Fears for Le­banese econ­omy if Saudis im­pose Qatarstyle block­ade

Daily Messenger - - International -

BEIRUT: Le­banese politi­cians and bankers be­lieve Saudi Ara­bia in­tends to do to their coun­try what it did to Qatar - cor­ral Arab al­lies into en­forc­ing an eco­nomic block­ade un­less its de­mands are met.

Un­like Qatar, the world’s big­gest sup­plier of liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas with a pop­u­la­tion of just 300,000, Le­banon has nei­ther the nat­u­ral nor fi­nan­cial re­sources to ride it out, and peo­ple there are wor­ried.

Up to 400,000 Le­banese work in the Gulf re­gion, and re­mit­tances flow­ing back into the coun­try, es­ti­mated at be­tween $7-8 bil­lion a year, are a vi­tal source of cash to keep the econ­omy afloat and the heav­ily-in­debted gov­ern­ment func­tion­ing.

“Th­ese are se­ri­ous threats to the Le­banese econ­omy which is al­ready dire. If they cut the trans­fer of re­mit­tances, that will be a disas­ter,” a se­nior Le­banese of­fi­cial told Reuters.

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