The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on citizens of the Kingdom to leave Lebanon immediately, according to the official news agency in Bahrain.
The ministry described the step as coming “in view of the tense situation there, which requires caution and caution,” stressing on its previous statements “not to travel permanently to the Lebanese Republic, in order to prevent citizens from being exposed to any risks and to ensure their safety.”
Relations between the Gulf states and Lebanon were strained against the backdrop of old statements by the Lebanese Minister of Information, George Kordahi, about the Saudi role in Yemen.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bouhabib, spoke about the possibility of Qatari mediation to resolve the dispute, stressing the need to establish a dialogue between Beirut and Riyadh.
Lebanese media reported on discussions held by Prime Minister Najib Mikati with French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders, on the sidelines of the climate summit held in Glasgow.
The Lebanese newspaper “An-Nahar” said that Macron affirmed “France’s adherence to Lebanon’s political and economic stability.”
Macron supports a roadmap for reforms in Lebanon, the completion of which will lead to the provision of a necessary international financial rescue plan, but the French president has previously expressed frustration with the repeated failure among Lebanese factions to form a government capable of implementing reforms.
According to Al-Nahar newspaper, Mikati met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who confirmed Germany’s support for Lebanon and gave immediate instructions to her advisors to consider Mikati’s requests, especially in the field of infrastructure.
Mikati also met, in Glasgow, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the Kuwaiti Prime Minister, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
The recent tensions between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia emerged as a result of old statements made by George Kordahi, before he assumed the position of Minister of Information.
In response to a question regarding submitting his resignation, Kordahi said in statements to Al-Diyar newspaper that he “fully understands and feels the suffering of the Lebanese abroad and their fear of any measure that might affect them.”
He added: “The issue has turned into an issue of national dignity. I am not attached to a position or a job, but the issue has gone beyond that to dignity.”
Qardahi said: “The issue is under study and I am waiting for President Mikati to return from the Glasgow summit to put all the cards on the table and come up with an agreed upon decision between me and him.”
The repercussions of Qardahi’s statements underscore the depth of the Iranian-Saudi rivalry, as well as the growing Gulf concerns about Tehran due to the lack of progress in US-led efforts to revive the Iranian nuclear deal that limits Tehran’s nuclear activities.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states allied with the United States are struggling to counter the influence wielded by Tehran across the region.
And the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, had made a statement to Reuters news agency at the weekend, in which he said that the issue went beyond Qardahi’s statements.
Faisal added, “I think it is important for the government in Lebanon or the Lebanese institution to formulate a path forward that liberates Lebanon from the current political structure that reinforces Hezbollah’s hegemony.”
But Reuters quoted a senior Iranian official, who is close to the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying that Riyadh’s move shows that the Saudis are losing to Iran on the diplomatic front and need some influence.
The official added that Riyadh may be able to isolate Lebanon, but it will not be able to isolate Hezbollah.
This is not the first time, in recent years, that hostility to Hezbollah has prompted Saudi Arabia to act against Lebanon.
In 2017, Prime Minister Saad Hariri unexpectedly resigned during his visit to Riyadh, which plunged Lebanon into a crisis. Sources at the time, including French President Macron, said that Saudi Arabia had detained him, but Riyadh denied this.
Mikati’s government is already in a stalemate over a dispute over an investigation into the Beirut port explosion last year. The cabinet has not convened since October 12.