Daily Israel Report

Gulf States Pursue Collective Ban on Hizbullah

Noose tightens on Iranian-backed terror group as Gulf nations examine ways to implement regional ban
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 7/18/2013, 12:35 PM

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah
Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah
Al Manar TV

Arab nations in the Gulf are apparently ahead of Europe in their readiness to concede the Lebanon-based Hizbullah group is a terrorist organization.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprised of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, announced Wednesday they are willing to blacklist Hizbullah as a terrorist entity.

However, they are examining “correct measures” on how to officially carry out the measure, Bahraini Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Hamad al-Amir told the pan-Arab Al Arabiya news network.

Bahrain was the first Arab state to blacklist Hizbullah in April after the terrorist organization openly revealed its role in fighting against Syrian rebels on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad.

Concerns were expressed by Dhafir al-Ajmi, executive director of the Gulf Monitoring Group, that a significant percentage of the Lebanese population could be adversely affected by the GCC move.

Ajmi warned the GCC should differentiate between Lebanese citizens who are sympathetic to Hizbullah and the group’s actual followers. In the past, the GCC has deported Lebanese citizens on suspicion they were aiding Hizbullah.

Meanwhile, despite Israel’s efforts to pressure the European Union into blacklisting Hizbullah as well, the EU has yet to do so.

Foreign diplomats said this week that EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is working on an initiative that would blacklist the terror organization’s so-called “military wing” while leaving the EU open to talking with its political faction.

EU ambassadors are scheduled on Thursday (today) to discuss the issue of adding Hizbullah to its list of terrorist groups. Counter-terror experts from the bloc’s 28 member states failed twice last month to reach a unanimous decision to blacklist the Shi’ite group.