Saudi Arabia had officially implemented the Kingdom’s first financial sanctions against Hezbollah, months after the Saudis – along with allies inside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – had designated the Iran-backed militant group a terrorist organization and committed to moving against its financial assets.
The Saudi Interior Ministry withdrew the business license of a Lebanese national with ties to Hezbollah, part of a larger campaign to crack down on the financial activities of the Lebanese militia in Saudi Arabia, a source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Interior Ministry will also beef up its security procedures surrounding the issuance of financial and commercial licenses, in a move targeting Hezbollah’s commercial and financial activities in the Kingdom, the source added.
Assessments at the time had broadly held that Gulf countries had the ability to financially suffocate Hezbollah’s base country of Lebanon should it choose. The move is one of several recently taken by Arab states, as they orient themselves against what has become a ‘new normal’ in the region: a Shiite bloc stretching from Iran to the Levant opposite a camp of the U.S.’s traditional Arab allies opposite a camp made up of Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood, and more often than not Qatar.
Earlier this week Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced the creation of a “supreme committee” that would confront what a statement from the parties described as “regional challenges.”
That announcement had come only a few weeks after the GCC formally invited Jordan and Morocco to integrate themselves into a conventional military alliance, which would see the Gulf states trade aid for up to 300,000 new troops that would contribute to collective efforts. The Obama administration has faced sustained criticism for declining to forthrightly side with its traditional allies against, on the one hand, the Muslim Brotherhood and, on the other hand, forces that are seen as promoting Shiite expansionism.