Badawi, center, led a panel discussion at Sursock Palace in Beirut. (The Daily Star/BBC, HO)
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Lebanon was once again at the center of the regional tug-o-war between Saudi Arabia and Iran this week, but this time via debate between experts, politicians and the public through the BBC's "Global Questions" program.The discussion highlighted Lebanon's recent period of stability and the opportunity that comes with the country's first parliamentary elections in nine years, as well as its vulnerability to jockeying between regional powers.Zeinab Badawi, a battle-tested master of heated debates as host of "Global Questions" and the BBC's "HARDtalk," guided the panel through the charged topic of Saudi and Iranian influence in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and beyond.Controversy was not limited to the discussion itself, the event having been at the center of attention Monday, when the original venue, the American University of Beirut, withdrew from hosting the panel at the last minute because of Marandi's participation, citing U.S. regulations, ostensibly regarding sanctions on Iran.
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