Iraq, Lebanon Nix Hezbollah Blacklisting

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LONDON: Iraq and Lebanon have refused to go along with a decision by fellow Arab League members to declare Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement a “terrorist” group.

“The resolution of the League’s council (of foreign ministers) includes the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group,” the body said in a statement read out at a news conference on Friday by Bahraini diplomat Wahid Mubarak Sayar. 

However, Lebanon and Iraq expressed “reservations” about the decision which was approved nearly by all members of the pan-Arab body.

The decision came after the Gulf Cooperation Council officially added Hezbollah and all groups affiliated to its so-called list of “terrorist” organizations on March 2. The [P]GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Reacting to the decision, Hezbollah described the GCC member states as “reckless and hostile”, blaming Saudi Arabia for the decision.

The decision by the GCC to blacklist Hezbollah has been met with opposition and criticism with Algeria refusing to classify the movement as a terrorist organization.

Palestinian resistance movement, Islamic Jihad, also praised Hezbollah as a resistance movement which has a history in the struggle against the Israeli regime as well as in supporting the Palestinian cause. Iran, Syria and Yemen have also slammed the move by the GCC.

The move by the six-nation Arab bloc came days after Riyadh halted USD 4bn in aid to Lebanese security forces. The decision came following recent victories by the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah fighters, against the rebels fighting to topple the Damascus government.

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has said the Saudi regime seeks to instigate “strife” between Shias and Sunnis in the region, urging the Lebanese not to be intimidated by threats posed by Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

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