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An Iranian Proxy in the Gulf Region
A portrait of Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi is displayed on a billboard in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Oct. 31, 2021. Yemen's Houthi rebels on Sunday put up posters in support of Kordahi whose criticism of the Saudi-led war in Yemen sparked a diplomatic row between Lebanon and Gulf states. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP via Getty Images)

An Iranian Proxy in the Gulf Region

Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt, October 30

It is clear that Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi didn’t differentiate between his role as a television personality and his role as a senior government minister during the controversial interview he gave to an Al Jazeera affiliate channel. In his interview, Kordahi claimed that the Houthis are simply “defending themselves against an external aggression” and that the Yemen war is “futile.” Had he made these remarks as a media personality, no one would have really cared. It would have been viewed as his personal opinion on the matter, and nothing more. But because Kordahi is the minister of information in a government that has painstakingly been formed in Beirut, his remarks immediately circulated on social media and led to a severe crisis between Lebanon and the Gulf States. In response to the interview, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain all summoned their ambassadors from Lebanon, while the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) condemned Kordahi’s remarks. Of course, if this is his opinion, he has every right to believe it. But it isn’t his right to openly announce it and paint it as an official position of a political party or, worse, of the Lebanese government. It wasn’t even a few hours after the video was published that Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, the secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, issued a statement rejecting Kordahi’s remarks. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia soon followed suit and recalled its ambassador from Beirut. The Houthis are nothing more than an Iranian proxy tasked with carrying out Teheran’s agenda in the Gulf. Kordahi understands this reality very well and knows that the survival of his own government similarly depends on Teheran. Meanwhile, the fact remains that the Iranian political project in the Middle East is a threat not to the Gulf alone, but to the entire Arab world. – Suleiman Gouda (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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