Lebanon counting on Kuwait to save it from free fall towards the abyss

abbas Ibrahim

Beirut – The results of General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim’s visit on Sunday to Kuwait will be sensed quickly on the Lebanese scene, Lebanese and Kuwaiti media reported

“Citizens will sense the magnitude of the direct Kuwaiti support for the economy after this visit,” an unnamed source told Kuwait’s al-Qabas newspaper in remarks published Sunday.

A source close to the Lebanese Presidency meanwhile told Kuwait’s al-Jarida newspaper that Ibrahim’s visit follows “contacts on the highest level between the two countries.”

The visit aims to explore means to “spare Lebanon a free fall towards the abyss,” the source added, noting that Ibrahim will not carry “specific Lebanese demands.”

“Any Kuwaiti assistance to Lebanon is to be decided by Kuwait itself,” the source went on to say.

Since its independence in 1961, Kuwait  maintained strong  relations with Lebanon. Many Kuwaitis considered Lebanon their second home and spent spent their summer holidays in Lebanon . Kuwait also has consistently been one of the leading financial backers of Lebanon’s Central bank. But relations recently have been going downhill because of Hezbollah’s interference in the region. Kuwaiti authorities in Aug 2017 arrested 12 convicted members of a “terrorist cell” with ties to Iran and Hezbollah after a weeks-long manhunt. The cell had reportedly planned to launch attacks across the Gulf state, according to the court verdict.

Kuwait not doing well

But Kuwait is not doing well according to reports from Dubai. Almost 1.5 million expatriate workers are expected to leave Kuwait by year’s end as economic slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic forced companies to cut their workforce to save on costs and remain afloat.

Likewise, the government’s decision to lower the number of expats living in the country, through a new residency law, and its continuing Kuwaitization of jobs in the public sector also hit migrant workers.

Over 158,000 expat workers have already left the country since March 16 . Many of whom have been laid off because of the coronavirus crisis, local newspaper Arab Times reported. The Egyptian and Indian expats communities were hit the hardest, the report said.

The draft of Kuwait’s new residency law would limit the number of foreign nationals .

 Lebanese people form one of the largest community of non-citizen Arabs in Kuwait.