“Saudi Arabia has initiated a war against Lebanon,” Sheikh Naim Qassem, the movement’s deputy secretary-general, told Lebanon’s al-Manar television network on Thursday.
“Riyadh should apologize to Lebanon for this incorrect and immoral measure that does not fit with any standard,” he added.
Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Lebanon and expelled the Lebanese envoy to Riyadh late last month.
The move came after George Kordahi, currently Lebanon’s information minister, said during a television program that the 2015-present Saudi-led war on Yemen was an act of aggression by Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates, the kingdom’s most significant ally in the military campaign.
He called the war “absurd,” saying it had to stop because he was opposed to wars between Arabs. The minister also said the Yemeni army forces and their allied fighters from the Popular Committees were “defending themselves… against an external aggression.”
The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and pushed the entire Yemen close to the brink of outright famine.
The UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait have, however, followed in Saudi Arabia’s footsteps by severing their diplomatic ties with Lebanon.
Despite Riyadh and its allies’ insistence on deepening the diplomatic crisis with Lebanon, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib called on Monday for initiation of talks with Saudi Arabia as part of efforts aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute.
The Hezbollah official put Riyadh’s actions concerning Lebanon down to the Saudi kingdom’s failure to influence the Lebanese politics “despite the money that it has paid to its supporters [in Lebanon].”
He said the kingdom was also trying to take its regional losses out on Lebanon.
“One of the reasons for the current [diplomatic] crisis is that Saudi Arabia has found itself in a situation, where it can no longer put up with its losses in the region,” Sheikh Qassem said.
“Saudi Arabia seeks to apply some pressures on Lebanon so it can turn attention away from its ongoing struggle in Yemen,” he concluded, referring to the setbacks that Saudi-led forces have been suffering at the hands of Yemen’s defense forces in the west-central Yemeni province of Ma’rib.