Saudi Arabia halts $4B in Lebanese deals amid Iran dispute

BEIRUT -- Saudi Arabia announced on Friday it is halting deals worth $4 billion aimed at equipping and supporting Lebanese security forces, a likely retaliation for the tiny country's siding with Iran amid the Sunni kingdom's spat with the Shiite powerhouse.

See Full Article

The surprise announcement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, comes as deeply divided Lebanon struggles to handle the fallout from neighbouring Syria's raging civil war. The Lebanese government declined to immediately comment on the Saudi decision.

One deal involves Saudi Arabia paying $3 billion to buy French arms for the Lebanese military. The other involves a $1 billion support deal for the Lebanese police.

Saudi Arabia said it halted the deals because of recent Lebanese positions "which are not in line with the brotherly relations between the two countries." It did not elaborate.

However, it comes after Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil declined to support resolutions against Iran during two meetings of Arab and Muslim foreign ministers. Bassil is the president of the right-wing Christian Free Patriotic Movement, which is one of the strongest allies of the Iran-backed militant Hezbollah group in Lebanon.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia long has been suspicious of the predominantly Shiite Iran, which supports Hezbollah and Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad. Relations took a turn for the worse at the start of the year, when Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric and protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran. That in turn prompted Riyadh to cut diplomatic relations with Tehran.

The Lebanese army is generally seen as a unifying force in the country, and draws its ranks from all of Lebanon's sects. However, it's widely viewed as being much weaker than Hezbollah.

Historically, the Lebanese army has been equipped by the United States and France.

Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Liberation of Mosul 'imminent,' ISIS days numbered: UN envoy

    World News CTV News
    The liberation of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul "is imminent" and the days of the Islamic State extremist group's self-declared caliphate "are numbered," the U.N. envoy for Iraq said Monday. But Jan Kubis told the Security Council that despite progress, fighting remains "a tremendous challenge" because IS fighters are increasingly using civilians as human shields in "a last-gasp effort that reveals little more than the inherent inhuman barbarity of the terrorists. Source
  • Canadian officials express concern, solidarity after deadly explosion in U.K.

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians "are shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester." Canadians are shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester tonight. Please keep the victims & their families in your thoughts. Source
  • Military to help displaced residents of flooded Labrador town

    Canada News CTV News
    HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. -- Ottawa is sending military assistance to help the displaced residents of a flooded-ravaged town in central Labrador. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the federal government is stepping in to respond to the severe flooding in Mud Lake. Source
  • Police: Manchester concert explosions treated as a 'terrorist incident' [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. There were no immediate details of what happened during the concert by the American singer, but police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena. Source
  • Brazil's Temer says he will only leave office if forced

    World News CTV News
    RIO DE JANEIRO -- Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer says he will only leave office if forced out because stepping down would be an admission of guilt in a corruption scandal that has led to growing calls for his ouster. Source
  • Explosions reported at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. There were no immediate details of what happened during the concert by the American singer, but police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena. Source
  • 'Unbelievable': Dozens swarm dock where sea lion grabbed girl, despite warnings

    Canada News CBC News
    On Saturday, a girl was yanked off a dock in Richmond, B.C. by a California sea lion. Moments before, her family had thrown bread to the animal. Video of the incident has been viewed more than 14 million times. Source
  • First World War replica bi-plane squadron to fly coast-to-coast

    Canada News CTV News
    Allan Snowie admits his goggles did “mist up” on his first pass over the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in a First World War replica bi-plane ahead of the recent 100th anniversary of the pivotal battle. Source
  • This international student gets hard lesson in personal safety after 'brazen' purse snatching

    Canada News CBC News
    An international student got a tough lesson in personal safety after her purse was snatched amid the bustle of a busy brewery over the weekend in what police are calling a brazen theft. Areum An, 30, did what many were doing over the weekend — catching up with a friend at a restaurant over some beers. Source
  • 'Ultranationalist' group, worried about illegal crossings, monitors Quebec-U.S. border

    Canada News CBC News
    Over the holiday weekend, while many Quebecers were enjoying some overdue sunshine, a dozen people worried about lax border controls gathered in the woods near Hemingford, Que., in the hopes of staring down asylum seekers. Source