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

  • Saskatoon woman wants 'sizeism' added to human rights protections

    Canada News CTV News
    A Saskatoon woman is campaigning to have size and physical appearance added to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Legislation as protected grounds against discrimination. “I don’t want other people to feel held back,” Hayley Roesler told CTV Saskatoon. Source
  • North Korea says Malaysian investigation into Kim Jong Nam's death lacks fairness

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- North Korea says a Malaysian investigation into the death of one of its nationals is full of "holes and contradictions" amid speculation that its agents masterminded the assassination of leader Kim Jong Un's half brother. Source
  • North Korea denies it was behind killing at Malaysia airport

    World News CTV News
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- North Korea denied Thursday that its agents masterminded the assassination of the half brother of leader Kim Jong Un, saying a Malaysian investigation into the death of one of its nationals is full of "holes and contradictions. Source
  • Mayor of Ryley, Alta., defends decision to charge senior for house painting

    Canada News CTV News
    The mayor of an Alberta village where an 86-year-old man says he was forced to sell his home after getting a $3,285 bill from the city for painting its “unsightly” exterior is sticking by the decision. Source
  • British man 'will never see a penny' of ex's $24M lottery winnings

    World News Toronto Sun
    There’s bad luck. Then there’s Sean Priestley-level bad luck. Just months after splitting with long-time partner Beverley Doran — he was with her 12 years and fathered her three children — he was stunned to discover she’d won nearly $24 million in the Euromillions lottery. Source
  • ‘If we all stand up it can stop’: Pink Shirt Day marked around the world

    Canada News CTV News
    As messages of hate seem to be ever present, Pink Shirt Day reminds Canadians of the importance of standing up for one another and fighting stereotypes. Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia in 2007 after a male Grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Source
  • 'If we all stand up it can stop': Pink Shirt Day hopes to end bullying

    Canada News CTV News
    As messages of hate seem to be ever present, Pink Shirt Day reminds Canadians of the importance of standing up for one another and fighting stereotypes. Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia in 2007 after a male Grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Source
  • UN: $4.4B needed within weeks to stop hunger 'catastrophe'

    World News CTV News
    The United Nations needs $4.4 billion by the end of March to prevent catastrophic hunger and famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, yet just $90 million has been collected so far, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday. Source
  • Two Kansas men jailed for hate-crime attack on Somalis

    World News Toronto Sun
    WICHITA, Kan. — Two southwest Kansas men were punished Wednesday for their roles in a hate crime attack on three Somali that a federal judge said flies in the face of everything cherished in this country. U.S. Source
  • Quebecer charged in PC Plus breach, collectors urged to fortify password

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Ottawa police have confirmed that a Laval, Que., man is alleged to be behind a scam that involves stealing shoppers’ PC Plus points from their accounts. Police say 21-year-old Ferradji Manigat was arrested on Jan. Source