A window into the Saudi-Lebanon row


The following are a series of tweets by various political and media figures and outlets related to a recent furore expressed by Saudi Arabia over comments made by George Kordahi, Lebanon’s Minister of Information. These tweets provide a ‘window’ or way to look at and make sense of the ongoing row.

Before becoming Minister of Information, Kordahi said in an online interview with an Al Jazeera network-affiliated show that the Yemen war was “futile” and that it should be put to an end. He also defended Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah, saying that the movement were “defending themselves… against an external aggression,” and that “homes, villages, funerals and weddings were being bombed” by the Saudi-led coalition.

The interview was recorded on August 5, before Kordahi was appointed as minister, but it was aired on Monday (25-10-2021).

Saudi Arabia reacted to these comments by ordering Lebanon’s ambassador to Riyadh to leave over the “offensive” remarks made by Kordahi regarding the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday that it had given Lebanon’s ambassador 48 hours to leave Riyadh; that it had recalled its ambassador to Lebanon for consultations; and that it will be imposing a ban on all imports from Lebanon.

The foreign ministry statement also expressed regret over the deterioration in Saudi-Lebanese relations due to the “Lebanese authorities’ ignoring of the facts and their continued failure to take corrective measures to ensure the observance of the relations that the kingdom has long been keen on.”

Source: Twitter

Date: October 27-30, 2021

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George Kordahi, Lebanese Minister of Information

(October 27, 2021):

Since this morning, some Lebanese and Arab media outlets, and some websites, have been circulating an excerpt of an interview I had with Al Jazeera Online, on the ‘Barlaman Al-Shabab’ (Youth Parliament) program, in which I spoke about the #Yemen_War

These media outlets focused on what I’ve said about the Houthis and their self defence against the external aggression, therefore, I would like to clarify the following:

Firstly, this interview was conducted on the fifth of August (2021), which is a month before I was appointed Minister (of Information) in Prime Minister Mikati’s government.

Secondly, I did not, in any way, mean to offend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the #UAE, and I have the utmost love and goodwill for their leaders and people.

Thirdly, the parties behind this campaign have become known, and they’re the ones accusing me of (being a Minister who will) suppress the media (in Lebanon) since the formation of the government.

Fourthly, what I have said (about the) Yemen War, (that) it has become a futile/pointless war that must stop, I said in conviction, not in defense of Yemen, but also out of love for Saudi Arabia and the #UAE and concern for their interests..

Fifthly, (I’m) hoping that my words, and the hype (being) made about it, would be a reason to stop this harmful war, (a war that is harmful) for Yemen, and both #Saudi_Arabia and the UAE (as well).

Abdelbari Atwan, Arab political Analyst:

(October 30, 2021):

I contacted the Minister (of Information, Mr) George Kordahi by phone this morning, and he assured me that he adheres to his stance and will not apologise (to Saudi Arabia for saying that the Yemen war is pointless) and that he did not commit any mistake (by condemning the war on Yemen). (He also added) that resignation (from his position as Minister of Information) is out of the question, and that he will not be subjected to blackmail by any side. We commend this moral and courageous stance.

Sheikh Hussein Zeineddine, Lebanese clergyman:

(October 30, 2021):

(I don’t mean to) delight in (Saudi) misery..

(But) when Saudi Arabia – and the tails (i.e., followers) of the Gulf states – chose this timing to practice its uncivilized morals/ethics, (this) means that it is an idiotic (state) that could not find a convincing justification for its brutal behaviour (in Yemen & across the region)..Kordahi’s comments have nothing to do with what’s happening (with this whole so-called Saudi-Lebanese ‘row’). (As a matter of fact,) Ma’rib is on the threshold of liberation, (Samir) Geagea (Head of the Lebanese Forces) has failed (to stir up) strife (among the Lebanese people), the Americans will submit to Iran(‘s demands), and the Zionists (will) content themselves with howling (full stop).

Walid Joumblatt, Head of the Druze Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party:

(October 30, 2021):

(We’ve had) enough disasters. (You officials in Lebanon must) dismiss this minister (i.e., George Kordahi) – who will destroy our relations with the Arab Gulf (states) – before it’s too late. How long will stupidity, conspiracy, and collaborationists take a deep hold of Lebanese domestic and foreign policies #The_Gulf

Faysal Abdelsater, Lebanese Political Analyst:

(October 30, 2021):

*Agence France-Presse*

‘Ma’rib is completely encircled, and the Houthis are determined to capture the city despite international pressure’. This is (at the) heart (of what’s going on): Saudi Arabia’s quagmire in Yemen.

Al-Mayadeen TV:

(October 30, 2021):

Lebanon: The Lebanese Prime Minister (Najib Mikati) requests the Minister of Information (George Kordahi) to take the appropriate decision to restore Lebanon’s relations with Arab (states).

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