News / Middle East

Gulf States to Launch Sanctions Against Hezbollah

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah  addresses his supporters from a screen during a rally to commemorate Hezbollah Wounded Veterans Day in Beirut suburbs, Lebanon, June 14, 2013.
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters from a screen during a rally to commemorate Hezbollah Wounded Veterans Day in Beirut suburbs, Lebanon, June 14, 2013.
Phillip Walter Wellman
Gulf Arab states are preparing to launch a series of measures against Hezbollah’s interests in the region. The move is in retaliation for the Lebanese Shi’ite militant group’s growing military involvement in Syria.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, recently announced it would begin imposing sanctions against Hezbollah associates.

Officials said the measures will target suspected affiliates’ “residency permits and financial and commercial dealings.”

The action comes after Hezbollah sent forces to Syria, which played a major role in helping pro-government troops recapture the strategic town of Qusair.

How Syria's Death Toll Compares:

2011-2013 - Syria: 93,000
2003-present - Sudan: 300,000
2003-present - Iraq: 190,000
2001-present - Afghanistan: 20,000
1992-1995 - Bosnia: 200,000
1994-present - Chechnya: 75,000-150,000
1994 - Rwanda: 800,000-1 million
1983-2009 - Sri Lanka: 100,000
1980s-present - Somalia: 500,000
1978-1990 - Nicaragua: 70,000
1975-1990 - Lebanon: 150,000
Theodore Karasik is the director of research and development at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis:

"Hezbollah has entered into Syria in a very serious manner and this is causing a ripple effect across the region, where there may be sympathizers for Hezbollah’s movement, and I think that the GCC is attempting to show whose side they are really on," he said.
 
Most Muslim states, including those in the Gulf, have traditionally approved of Hezbollah as a bulwark against Israel, despite regarding it as an Iranian proxy.

Hezbollah's increasing involvement in Syria, however, has shifted sentiments and has intensified the rift between Sunnis and Shi’ites. A Shi’ite Muslim offshoot dominates Syria’s government and Shi'ite Muslims constitute a majority in Iran.
   
Last week, Muslim clerics representing 70 influential Sunni organizations called for a holy war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Shi’ite allies.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have both used their oil fortunes to gain political influence in the region, are among the strongest critics of Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria. And according to news reports, both nations have been actively involved in helping to arm the anti-Assad rebels.

According to Michael Stevens, a researcher at RUSI Qatar, their opposition stems in part from concerns that the GCC is in a less commanding position.

"I think what we see is that there is just an existential fear of Iran gaining in the region and of the Gulf states having put a lot of money, time, weapons and diplomatic effort behind one side of the Syrian conflict only to see the Shi’ite forces within the region mobilising and starting to beat them back," said Stevens.

Analysts say Gulf nations are also using the Syria conflict as a way to clamp down on sources of dissent at home.

Bahrain’s Sunni rulers have been dealing with a pro-reform uprising led by the nation’s Shi’ite majority since 2011. Bahrain accuses Hezbollah of backing and training radical gangs inside the kingdom, a claim Hezbollah denies.

In a televised address Friday, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah announced that his troops would continue fighting in Syria.

And according to analyst Karasik in Dubai, the GCC is preparing itself for any eventuality.
 
"If the current trajectory holds, which is very difficult to ascertain because it could go in a number of different directions, I would suspect that there would be a further divide between the Sunni and the Shi’ite states and their supporters in the region and that’s going to have a massive spill over effect on neighboring countries," he said. "So what the GCC states are doing now is what they do best together: defense and homeland security."

Gulf officials have signalled that when it comes to Hezbollah, nothing is being ruled out.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Lens Young Homsi shows buildings damaged by fighting between rebel fighters and Syrian government forces in Homs province, Syria, June 18, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters fire back during what activists say were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad, in Deir al-Zor, June 17, 2013.
  • A man walks along a street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, June 17, 2013.
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army react as they fire a rocket in Deir al-Zor, June 16, 2013.
  • A man belonging to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad stands next to spent ammunition rounds in Tal El-Tineh village outside Aleppo, Syria, June 16, 2013.
  • Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are seen in Tal El-Tineh village outside Aleppo, Syria, June 16, 2013.
  • Ammunition and an abandoned military truck belonging to forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad is seen after clashes in Raqqa province, eastern Syria, June 16, 2013.
  • Residents are seen as forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad enter Ain-Assan village outside Aleppo, Syria, June 15, 2013.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
June 17, 2013 5:30 PM
This is great news, and if Hezbolah is heading into Syria to kill Syrians then the world should intervene and stomp out Hezbolah for their terrorist actions getting involved in the genocide with Assad in Syria. Anyone who backs Assad is a terrorist, Hezbolah was already labeled a terrorist group, if they are working with Assad this just reassures the world that Assad in fact a terrorist himself, inflicting terror on the people of Syria. He was already guilty of acts of terrorism but the Hezbolah just reassures everything.


by: sds from: ukraine
June 17, 2013 5:07 PM
Gulf???????????you mean Persian Gulf ,please be clear ...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid