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Gulf States Join US in Sanctioning Hezbollah. Thanks but …

 

Hezbollah displays an Iranian-made Fajr 5 missile at a military parade in southern Lebanon, close to the Israeli border.
Hezbollah displays an Iranian-made Fajr 5 missile at a military parade in southern Lebanon, close to the Israeli border. (Photo: MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the estranged Qatar, have joined the U.S. in placing sanctions on Hezbollah.

While the news is certainly good and contributes greatly to the overall fight against Islamist terror, it is not so much of a stretch for these countries to put the financial screws into the Lebanese terror organization. Hezbollah is a fully-owned subsidiary of Iran, the mortal enemy of the Gulf States.

If these countries are really serious about fighting Islamist extremism — and the terror and human rights abuses it spawns — Clarion Project has some advice for them:

 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi funding of overseas mosques with its accompanying exportation Wahhabism, the kingdom’s extremist form of Islam, has significantly contributed to the radicalization of an entire generation of Muslims. Saudi funding is a worldwide phenomenon, stretching from America to Europe and to Muslim countries, such as Pakistan.

The situation is so dire in Germany, for example, that the head of an egalitarian mosque in Berlin, Seyran Ates, is forced to have a security detail of 16 bodyguards at all times to protect her life, which was threatened numerous times (including an assassination attempt marked by a scar from a bullet to her neck which she sustained years ago).

And need we even mention the plight of Raif Badawi, the liberal blogger sentenced by Saudi’s Supreme Court to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for the “crime” of moderating an internet forum that encouraged participants to voice their opinion about religion in the kingdom? (Badawi’s lawyer was also imprisoned in the kingdom and is now serving a sentence of 15 years.)

Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman recently promised to “end extremism very soon,” saying, “We want to go back to what we were, to a moderate Islam…”

After sanctioning Hezbollah, he should implement a program to do just that.

 

Qatar

Qatar’s Arab neighbors ran out of patience with the wealthy Gulf State’s funding of terrorism beginning in March 2014, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalling their ambassadors over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Then, in the summer of 2017, these Gulf States, joined by a number of other Arab countries, severed diplomatic relations and sealed their borders with Qatar for “supporting, funding and embracing terrorism, extremism and sectarian organizations.”

Qatar is one of the world’s largest supporters of the Brotherhood as well as its Palestinian branch, Hamas, offering a home to its leaders and pledging as much as $400 million a year to the Gaza-based terror group.

Most recently, Hamas has been engaged in a deceptive war on Israel’s southern border, spinning its PR tale of a “peaceful civilian protest” to a willing left-wing media.

In actuality, as admitted by a top Hamas official, the terror group sent its operatives to man the violent protest which attempts daily to overrun the border and kill Israeli civilians on the other side. Already, balloons rigged with explosives sent by the “civilians protesters” were responsible for damaging hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Israeli crops.

If Qatar is serious about not financing extremism, it can stop funding Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

United Arab Emirates

In the UAE, if a woman gets raped, she can be tried and punished for having sexual relations outside of marriage.

That’s what happened to a 29-year-old student from Austria who was raped by a Yemini man who cornered her in an underground parking lot. After reporting the rape, her passport was taken away and she was jailed by Dubai authorities.

The woman was told by police that she would be charged and sent to prison for one year unless she married her rapist. (Only after the Austrian Foreign Ministry dispatched a special crisis team to Dubai was she released.)

A similar story happened to a 25-year-old Norwegian national, who was raped in the UAE while on a business trip and “made the mistake” of reporting it to the local police.

The woman’s passport  was confiscated and she was summarily arrested. She was eventually sentenced to more than a year in prison. After an international outcry, the UAE eventually “pardoned” her.

After pulling the plug on Hezbollah, the UAE’s draconian sharia-based laws should be the first issue this Gulf State needs to address.

 

Bahrain

Bahrain’s Sunni elite rule over a Shiite-majority public, regularly torturing the activists among them who dare to protest the discrimination levied against them.

Whether real or imagined, the ruling monarchy suspects that its 70 percent Shiite citizens are loyal to Iran and intend to overthrow the government at the first possible opportunity.

Thus, major opposition groups have been banned, causing Amnesty International to assess that “Bahrain is heading towards total suppression of human rights.”

The West, for its part, views Bahrain as essential in the fight against ISIS and has thus far remained silent on the massive human rights abuses in the country.

While Bahrain is to be commended for sanctioning Hezbollah, the West needs to pressure the monarchy to let up on its authoritarian rule.

 

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MS
Meira Svirsky
Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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