Emirati football team literally geared up for a game in Lebanon, but why?

November 15, 2021 - 21:56

TEHRAN— In a shocking move, the UAE football team brought advanced weapons to Lebanon without being searched.

On November 14, the UAE football team arrived at the Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut to play against the Lebanese national team on November 16.

So far, so good. But things got complicated when news circulated that the UAE football team has brought a security team with them as well. Reports on social media and local eyewitnesses say that around 40 people were in the security team.  

The move is considered shocking, especially when news circulated in social media, and people started criticizing the Lebanese authorities for applying double standards. 

On November 9, the Iranian national team arrived in Beirut against their Lebanese opponent, but upon their arrival at the airport, their luggage was thoroughly frisked and searched due to “security reasons.”

Ironically, the Lebanese authorities failed to find anything beyond two sets of kits, and reportedly a sum of $10,000. 

This is due to the fact the Iranians were supposed to go straight to Jordan after the match against Lebanon, so they had to pack for two trips, hence, they brought some cash, and two sets of kits for two games, but still, the Lebanese officials labeled their luggage as suspicious. However, when it came to the Emiratis, they let them in without even following the regular procedures. 

The Lebanese Interior Minister, Bassam Mawlawi, tweeted on November 14 saying that the UAE officials had notified the Lebanese authorities beforehand about bringing weapons and a security team.

“After circulating the news of the arrival of an Emirati security team to Rafic Hariri International Airport in possession of weapons, the office of the Minister of Interior and Municipalities is interested in clarifying that the Emirati security team came to Lebanon to secure the protection and escort of the UAE football team, which is playing a match with the Lebanese national team next Tuesday,” Mawlawi said. 

He then said that the entry of weapons was verified, adding, “The security team in Lebanon had previously obtained approval from both the Ministry of National Defense and the Lebanese Army Command to bring in the weapons that were verified before their entry, provided that the same procedure takes place when the security delegation leaves Lebanon.”

Strange statistics are being circulated in social media about the weapons the UAE team has brought into Beirut, but one thing is certain: They brought in advanced weapons. But why?

After an interview of Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi was aired on the Qatari Al Jazeera channel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE expelled the Lebanese envoys to their capitals.

Kordahi had said in an interview conducted on August 5 that fighters allied with Yemen’s Ansarallah movement are “merely defending themselves against an external aggression.”

Kordahi went on to say that “homes, villages, funerals, and weddings were being bombed” by the Saudi-led coalition, adding that the seven-year war in Yemen has been “futile” and that “it is time for it to end.”

Kordahi has said his remarks were his own personal views and were made well before his appointment as minister, adding that he was committed to his government’s policy.

“I am against Arab-Arab wars… I reject the accusation of hostility towards Saudi Arabia,” Kordahi told media.

Kordahi’s comments were made on 5 August during an interview on an online show affiliated with Qatar’s Al Jazeera network, almost a month before he was named information minister.

After the Lebanese ambassador was expelled from Abu Dhabi, the UAE government issued a travel ban for its citizens against Lebanon. 

Many political pundits believe that the UAE team has brought in weapons and a security team to portray Lebanon as unsafe in the public opinion’s minds.

These experts are also on the belief that the UAE has gone into the trouble of taking some extreme and unnecessary measures to do so. Bringing in the weapons was too far for that matter. 

It had been expected that the Lebanese authorities would not have acted biasedly towards such matters. However, some pundits believe that the Lebanese government wants to get in good terms with the Persian Gulf countries after they cut the diplomatic cords with Lebanon. Hence, this move was part of this plot. 

Whatever the reason may be, Lebanon is safer than what the UAE thinks, and it’s expected from the Lebanese authorities to act fairly in similar situations. 


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