This is a strange development. Things get even more fluid in the Middle East.
The sudden, steep escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon only got steeper Thursday, when the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised the country’s citizens to leave Lebanon. The advisory comes just days after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in a televised address from Riyadh, the Saudi capital.
“Due to the situations in the Republic of Lebanon,” read the bulletin in the state-run Saudi Press Agency, a source with the ministry “stated that the Saudi nationals visiting or residing in Lebanon are asked to leave the country as soon as possible.
“The Kingdom advised all citizens not to travel to Lebanon from any other international destinations,” the bulletin added.
Saudi allies Kuwait and Bahrain have issued similar travel warnings of their own this week.
But the advisory carries particular significance in Saudi Arabia, where the Lebanese premier read his resignation announcement Saturday. Hariri, who has extensive ties to Saudi Arabia, shocked his country, party and even several of his closest advisers when he did so — and he hasn’t set foot back inside Lebanon borders since. In fact, he’s left Saudi Arabia just once, visiting the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday and immediately returning.