Yemen’s Houthi militia on Sunday put up posters in support of a Lebanese minister whose criticism of the war in Yemen sparked a diplomatic row between Lebanon and Gulf states.
Saudi Arabia has expelled Lebanon’s envoy and recalled its ambassador from Beirut, with Bahrain and Kuwait following suit. The UAE later recalled its diplomats from Lebanon in “solidarity” with the kingdom.
They cited what they said were insulting remarks by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi, who slammed as “futile” the Arab Coalition military intervention against the Iran-backed Houthis.
The minister has won plaudits in Houthi-held Sanaa, however.
“Yes George, the Yemen war is absurd,” said posters bearing his image that the Houthis pasted onto billboards and lamp posts on Sunday.
The Houthis also plan to rename a street in Sanaa after Kordahi, according to shopkeepers and media reports in the city.
An Arab military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to shore up the internationally recognized government a year after the Houthis seized the capital.
In an interview aired Monday but recorded in August, Kordahi said the Houthis were “defending themselves... against external aggression.”
Kordahi called for an end to the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
In response, Saudi Arabia also banned Lebanese imports and, along with its Gulf allies, advised its citizens against traveling to the crisis-hit country.
On Saturday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan blamed the row on the dominance in Lebanon of Iran, which backs the country’s Shia movement Hezbollah.
“There is no crisis with Lebanon but a crisis in Lebanon because of Iranian dominance,” he told Al Arabiya. “Hezbollah’s dominance of the political system in Lebanon worries us.”