Bahrain has urged its citizens to leave Lebanon as the Gulf states continue to take action against Beirut over the Lebanese information minister’s mild criticism of the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen.
In a statement, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry “urged all citizens in Lebanon to leave immediately, following the tense situation there, which calls for extra caution.”
Following Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Kuwait have all withdrawn their diplomats from Beirut over the Yemen comments. Riyadh also banned all Lebanese imports and has called for Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi to be fired.
All Kordahi said was that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the aggressors in Yemen and called the war “futile.” The US-backed Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after Yemen’s Houthis ousted President Abd-Rabbu Monsour Hadi.
Six years after the initial intervention, despite the support from the US, a brutal air campaign, and a blockade that is starving Yemen’s citizens, the Saudi-led coalition has gained virtually no ground in the war. The Houthis are currently advancing on the city of Maarib, the last significant piece of territory held by the Hadi government.
Riyadh’s moves against Lebanon come as the country is facing a dire economic crisis. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati has spoken with Saudi leaders and said Kordahi’s comments did not represent the opinion of the government in Beirut. But the Saudis seem intent on punishing the cash-strapped nation.