Kuwait puts dozens of Lebanese workers on blacklist

Kuwait puts dozens of Lebanese workers on blacklist
2 min read
17 November, 2021
Kuwait has put 100 expatriate workers, most of them Lebanese, on a blacklist which will force them to leave the country.
The moves come as the crisis between Lebanon and four gulf countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain – deepens [Getty]

Kuwait has put 100 expatriate workers, most of them Lebanese, on a blacklist which will force them to leave the country, Kuwaiti media reported on Tuesday.

Kuwaiti security services put the Lebanese workers on blacklists for suspected links to the powerful Shiite political movement and militia Hezbollah, according to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas.

A spokesperson for Hezbollah told The New Arab that they had no information on the subject, and the Kuwaiti press attaché in Beirut was not available for comment.

The blacklisted workers, among them Yemenis, Syrians and Iraqis, will not be able to renew their residency permits. At that time, they and their families will have to leave the country.

On 8 November, Kuwait arrested eight Lebanese nationals for alleged financing of Hezbollah. Saudi news outlet Al-Arabiya quoted anonymous sources who said that the detained Lebanese had transferred large sums of money to the Shiite group.

The group was also being investigated by Kuwaiti security sources for “financing Kuwaiti youth” in an attempt to get them to join Hezbollah, as well as for drug smuggling in Syria and Yemen.

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The moves come as the crisis between Lebanon and four Gulf countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain – deepens. Each country has recalled its ambassadors from Beirut, while Saudi Arabia has banned all imports and Kuwait has stopped issuing visas to Lebanese citizens.

The diplomatic spat was sparked by comments made by Lebanese Minister of Information George Kordahi. Kordahi, in an interview made before he took office but released last month, expressed sympathies with Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

At its peak in 2019, Lebanese exports to the four Gulf countries was just over $1 billion. Tens of thousands of Lebanese also work in the Gulf, and their remittances are a crucial source of foreign currency for the dollar-strapped Lebanese economy.