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How far will the Saudis go against Hezbollah?

With Saudi Arabia labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization, a decision that was endorsed by the GCC, the kingdom hopes to legally pursue the Lebanese movement in international forums.

During the 145th session of the Arab foreign ministers meeting at the Arab League in Cairo on March 10, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa accused Iran of smuggling weapons and explosives that have fueled sectarian strife in Arab societies and accused Lebanese Hezbollah, which Iran supports, of terrorism. His accusations came a day after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) reaffirmed a decision it had made on March 2, designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization on the ground that its actions have destabilized security and the social peace in some Arab countries, an assertion raised by the foreign ministers of the GCC, Jordan and Morocco.

Despite media leaks about disagreement among the GCC states over Hezbollah's classification because of differences of opinion on Iran, a unanimous resolution was finally adopted, even by Oman, which had initially proposed that the designation only apply to the party’s military wing, along the lines of the approach taken by the European Union in July 2013. When asked by Al-Monitor about Oman's stance on the terrorist designation, a well-informed GCC source who requested anonymity said, “Lengthy discussions took place in the past days between GCC members concerning the wording of the resolution, with the Omanis demonstrating remarkable flexibility in this regard compared to their previous rigid position in dealing with resolutions condemning or boycotting Iran. The GCC was thus unanimous, as in general, an understanding existed therein concerning the stance vis-a-vis Hezbollah.”

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