Gulf states add Hezbollah leadership to their terror lists
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.