Report: Deportation of Lebanese from UAE Linked Hizbullah Supportإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
A decision by the United Arab Emirates to deport Lebanese expats from the Gulf country is reportedly related to their staunch support to Hizbullah and its allies.
Information obtained by al-Mustaqbal newspaper on Saturday said that the move comes in light of a speech by Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah which contained a strong attack against countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
On January 9, Nasrallah alleged the presence of a “Zionist-like naturalization scheme” in Bahrain.
His statement was met by broad Arab dismay, with the Gulf Cooperation Council announcing the remarks contained “an incitement to violence and discord.”
Bahrain for its part summoned Lebanon's charge d'affaires, urging a “clear condemnation” of Nasrallah's stances.
The UAE's foreign ministry also summoned the Lebanese ambassador, handing him a protest letter over what it described as “hostile statements.”
Observers in the UAE told the daily that “some of the deported Lebanese are known for bragging and clearly declaring loyalty for Hizbullah and its political axis in the region.
“They keep on stating their provocative stances in public areas, work places and through Gulf social networks,” they told the daily.
Diplomatic sources denied that the case is sectarian, revealing that several Christian families are included in the deportation decision.
The sources estimated that the matter is linked to the “UAE's national security,” pointing out that authorities informed the Lebanese state that the decision will not be reconsidered.
Around 90 Lebanese nationals, mostly Shiites were informed of the deportation decision.
The daily said that UAE authorities began informing Lebanese expats, mostly residing in Ajman, of its decision on Wednesday.
“Some were granted 24 hours to leave, others until Sunday,” the report continued.
Sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper that those who were deported had received previous warnings, pointing out that UAE authorities don't have to inform them of the reasons behind the decision.
Meanwhile, An Nahar newspaper reported that contacts carried out by Prime Minister Tammam Salam didn't lead to any positive outcome.
UAE hosts more than 100,000 Lebanese workers.
Hundreds of Lebanese, mostly Shiite Muslims, have been quietly deported from the UAE since 2009. Deportations of Shiites from oil-rich Gulf states rose in 2013 after Hizbullah joined Syrian government forces in Syria's civil war.
However, UAE was criticized by Sunni Islamists for not including Hizbullah on a list of 83 "terrorist" organizations it published in November.
Shiite-Sunni tensions have been on the rise in the Middle East with increasing sectarian violence in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Gulf states are also worried about the rise of Shiite Iran's influence throughout the Arab world.