Gulf states to act against Hezbollah members
RIYADH - Agence France-Presse
Supreme Council of the General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Foreign Ministers attend the GCC's 126th session on June 2, 2013 in the Saudi city of Jeddah. AFP photoThe Gulf Cooperation Council said it will take measures against members of Lebanon's Hezbollah over the Shiite movement's military intervention against Syrian rebels.
The measures will affect their "residency permits, and financial and commercial transactions," said a GCC statement issued late Monday, citing a ministerial council decision.
The GCC statement urged the Lebanese government to "assume its responsibilities towards the behaviour of Hezbollah and its illegal and inhumane practises in Syria and the region." The bloc strongly condemned "the flagrant intervention of Hezbollah in Syria" and its "participation in shedding the blood of the Syrian people." Fighters from Hezbollah openly spearheaded a 17-day assault on the Syrian town of Qusayr near the Lebanese border which culminated with its recapture from the rebels last Wednesday.
The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The decision is likely to stir fears among the many Shiite Lebanese who work in the Gulf of being associated with the militant group.
Hezbollah's popularity surged among Sunni Muslim Arabs in the wake of the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, when the Shiite movement put up a strong resistance. But this popularity plummeted as the Iran-backed party openly said it supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his struggle to survive an uprising that began in March 2011 and morphed into an armed conflict.
Saudi Arabia on Monday condemned Hezbollah's "flagrant intervention" in Syria.
Like many Arab countries, the kingdom has explicitly voiced support to the rebels in Syria. Damascus accuses Riyadh, along with Doha, of arming the rebels.