Bahraini lawmakers voted on Tuesday to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization,
the Lebanese news outlet Now Lebanon reported.
The parliament in Manama
voted unanimously to pass the bill, which had been presented by 30 MPs. It now
moves to the Bahraini cabinet for a vote.
“It is time we join the world
in outlawing this group, which has terrorized the region enough and has been
instrumental in spreading evil among us,” said lawmaker Shaikh Jassim Al Saeedi,
who has been one of those at the forefront of the legislation, Bahrain’s Gulf
Daily News website said on Wednesday.
The Bahraini daily Akhbar Al
Khaleej stated that the bill cites Hezbollah as having sought to destabilize
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, and accuses it of murdering innocent
civilians in Syria in order to support the regime of the beleaguered Bashar
The GCC, created in 1981, is a political and economic alliance
made up of six Gulf Arab states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates,
Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
Tensions have been high since Bahrain accused
Hezbollah of seeking to overthrow its government in 2011. According to a report
sent to UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon in 2011, the ruling Sunni Khalifa
family asserted that Hezbollah trained insurgents in Lebanon and Iran to topple
Hezbollah is a Shi’ite organization with extremely close
ties to the Islamic Republic’s Shi’ite clerical
Counter-terrorism experts say Hezbollah and Iran’s
Revolutionary Guard Corps cooperate in terror attacks against Western and
Bahrain and other Sunni Gulf states believe that Tehran
is trying to foment unrest as part of what some analysts describe as a
Sunni-Shi’ite “cold war” in the region. Some of these states, notably Saudi
Arabia, have been criticized by the West, Iran and humanitarian groups for their
crackdowns on Shi’ite protests.
Bahrain’s move to designate Hezbollah a
terror group comes on the heels of talks in the EU about banning it over terror
operations. Last week, a criminal court in Cyprus convicted a Hezbollah member
for plotting to kill Israeli tourists on the small Mediterranean island. In
addition, Bulgaria’s interior minister issued a report last month asserting that
two Hezbollah operatives had participated in the July 2012 terror attack that
killed five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver in the Black Sea
resort of Burgas.
Germany and France have resisted including Hezbollah on
the EU terror list, citing insufficient legal evidence.
“Our position is
that we’ve always said that if we have proof that holds up in court, we can
enter the procedure,” Karl-Matthias Klause, spokesman for the German Embassy in
Washington, was reported by JTA as having said on Friday. “There is a general
readiness into looking into forbidding the military wing of
It is unclear whether the legal verdict in Cyprus will
influence a change in the German and French positions.
The Netherlands is
the only EU country to have designated all of Hezbollah a terrorist group, while
the UK uses this definition only for its military wing.
Proponents of a
ban on Hezbollah argue that it would freeze the group’s ability to raise funds,
procure weapons and carry out attacks in Europe.
Germany has a large
contingent of Hezbollah operatives.
According to the country’s domestic
intelligence agency, 950 operate legally there.