A Row Over Yemen Sends Lebanon-Gulf Ties Spiraling
MIN READNov 2, 2021 | 16:46 GMT
A portrait of Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi is seen on a billboard in Sanaa, Yemen, on Oct. 31, 2021.
(Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)
The quick deterioration of Lebanon-Gulf ties over an official’s controversial comments on the Yemen conflict reflects Arab Gulf states’ willingness to act against Iranian proxies and risks further harming Lebanon’s already fragile economy. In a media interview that aired last week, Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi argued Houthi rebels were “defending themselves” against “external aggression” in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia has led an anti-Houthi military campaign since 2015 with varying levels of support from other Arab Gulf states. In response to the apparent criticism of its Yemen intervention, Saudi Arabia suspended imports from Lebanon on Oct. 29, summoned the Lebanese envoy from Riyadh for talks (who it has since expelled), and sent an “official protest note” to Kordahi. Fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Bahrain and Kuwait have also expelled their Lebanese envoys amid the controversy. And on Oct. 30 the United Arab Emirates said it was withdrawing its envoys...