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Lebanon’s Economic Crisis Deepens as Saudi Suspends Imports

The Index Today

Ongoing tensions over Iran and Lebanon’s influence have led to expulsion of gulf state ambassadors and banning of imports from the nation. Saudi Arabia has banned trade coming in from Lebanon which will have disastrous effects on its economy.

Georges Kordahi’s remarks made in August criticizing the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen has led to further tensions and strained relations between both countries. He said, “The Houthis are defending themselves in the face of foreign aggression.” After the remarks were made public, Saudi Arabia hit back and hinted towards the growing influence of Iran on Lebanon.

Iran’s growing power in Lebanon has paved way for the country to gain regional influence and provide support to Hezbollah. The decades-long regional tensions between both Iran and Saudi Arabia have no-clear sight of resolution despite numerous official talks.

Prince Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said they discontinued its relation with Lebanon after the country showed reluctance to take a strong stance against Iran and Hezbollah’s growing power. He stated during a televised interview, “We have come to the conclusion that dealing with Lebanon and its current government is not productive and not helpful.”

Saudi Arabia has suspended all trade and imports from Lebanon after accusing Lebanon of letting their Hezbollah-controlled ports to smuggle in drugs and other illicit material. Both nations play a crucial role as trading partners where Saudi Arabia remains one of its leading customers for agricultural produce. The Arab nation has previously invested greatly in strengthening Lebanon’s security forces to counter Iran’s influence. However, the aid was suspended back in 2016 due to deteriorating relations. Other gulf countries including UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait has asked their ambassadors in Lebanon to return home.

©Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

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