Saudi Regime Closes Al Arabiya TV Beirut office, Fires 27 Employees

BEIRUT, (ST)- The Saudi-owned television news channel Al Arabiya announced on Friday that it has shut its offices in Lebanon and dismissed 27 employees.

 The sudden move comes amid political tensions between Riyadh and Beirut.

The Channel claimed that the closure was done for "security concerns" after protesters attacked the Beirut office of Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on Friday in response to a cartoon published by the paper insulting the Lebanese state.

 However, Lebanon's Minister of Information Ramzi Greige dismissed the suggestion of security concerns.

 "Of course there are no security grounds for closing the Al Arabiya office in Beirut. There may be political reasons for taking this step, but I don’t know until I seek clarification from them," Greige told Reuters.

A statement from the channel confirmed that the Beirut offices of Al Arabiya and its sister channel Al Hadath have been closed and they no longer have any correspondents in Lebanon, said Reuters.

 The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel is the mouthpiece of the Saudi regime and it has played a big role in promoting the Saudi policies particularly in spreading and encouraging extremism and terrorism in the region.

It was a main platform for the terrorists groups in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and for other Saudi-funded  terrorist Wahhabi groups.

The Saudi regime has recently adopted several anti-Lebanon procedures to put pressure on some Lebanese forces which refuse the Saudi hegemony on Lebanon and its decision. It has already cut $3 billion in military aid to the Lebanese army aimed  to buy weapons from France.

Hamda Mustafa