Gulf States Withdraw Ambassadors to Lebanon Over Criticism of Yemen War

Critics of Saudi Arabia’s heavy handed maneuvering accused the kingdom of taking potshots at already wounded Lebanon.

“When a nonentity minister in Lebanon says something vaguely critical of Saudi Arabia, they overreact and engage in collective punishment, because Lebanon is weak and poor and it is easy to kick a horse when it is down,” Karim Traboulsi, the managing editor of The New Arab, a Pan-Arab publication, wrote on Facebook. “I hope that in my lifetime Lebanon becomes free and self reliant, because dignity is the most precious thing.”

Criticisms similar to those made by Mr. Kordahi have also come from Western politicians and advocacy groups, which accuse Saudi Arabia of causing thousands of civilian casualties, indiscriminately bombing civilian targets and prolonging a war that has dragged Yemen to the brink of famine, destroyed its infrastructure and gutted its economy.

A United Nations report in September charged both sides of the war — the Saudi-led coalition, which was supported by American military aid, and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels — with violating international law by killing civilians. It said coalition airstrikes had killed or wounded at least 18,000 Yemeni civilians since 2015, while the Houthis shelled residential neighborhoods, camps for displaced Yemenis, markets and an airport.

Pressure has grown on Saudi Arabia to end the war, with President Biden stopping American military aid to the coalition in February. But the Houthi rebels rejected a cease-fire offer from the Saudis earlier this year and hostilities have continued, most recently centering on an area called Marib.

On Saturday, the casualty count grew again, with a car bombing at the airport in Aden, Yemen, that killed at least nine and wounded at least 29, according to a Health Ministry official who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

Hwaida Saad and Asmaa al-Omar contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon, and Shuaib al-Mosawa from Sana, Yemen.

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