MidEast

Gulf Nations Move Against Hezbollah Members

Saudi Arabia is set to expel all Hezbollah supporters from the Gulf nation, the country’s ambassador to Lebanon said Wednesday, after Qatar already deported 18 Lebanese citizens with ties to the terrorist organization.

“We will deport all those who support Hezbollah, the party that wronged itself, its sect and Lebanon,” Asiri told Future Television.

“This decision targets those involved in providing concrete financial support to the party,” he added.

Asiri described the recent decision by the Gulf Countries Council to deport Hezbollah loyalists from their lands as a “reaction” Hezbollah’s military campaing in Syria.

The envoy said “Saudi Arabia has never discriminated between the Lebanese living on its territories, but those [who prompted] Gulf countries to issue the decision should bear the responsibility of its repercussions.”

The moves come less than two weeks after the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which both countries are members, pledged to take measures against supporters of the Iran-backed terrorist group. The decision to deport Hezbollah members is driven both by the organization’s critical role in bolstering the embattled Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and as part of a broader campaign to push back against what Arab nations have described as “continuing Iranian interference” in their internal affairs.

Meanwhile, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman appealed to the Arab League for assistance in dealing with spillover from the Syrian civil war into Lebanon, where –according to former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora – Hezbollah’s actions domestically and abroad have driven the country to the brink of collapse.

The memo, addressed to Al-Arabi, urges the League to take steps to ensure the violations to Lebanese territory come to a stop.

The document calls on the League to urge all sides fighting in Syria to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and for the rivals not to take any hostile act against the northern and eastern borders of the country.

Violations from the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon have been frequent leading in some instances to loss of life and material damages.

Gulf nations have sought to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist entity, even as the European Union as of yesterday has refused to do so. The juxtaposition has generated wry if frustrated speculation from some analysts to the effect that perhaps E.U. diplomats believe they understand Hezbollah and its role in the Arab world better than the Arab world.

[Photo: Johann.stiegler / Wiki Commons]