(JNS.org) The Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have urged their citizens to “immediately” leave Lebanon amid rising Sunni-Shi’a tensions.
“Due to the situations in the Republic of Lebanon, the official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Saudi nationals visiting or residing in Lebanon are asked to leave the country as soon as possible,” a statement from the state-run Saudi Press Agency said. “The Kingdom advised all citizens not to travel to Lebanon from any other international destinations.”
The directive comes after the recent resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who announced his departure from office during a visit to Saudi Arabia. Hariri, a Sunni political leader, blamed the Shi’a power of Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah for his resignation, saying that current conditions in Lebanon resemble the time leading up to Hezbollah’s assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, in 2005.
Since Saad Hariri’s announcement, his whereabouts have been unknown. Reports indicate that Hariri might be under house arrest or detained in Saudi Arabia, which has sparked outcry in Lebanon from leaders of Hariri’s political party, the Future Movement.
“The return of the Lebanese prime minister, the national leader, Saad al-Hariri, and the head of the Future Movement, is necessary to restore the dignity and respect to Lebanon at home and abroad,” former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia accused Hezbollah of launching a rocket at its capital of Riyadh, calling the move an “act of war.”