Published by: Radwa Ramadan Abdel-Fattah Sherif
Due to prior statements by George Kordahi, the Lebanese Minister of Information, about the war in Yemen, in which he stated that Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen was “pointless and should end,” and that “the Houthis in Yemen have the right to defend themselves,” As a result of these words, a diplomatic crisis developed between Lebanon and Arab Gulf governments, particularly Saudi Arabia. The diplomatic crisis has had an impact on Lebanon’s devastated economy, in addition to formal foreign reactions , and internal divides between supporters and opponents.
Reactions in the Gulf
In view of some Lebanese officials’ unacceptable attitude against Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain announced the expulsion of their diplomats from Lebanon in solidarity with the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has also chosen to “suspend all Lebanese imports into Saudi Arabia, significantly impacting Lebanon’s economy.”
The economic situation has reached a catastrophic stage.
Lebanon is in the midst of one of the world’s three worst economic crises, according to the World Bank. In this sense, the words will have an impact on the Lebanese industry, as well as food and agricultural products, at a time when Lebanon needs to resurrect its economy.
In the aftermath of the worsening of the diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, the exchange rate of the Lebanese pound plummeted considerably against the dollar at the start of today’s unofficial market transactions.
Stopping exports from Lebanon to Saudi Arabia will put the country’s productive sectors, particularly agriculture and manufacturing, under tremendous economic strain. Worse, it is possible that Saudi Arabia’s decision to halt all Lebanese imports may prompt other Gulf countries to follow suit.
On the sidelines, the Lebanese government met with France to mediate on Friday, October 29, as diplomatic sources revealed that France asked the Lebanese government not to resign in order to avoid the repercussions of the resignation on the parliamentary elections that the international community was counting on to bring a positive change to the Lebanon economy, as it is expected that the International Monetary Fund will not give Lebanon any money before the parliamentary elections, as it is expected that the IMF will not give Lebanon
At a time when the Lebanese government is desperate for any help , it can get to keep the country from imploding, and it is expected that it will dismiss Qardahi himself, despite internal opposition, in order to contain the diplomatic crisis before it worsens, especially since this is not the first time that tensions have arisen as a result of statements made by Lebanese officials; in May, statements made by the Lebanese government sparked his words inflamed relations between Lebanon and the Gulf, but the situation was contained in a way or another in the end.
The Gulf escalation is expected to continue, with Gulf Cooperation Council countries planning joint escalator steps and imposing sanctions on Lebanese political figures and businessmen, including businessmen who transferred money from European banks to the UAE to avoid European sanctions.
Finally, it appears that the Mikati government is in jeopardy, especially because the government’s resignation is off the table because it would jeopardize the parliamentary elections, and hence the International Monetary Fund’s policy of not giving Lebanon any money until the elections are held.
On the other hand, Sunni voices began clamoring for the government’s resignation and professing their support for Saudi Arabia. Hariri accused Hezbollah of “promoting animosity to the Arabs and the Arab Gulf governments” for what is happening and the significant tension that has developed between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.