After Saudis, Egypt Bans Hezbollah TV

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CAIRO: Egyptian satellite provider Nilesat has stopped airing Lebanese news channel Al-Manar following similar moves targeting Lebanon by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Taking the measure on Tuesday, Nilesat alleged that Al-Manar had “violated the contract by broadcasting shows that provoke sectarian strife and sedition.”

The company is also to stop its operations in Lebanon as of Wednesday when its contract expires.

Saudi-based satellite provider Arabsat had stopped broadcasting Al-Manar in December 2015, a month after it took Al Mayadeen TV, another Lebanon-based channel, off air.

Late last week, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV shut its offices in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and dismissed the local staff over “security reasons.”

Saudi Arabia has been adopting a raft of measures against Lebanon in reaction to the latter country’s refusal to side with Riyadh against Iran.

It has been targeting Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, which has been fighting Saudi-backed extremism inside both Lebanon and Syria.

Earlier in the year, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil refused to back a motion crafted by Saudi Arabia against the Islamic Republic, prompting Riyadh to retract a $4-billion aid pledge to Lebanon and demand an apology, which Lebanon refused to give.

The motion had sought to condemn Tehran over January attacks on vacant Saudi diplomatic premises. The attacks occurred during otherwise peaceful protests against Saudi Arabia’s execution earlier of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Saudi Arabia has also ordered its citizens not to travel to Lebanon and imposed sanctions on four Lebanese firms and three individuals it accuses of having links to Hezbollah.

There are also reports that Saudi Arabia may expel the Lebanese nationals working on its territory.

Some local media reports in Lebanon have, meanwhile, said the Saudis may be applying pressure to secure the release of a member of the royal family held in Lebanon since last October on drug charges.

Abdul-Mohsen al-Waleed Al Saud was detained in Beirut after authorities seized two tons of amphetamine Captagon pills before they were loaded onto his private plane.

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