Gulf states add Hezbol­lah lead­er­ship to their terror lists

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Regional -

SAUDI Ara­bia and other mem­bers of the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil, placed 10 lead­ers of Le­banon’s Hezbol­lah on their ter­ror­ism lists on Wed­nes­day, in­clud­ing Sayyed Has­san Nas­ral­lah and his deputy Naim Qassem, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

The Gulf states; Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emi­rates, also tar­geted four of the move­ment’s com­mit­tees, and or­dered the in­di­vid­u­als’ as­sets and bank ac­counts frozen, it said.

Mean­while, Iran’s foreign min­is­ter on Thurs­day lashed out on Twit­ter at the U.S. and Saudi Ara­bia for im­pos­ing sanc­tions on lead­ers of its Le­banese ally Hezbol­lah.

“Is­raeli snipers shoot over 2,000 un­armed Pales­tinian pro­tes­tors on a sin­gle day,” Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif said in a tweet re­fer­ring to protests and clashes in the Gaza Strip that killed some 60 peo­ple this week. The “Saudi re­sponse, on eve of Ra­madan? Col­lab­o­ra­tion with its U.S. pa­tron to sanc­tion the first force to lib­er­ate Arab ter­ri­tory and shat­ter the myth of Is­raeli in­vin­ci­bil­ity. Shame upon shame,” he said.

The United States and six Gulf Arab states an­nounced sanc­tions Wed­nes­day on the lead­er­ship of Hezbol­lah, as Wash­ing­ton seeks to step up eco­nomic pres­sure on Iran and its al­lies in the re­gion af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with­drew this month from the 2015 nu­clear deal.

The U.S. and Saudi-led Ter­ror­ist Fi­nanc­ing and Tar­get­ing Cen­ter said the sanc­tions were aimed at Hezbol­lah’s Shura Coun­cil, the pow­er­ful Le­banese group’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing body, led by its sec­re­tary gen­eral Has­san Nas­ral­lah.

Nas­ral­lah, Hezbol­lah Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Naim Qasim, and three other Shura Coun­cil mem­bers were listed un­der the joint sanc­tions, which aim at freez­ing vul­ner­a­ble as­sets of those named and block­ing their ac­cess to global fi­nan­cial net­works.

Hezbol­lah is a key player in Le­banese pol­i­tics, and it main­tains its own arse­nal of weapons and fight­ing force. The group is fight­ing in Syria along­side Bashar al-As­sad’s mil­i­tary, and it has trained Iraqi Shi­ite mili­tias which par­tic­i­pated in re­tak­ing ter­ri­tory from the Daesh terror group. The sanc­tions by Gulf states fol­low two US moves this month to put pres­sure on Iran’s fi­nan­cial net­works, in­clud­ing sanc­tions an­nounced Tues­day aimed at an al­leged fi­nan­cial pipe­line that moved “hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars” from Iran’s cen­tral bank through an Iraqi bank to Hezbol­lah. The Euro­pean Union has viewed Hezbol­lah’s armed wing as a “ter­ror­ist” or­ga­ni­za­tion since 2013. In 2016, the six Arab Sunni pow­ers of the Gulf Co-op­er­a­tion Coun­cil ; Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emi­rates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, des­ig­nated Hezbol­lah a “ter­ror­ist” or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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