The Bahraini opposition group Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, which is banned in Bahrain, hosted an event in the suburb of Beirut that is controlled by Hezbollah, disregarding the Lebanese Interior Minister’s orders to cancel the event.
This comes as Lebanon has been struggling to mend its “broken” relations with the Arab Gulf states, a critical situation that has further impacted the country’s economy.
Last week, Al Wefaq group attempted to hold two events at a hotel near Beirut Airport; both were banned by the Lebanese authorities.
The Lebanese Interior Minister Mawlawi stated back then, “If these two events were to take place, they would undermine official Bahraini authorities and Gulf Arab states, thus blocking efforts by Lebanon to boost ties with these countries.”
In December, Lebanon ordered one of its security agencies to deport non-Lebanese members of Al Wefaq after the group held a conference presenting a report on alleged human rights breaches in Bahrain.
Al Wefaq group, which has close ties with Hezbollah, is banned in Bahrain since July 2016 over allegations of “harboring terrorism” and “directly harming civil peace and opening an opportunity for foreign bodies to interfere in Bahrain’s internal affairs.”
The relations between Lebanon and the Arab Gulf states are at their lowest point in decades following comments by former Information Minister George Kordahi, who spoke critically of the Saudi support for the Yemeni government leading several Arab Gulf states to suspend diplomatic ties with Lebanon.
Kordahi then resigned in December under pressure while Lebanon has been attempting to restore its diplomatic relations with these countries.