Five Middle Eastern countries issued a travel ban to Lebanon without submitting any clear evidence about a possible security threat for their citizens
Written by Mario Andrijasevic exclusively for SouthFront
After Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE on Tuesday advised their citizens to leave Lebanon unless it is really necessary for them to stay, today also Kuwait and Qatar advised their citizens to do the same. In a statement by their embassies they also called on the citizens who are attending to travel to Lebanon to reconsider their plans.
Even though these five countries issued very similar travel alerts they did not submit any clear evidence about any possible security threat for their citizens.
The travel warnings came days after Saudi Arabia cancelled 4 billion USD in aid to Lebanon’s army and their security forces. Alleged leaders of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah are under sanction by Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis criticized the Lebanese foreign minister’s refusal to endorse Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation statements condemning mob attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran in January. Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil also refused to accept a classification of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Just to be clear, all these attacks on Saudis in Iran started when Saudis executed a prominent Shiite cleric convicted of terrorism charges. Riyadh also condemned the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon and condemned the group’s “terror acts” in the Arab world. Not to mention Hezbollah is heavily engaged in fighting against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria. Hezbollah’s leaders have accused Saudi Arabia of funding and arming terrorist groups operating across the region.
In many parts of Lebanon, Hezbollah forces move freely without interference from security forces and operate a state within a state.
The United Arab Emirates and the Bahraini officials said that the main reason for their travel alert is because of reducing the size of their diplomatic staff in the country and that they are concerned for their people´s safety.
Separately today, Lebanon´s Daily Star magazine reports that Yemen’s government spokesman Rajeh Badi accused Hezbollah of directly meddling in the current battles between Saudi-backed government forces and Iranian supported Houthi rebels.
“The government has documents and circumstantial evidence that prove the extent of Hezbollah’s involvement in the war waged by the Houthi militias against the Yemeni people,” Badi told the state-run Yemeni Saba news agency.