Bahrain tells its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately after minister’s Yemen comments anger Gulf states

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Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry has called on its citizens to leave Lebanon, warning their safety could be at risk if they remain, amid a deepening diplomatic rift between the states. Bahrain had already expelled Lebanon’s envoy.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised all of its citizens to urgently leave Lebanon due to the “tense situation there.”  

The ministry also reiterated a previous order that Bahraini nationals must not travel to the Mediterranean nation, “in order to prevent citizens from being exposed to any risks and to ensure their safety.”

The move comes after Saudi Arabia gave a Lebanese ambassador two days to leave and imposed a blanket ban on all imported goods from the country. Hours later, Bahrain followed suit, as did Kuwait.  

The rift between troubled Lebanon and the Gulf states followed critical remarks from Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi concerning the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. 

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In an Al-Jazeera interview recorded in August but aired last week, Kordahi claimed Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen were simply “defending themselves… against an external aggression.” Kordahi, who was put forward by the Marada Movement, a Christian party linked to Hezbollah, for a ministerial post, was not a minister at the time of the remarks. 

Speaking to CNBC on Saturday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Al Saud claimed Kordahi’s comments “are a symptom of a reality – a reality that the political scene in Lebanon continues to be dominated by Hezbollah.” Riyadh has called for Kordahi’s dismissal. 

Hezbollah and Marada have refused to press Kordahi to resign, while the minister himself has said that stepping down is “out of the question.”

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