Bahrain will resume diplomatic relations with Lebanon several years after a crisis between Lebanon and several Gulf states led to a break in ties in 2021.
The crisis began in the fall of 2021 with comments by Lebanon’s then information minister George Kordahi. At the time, Bahrain had followed Saudi Arabia in breaking ties with Lebanon. Today the region is working on diplomatic reconciliation and many countries in the Gulf have reconciled with each other and with Iran, Syria and Lebanon.
The announcement of Bahrain’s shift came from Bahrain’s state news agency. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati welcomed the news.
“In implementation of the directives of the leadership, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that the Kingdom of Bahrain has decided to resume diplomatic representation at the level of ambassadors with the brotherly Republic of Lebanon,” Bahrain said. “This decision comes in order to strengthen the brotherly relations between the two countries and its peoples and promote mutual respect, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the Arab League, and the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961.”
Kordahi had resigned in December 2021. At the time, VOA reported that “analysts say Kordahi’s resignation may help unlock the crises with Gulf states that have hamstrung Lebanon's fledgling cabinet since October, but with Hezbollah still in charge, there might not be much improvement…The Hezbollah-supported former information minister, tendered his resignation on al-Jadeed TV, saying ‘Lebanon is more important than George Kordahi and the interests of the Lebanese are more important than my position.'"
Move toward Lebanon comes amid regional reconciliation
Bahrain’s shift was noted in pro-Iranian and pro-Syria media, such as Al-Mayadeen. It is being greeted also as a major step in UAE’s Al-Ain media, showing how the shift in diplomatic ties is being seen positively by various camps in the region. It comes after Syria’s regime leader Bashar al-Assad attended the Arab League meeting in Saudi Arabia on Friday and after Riyadh normalized ties with Tehran.
The shift in ties and new diplomatic initiatives are also expected to impact Yemen. It was the Yemen war and the Lebanon minister’s comments that sparked this crisis in the first place. Now, with the war apparently winding down, it makes sense that these countries will seek to repair relations.