Hariri holds Hezbollah responsible for Lebanon’s rift with Saudi Arabia

Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Friday that Iran-backed Hezbollah was responsible for the rift with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. He made the statement after Saudi Arabia and Bahrain expelled the Lebanese ambassadors and after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Lebanon following Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi’s ant Saudi statements . Kordahi will be under huge pressure to resign for damagesging the relations with Saudi Arabia and other other Arab Gulf countries

Beirut : Lebanese former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Friday that Iran-backed Hezbollah was responsible for the rift with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

“The responsibility, first and foremost, in this regard lies with Hezbollah, and its professed hostility toward the Arabs and the Arab Gulf states,” Hariri said in a tweet. 

He issued the statement after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Lebanon “for consultation” and ordered the Lebanese envoy in Riyadh to leave within 48 hours on Friday. Saudi Arabia also banned Lebanese products from the Kingdom.

Riyadh’s actions were in response to comments made by Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi about the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. Kordahi, a former newscaster of the Saudi broadcast company MBC, said that the Yemen’s Houthi militia were only defending themselves against aggression.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and several other Arab states formed a coalition in 2015 to help restore Yemen’s legitimate government which was ousted by the Houthis. Since then, the Iran-backed militia had been launching ballistic missiles, rockets and explosive-laden drones against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia.

The dispute is the latest challenge to Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet which is already in political paralysis over a row around the Beirut port blast probe.

The rift risks widening to more Gulf states with Bahrain also asking Lebanon’s ambassador to leave shortly after the Saudi decision.

Mikati, in a phone call with Kordahi on Friday evening, asked him to put the national interest first and “take the right decision to fix Arab relations with Lebanon,” a statement by his office said.

Sources with knowledge of the matter had told Reuters the Saudi escalation was piling pressure on Kordahi to resign in order to avert further consequences.

Mikati earlier reiterated his government’s commitment to good relations with Saudi Arabia and called for Arab partners to put the latest crisis behind them but stopped short of announcing concrete action to remedy the crisis.

“We also appeal brotherly Arab leaders to work and help to overcome this crisis in order to preserve Arab cohesion,” the statement said.

Kordahi has said the show was recorded nearly a month before he took office and he would not resign over the incident, earning praises from the Hezbollah.

Mikati has been hoping to improve ties with Gulf Arab states which have been strained for years because of the influence wielded in Beirut by the Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah.

“The control of the terrorist Hezbollah on the decision-making of the Lebanese state made Lebanon an arena for implementing projects for countries that don’t wish Lebanon and its people well,” a Riyadh statement carried by SPA said.

In April, Saudi Arabia banned all fruit and vegetable imports from Lebanon blaming an increase in drug smuggling by Hezbollah . 

The ban added to the economic woes of Lebanon, already in the throes of one of the modern times’ deepest financial crises. 




One response to “Hariri holds Hezbollah responsible for Lebanon’s rift with Saudi Arabia”

  1. The Saudi-Lebanon crisis threatens the Lebanese government’s continuation
    The crisis following the remarks of the Lebanese Information Minister against the war of the Saudis and emirates in Houthi, Iran’s loyalists in Yemen, threatens to dismantle Mikati’s new government.
    The Saudis are using their full weight, which includes economic sanctions and the inclusion of Gulf states to put pressure on Lebanon, with the aim of firing the minister.
    On the other hand, Hezbollah made it clear to Prime Minister Mikati, (according to Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Akhbar newspaper) that if he fired the information minister, then Hezbollah ministers would resign from his government – and in practice this means that Mikati will not have a government.
    The issue of the minister’s remarks causes an interesting phenomenon. It divides Lebanon very clearly into camps: the Hezbollah camp and the Shiite axis – opposite the rest.
    The issue forces many factors to choose a side and express their opinion to which camp they belong.
    Saad al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, has already declared that Hezbollah is to blame for the situation from start to finish due to the hostility it arouses in Arab countries.
    The Saudi axis is further strengthened on the issue by the popular Lebanese singer Alyssa (25 million followers on Facebook) who addresses Lebanese Minister Qardahi and says: “Do you love the Houthis and Assad so much? You are welcome to go to them with your government and the axis to which you belong and leave Lebanon alone. ”
    One of the most prominent journalists in their opposition to Hezbollah sent an amusing tweet to Nasrallah following the return of the ambassadors:
    “So what do we do now Ya Side? Are ambassadors planted in pots on the porch?”
    (She was referring to the same famous speech in which Nasrallah last year called for “jihad through agriculture” to save the Lebanese economy).
    Prime Minister Mikati, and in fact the whole of Lebanon are between a rock and a hard place. The upcoming elections sharpen the polarization between the Hezbollah camp and the opposition camp

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