Gulf Arab states brand Hezbollah as terrorist group

Gulf Cooperation Council declares Lebanese Hezbollah as terrorist organisation

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani said in a statement that Hezbollah pose a threat to Arab national security.

A Saudi-led bloc of six Gulf Arab nations on Wednesday formally labelled Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, increasing the pressure on the Lebanese militant group fighting on the side of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad in Syria.

The move by the Gulf Cooperation Council comes less than two weeks after Saudi Arabia announced it was suspending $4 billion worth aid to the Lebanese security forces.

This was followed by the bloc urging its citizens to leave Lebanon, dealing a blow to the tiny nation's tourism industry.

Following the announcement, Saudi Arabia-backed former Lebanese prime minister, told a news conference he would continue to keep domestic dialogue open with rivals Hezbollah, "to avoid sedition" in Lebanon.

However, Hariri also criticised the group for its involvement in the Syrian war and its alleged involvement in Yemen as "criminal, unlawful and terrorist".

A statement from GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif al Zayani said the decision to designate Hezbollah as terrorist organisation was due to the group’s hostile acts within its member states, adding that the implementation also applies to its leaders, factions and affiliates.

A few hours before GCC’s statement Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made a televised speech in which he harshly criticised Saudi Arabia for "punitive measures that targeted Lebanon recently", including the halt in aid and Gulf travel warnings.

"Who gives Saudi Arabia the right to punish Lebanon and its army and Lebanese people living in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf just because Hezbollah is speaking out? We urge Riyadh to settle accounts with Hezbollah and not all the Lebanese," Nasrallah said.

TRTWorld and agencies