The United Arab Emirates decided to deport seventy Lebanese Citizens , mostly Shiites and reportedly because of security reasons .Four of the expelled citizens arrived from Abu Dhabi at Beirut’s International airport at 11 p.m. Saturday , and the rest are expected to arrive on Sunday.
Hassan al-Ayan, the head of the committee representing the Lebanese citizens who were expelled from the country was quoted as saying at the airport :
“A much larger group is set to arrive today ,” stressing that “those arriving were still in a state of shock”.
Three flights are scheduled to arrive to Beirut from the UAE on Sunday, with sources at Beirut’s Airport expecting a large number of deportees to be on board.
Those flying in from Dubai will arrive at either 3 p.m. or midnight, while those flying in from Abu Dhabi are set to arrive at 11 p.m.
The sources said that the majority of deportees were coming from Abu Dhabi.
The deportees are reportedly keeping a low profile as not to attract any unwanted attention.
Al-Ayan reportedly wasn’t capable of selling his car, furniture or other belongings due to the 48 hour time notice he was given to leave.
Al-Ayan said that UAE authorities were unwavering when he requested an extension to the two day deadline, despite the fact that it was impossible for him settle any of his affairs by that time.
This is the third time in 6 years that UAE decides to deport Lebanese citizens..
The UAE Authorities took the decision to deport a number of Lebanese from the country due to the suspicious activity they were involved in, the Kuwaiti daily al-Seyassah reported on Sunday.
Parliamentary sources from the March 14 camp told the daily that the authorities had issued dozens of warnings to the deported people over the years to cease their suspicious actions.
These warnings fell on deaf ears and the authorities had no choice but to deport them, they added.
The suspicious activity includes money transfers to Hezbollah and money laundering.
Others were involved in political propaganda for the party and attempts to recruit new members to it, adding that some of the deported people are not Shiites, but offered cover for them.
Arab diplomatic sources told al-Seyassah that there are fears that other Gulf states would follow the example of the UAE and deport Lebanese families “linked to Hezbollah and Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the region.”
Prime Minister Tammam Salam who has been attending the Egyptian Economic Conferece in Sharm el Sheikh met the vice president of the United Arab Emirates and Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum on Saturday to discuss the recent decision to deport the Lebanese citizens .
Sheikh Mohammed reportedly vowed to follow up on the matter with his country’s authorities, stressing that there is no official decision to target the Lebanese living in the UAE.
He pointed out that all measures taken against some Lebanese expats are merely linked to security concerns and don’t exceed this limit.
“The UAE has neither a policy nor an intention to target Lebanese residents.” Salam quoted the Dubai ruler as saying
Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, has been at odds with the Gulf states, specially since the crisis in Syria started 4 years ago.