Lebanese minister resigns in bid to ease crisis with Saudis
Lebanon’s information minister resigned Friday, a move many hope could open the way for easing an unprecedented diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations that has compounded the small country’s multiple crises.
George Kordahi, the minister and a prominent former game show host, said he took the decision to step down ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday. The resignation, Kordahi said at a press conference in the Lebanese capital, may help Macron start a dialogue to help restore Beirut-Riyadh relations.
But the crisis goes deeper than Kordahi’s comments aired in late October, in which he was critical of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
His resignation is unlikely going to be a game changer in the dynamics of the crisis. It is rooted in Saudi Arabia’s uneasiness over the rising influence of Iran in the region, including in Lebanon, once a traditional Saudi ally and recipient of financial assistance from the oil-rich kingdom.
It is also unlikely to diffuse internal divisions in Lebanon and a government paralysis made worse during the diplomatic crisis.
Saudi Arabia, which has been joined by other Gulf Arab states in a boycott of Lebanon, is unhappy with the dominance of the Iran-backed militant Hezbollah group and its allies on the levers of power in Lebanon.