Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, already in tense relationship, find their way to stability harder following the Expelling of Lebanese ambassador. Riyadh is furious about A Lebanese minister’s blunt remarks about Saudi Arabia’s bloody war in Yemen.
Lebanese Information Minister criticized Saudi Arabia for its six-year bloody offensive against Yemeni people. George Kordahi’s footage soon went viral on social media and was followed by Arab world’s response.
Footage of Kordahi’s TV interview dates back to August and have been spreading online though the past days. Kordahi, only one month into the job now, declared in the interview that the Houthi movement is “defending themselves… against an external aggression.” The new minister, already a famous celebrity also called for the termination of the half-decade “futile” conflict.
The most intense reaction came from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, who summoned their ambassadors and expelled Lebanese diplomatic delegates. Riyadh also put a ban on Saudi citizens to travel to Lebanon in recent days.
“The Kingdom’s government regrets the outcomes of the relations with the Lebanese Republic due to the Lebanese authorities ignoring facts, and their continued failure to take corrective measures,” Saudi officials announced in a statement.
Bahrain monarchy took the same lead hours later calling for Lebanese ambassador to forsake Riyadh. It seems that Manama’s policy was under the influence, or pressure, of Riyadh.
Lebanon and Saudi Arabia had already a tense relationship following the detection of a freight of over 5 million amphetamine Captagon pills into Saudi Arabia. The new status quo in the ties between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia is may affect the GCC.
Yemen, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia
The comments by Lebanese Information Minister reignited a flame whose firewood started to pile up more than six years ago. Saudi Arabia, which recently changed policies regarding Yemen, waged a war against the people in Yemen in the middle of a popular uprising hat devoured the Arab world.
George Kordahi, free from political strains when making the remarks, voiced the words that passes through everyone’s mind. A war that has led to the “worst humanitarian crisis”, as UN described, has no better idea to strike minds.
Following Saudi Arabia’s harsh response, the Lebanese administration, already in sharp economic condition, found no choice but to express regret. “It is true that we disassociate from conflicts, but we don’t disassociate ourselves from any position that is in solidarity with Saudi Arabia or the Gulf countries,” Lebanese prime minister said.
Saudi Arabia went even further to charge Hezbollah with dictating Lebanon’s weak reaction to Kordahi’s comments. Riyadh regards Hezbollah as a terrorist organization that supports the Houthi movement in their defense against Saudi offensive in Yemen. “[Hezbollah] made Lebanon an arena and a launching pad for implementing projects of countries that do not wish well for Lebanon and its brotherly people,” part of the Saudi statement stressed.
In its statement, Saudi Arabia also referred to the old scars regarding the smuggling of drugs to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh seems to be using it as a leverage to put pressure on Beirut to follow its political directions. Earlier in May, a Lebanese foreign minister was forced to resign under Saudi pressure.
Saudi Arabia’s response in Kordahi Footage case indicates controlling the atmosphere regarding Yemen Issue. Lebanon and Saudi Arabia will find a way to resolve tension, but the wounds in Yemen need years to heal.