it could lead to an economic crisis or even war.
The order came after Saudi Arabia had stepped up its condemnations of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shiite militia that is the most powerful political and military force in Lebanon, and asserted that Lebanon had effectively declared war on Saudi Arabia.
The developments plunged Lebanon into a state of national anxiety, with politicians, journalists and even parents picking up their children at school consumed with the question of what could come next.
While analysts said a war was unlikely — because Saudi Arabia was not capable of waging one and Israel did not want one now — they worried that with so many active conflicts in the region, any Saudi actions that raised the temperature increased the risk of an accidental conflagration.
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