Voices from the Arab press: An Iranian Proxy in the Gulf Region 

A weekly selection of opinions and analyses from the Arab media around the world.

 A POSTER of Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi is seen on a billboard in Sanaa, Yemen,  October 31. It reads: ‘Yes George, Yemen’s war is futile.’ (photo credit: KHALED ABDULLAH/FILE PHOTO/REUTERS)
A POSTER of Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi is seen on a billboard in Sanaa, Yemen, October 31. It reads: ‘Yes George, Yemen’s war is futile.’

An Iranian Proxy in the Gulf Region 

Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt, October 30

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It is clear that Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi did not 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 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 GCC, 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 Tehran’s agenda in the Gulf. Kordahi understands this reality very well and knows that the survival of his own government similarly depends on Tehran. 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 

The Football Association Prioritizes Our Clubs

Nida al-Watan, Lebanon, October 26 

The Executive Committee of the Lebanese Football Association recently announced the distribution of a new financial assistance package to its clubs operating at various levels for the second year in a row. It was truly remarkable to discover that the value of the aid distributed totaled some $800,000, which is a considerable amount. Undoubtedly, this money is being spent in the midst of a financial and economic crisis in Lebanon, which has been going on for nearly two years. It will certainly provide much-needed support to football clubs across the country, which have enabled people across the country to maintain some degree of normalcy in their lives. Perhaps the most important thing to note is that the aid approved for the current season is all sourced from the Lebanese Football Association. While the funding for last year’s aid package came from a million-dollar grant provided to the association by FIFA, the funding for this year’s package came from internal funds. This is a huge accomplishment considering the fact that the association’s biggest source of revenue – ticket sales – came to a near standstill. Nonetheless, the association is keen on ensuring that football activity in Lebanon continues to take place, despite the difficult financial, political and public health circumstances we are situated in today. 

– George Al-Hani 

Translated by Asaf Zilberfarb