Banners have been raised in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, expressing solidarity with an outspoken Lebanese minister who criticised the Saudi-led coalition’s on-going war against Yemen. The condemnation has led to the Saudis and three other Gulf states to recall their ambassadors to Beirut and a ban on Lebanese imports to the kingdom.
Images have circulated on social media showing banners being displayed in Sana’a, which is under the control of the Houthi-led National Salvation Government (NSG), including one displayed on the Airport Road in the capital with the Arabic hash tag, “Yes George, the Yemen war is absurd”. The hash tag has also been used by the Houthi movement’s spokesman, Mohammed Abdulsalam and Yemeni activists.
The diplomatic crisis arose after footage from August showed comments made by Information Minister, George Kurdahi, called the conflict “futile” and said that the Houthi-allied armed forces were acting in “self defence” against Saudi aggression. Hours later on Friday, Riyadh expelled its Lebanese ambassador along with Bahrain, with Kuwait and the UAE following suit in a show of solidarity, the day after.
Kurdahi, a former TV star best known for hosting the Arabic version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ has since refused to resign, despite calls by three former prime ministers and has said his comments were personal views made before he was appointed as a minister. “My resignation is out of the question,” he told Lebanese TV channel, Al-Jadeed yesterday.