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Saudi rift with Lebanon growing amid discontent over Hezbollah’s dominance

If Lebanon, mired in a financial and political crisis, didn’t have enough problems, it has angered Saudi Arabia, an important economic patron. The Saudis have taken umbrage at comments made by Lebanon’s information minister. Some analysts, however, tell JNS that the comments were just a pretext—a way for the Saudis to express their long-simmering discontent with Beirut.

The remarks were made by Lebanon’s Minister of Information George Kordahi, who blamed Saudi Arabia for its “aggression” against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Although he said this back in August before he joined the government—and Lebanon’s prime minister disavowed Kordahi’s statements—it wasn’t enough for the Saudis, who recalled their ambassador on Friday. In solidarity, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates quickly followed suit, recalling their ambassadors as well.

The diplomatic crisis worsened this weekend when Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, suggested to media outlets that it was “pointless” for his country to engage with Lebanon. “I think we have come to the conclusion that dealing with Lebanon and its current government is not productive and not helpful with Hezbollah’s continuing dominance of the political scene,” he told CNBC in Rome on Saturday.

Read More: JNS