Riyadh: Gulf monarchies today declared Lebanon’s Hezbollah a “terrorist” group, in the latest regional move against the Shiite organisation fighting in support of Syria’s regime.
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council took the action against Hezbollah members because of “hostile actions of the militia who recruit the young people (of the Gulf) for terrorist acts,” GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani said in a statement.
Gulf nations have taken a series of measures against Hezbollah since Saudi Arabia last month halted a USD 3 billion programme funding French military supplies to Beirut. Hezbollah is backed by Saudi Arabia’s regional Shiite rival Iran, with whom relations have worsened this year. The two are on opposing sides in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
Announcing the military funding cut last month, a Saudi official said the kingdom had noticed “hostile Lebanese positions resulting from the stranglehold of Hezbollah on the state”. Riyadh would be conducting “a comprehensive review of its relations with the Lebanese republic”, the unnamed official said.
He specifically cited Lebanon’s refusal to join the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in condemning attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran in January. Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran after demonstrators burned its embassy and a consulate following the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.
The Sunni-dominated GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.