Daily Israel Report

Gulf Countries Coordinating Sanctions on Hizbullah

Senior GCC officials met in Riyadh to coordinate sanctions against Hizbullah because of its support for the Syrian regime.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/5/2013, 6:13 AM

Hizbullah flag
Hizbullah flag
AFP photo

Senior Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) officials met in Riyadh on Thursday to coordinate sanctions in the six member states against Lebanon’s Shiite Hizbullah terror group over its support for the Syrian regime, AFP reported.

The meeting was “to develop mechanisms to monitor movements, financial transactions and business operations of Hizbullah,” said Bahraini deputy interior minister Khaled al-Absi, according to the news agency.

The GCC monarchies decided on June 10 to impose sanctions on Hizbullah, targeting residency permits and its financial and business activities in reprisal for the group’s armed intervention in Syria.

Initially Hizbullah said it wanted only to defend 13 Syrian villages along the border where Lebanese Shiites live, and the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine near Damascus, which is revered by Shiites around the world.

However, its terrorists later encircled Qusayr with regime troops before the launch of a withering assault on the strategic border town. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has promised that his group will be wherever is needed in Syria.

Absi told reporters that two expert teams will be formed: one to “coordinate with central banks” and the second to review “legal, administrative and financial matters” linked to the sanctions, according to AFP.

Last month’s measure was taken “after the discovery in GCC states of several terrorist cells linked to the group,” said Absi.

However, he did not say how many Hizbullah suspects would be affected by the sanctions or their estimated assets and financial and commercial operations in the region.

The sanctions would be implemented “in coordination... with ministers of commerce and the central banks of the GCC,” the council’s Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani has said.

The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar expelled 18 Lebanese citizens from the gas-rich Gulf state on June 20, a government source in Beirut told AFP.

Bahrain, recently became the first Arab country to blacklist Hizbullah as a terrorist organization and later banned opposition groups from having contact with the organization.