Lebanese Christians Watch Regional Tensions

09/20/2019 Lebanon (International Christian Concern) –  Some regional Middle Eastern media outlets have warned that regional tension boiling between Saudi Arabia and Iran is increasingly putting Lebanon, and particularly Christians, in political cross-hairs. The reason is closely tied to Lebanon’s political history.

Lebanon stands unique among the Middle East in that it is the only country with a Christian president, a compromise which followed a bloody civil war from 1975-1990. The current population of Christians in Lebanon is a contentious issue, as Christians are fearful that any decrease of the Lebanese Christian population will negatively impact their role in government.

The Christian governmental presence is “counter-balanced” by Hezbollah, a terrorist organization backed by Iran. Meanwhile, just two years ago, Lebanon’s Prime Minister—a Muslim— was temporarily disappeared by Saudi Arabia. The situation has at times been framed as a Saudi-Iranian battle over Lebanon.

As Saudi Arabia and Iran escalate tensions in the Gulf, Lebanese are left wondering what options the situation will dictate to them. For Lebanese Christians, there is no easy choice.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are actively committing serious religious freedom violations. Saudi Arabia’s violations are so serious that there is nearly no Christian presence in the country. In Iran, Christianity is expanding but is experiencing significant persecution from the government.

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