Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri says Lebanon is under a siege, hitting out at some Arab countries for closing their doors to Beirut, while at the same time reaching out to Arabs’ enemy, Israel.
Referring to Lebanon’s economic and financial crisis, Berri said on Wednesday, “We have to admit that Lebanon is under siege.”
“Is it reasonable to believe that Israel, the enemy, has opened up to Arabs in the way which is happening today, and that the Arabs are closing their doors to Lebanon? Lebanon that paid a heavy price to fix its Arabism and its identity, yes, Lebanon is under siege,” he said during a meeting with members of the Press Editors Syndicate on Wednesday, Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network reported.
Saudi Arabia in October expelled Lebanon’s ambassador and banned its imports after then Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi called for an end to the Riyadh-led aggression on Yemen.
Other Persian Gulf Arab states, including Kuwait and Bahrain, also took similar punitive measures against Beirut.
Earlier this month, Kordahi submitted his resignation to ease tensions with Saudi Arabia, but the rift is still ongoing.
This comes while a number of Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, signed US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel last year that were condemned by Palestinians as a treacherous “stab in the back.”
Riyadh itself is expected to sign a similar deal with Tel Aviv in the coming months.
Beirut orders deportation of non-Lebanese members of Bahrain opposition
As the Arab regimes are tightening the noose on Beirut, Lebanon’s Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi on Wednesday ordered the deportation of non-Lebanese members of Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, after the now-dissolved group released a report detailing rights abuses in Bahrain from 2019 to mid-2021 during a news conference in Beirut on Saturday.
According to a statement from Bahrain’s interior ministry, the kingdom’s interior minister, Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifah, called his Lebanese counterpart earlier on Wednesday to tell him that events such as the Wefaq news conference, or Kordahi’s remarks, “harm Lebanon and its people.”
The [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, whose leaders gathered in Riyadh for a summit on Tuesday, also condemned the news conference.
Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011. The participants demand that the ruling Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
The Al Khalifah regime has been coming down hard on the protests, killing scores of people, wounding thousands of others, and stripping hundreds of their Bahraini nationality.