Bahrain blocks Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV website

By
August 11, 2013 19:34

Gulf state reportedly decides to block online media outlets affiliated with organizations that fund, promote terrorism.

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Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV.

Nasrallah on al Manar 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Gulf State of Bahrain decided to block the website of Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV station, according to a report earlier this month on al-Manar’s website.

Sheikh Fawaz bin Muhammad al-Khalifa, the communications minister, announced that the government would block websites affiliated with organizations that are internationally recognized as funders and promoters of terrorism, according to a report by the Bahrain News Agency website on August 3.

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In addition to Hezbollah’s website, those run by al-Qaida will also be blocked.

“With the increasing threat of terrorism, it is critical that Bahrain joins its allies and global partners in preventing the spread of extremist ideology through shutting off access to sites developed by internationally recognized terror groups, such as al-Qaida and Hezbollah,” stated Communications Minister Sheikh Fawaz, according to the website.

Toby Dershowitz, vice president of government relations and strategy at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reports about the issue on the Long War Journal website, predicting that other Gulf States may follow Bahrain’s lead. Qatar has already deported 18 Hezbollah supporters, and Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon said his country would take action against the organization as well, she writes.

Tensions have been high since Bahrain accused Hezbollah of seeking to overthrow its government in 2011. In May, Bahrain’s foreign minister called the head of Hezbollah a “terrorist,” after Hassan Nasrallah said his fighters would help bring victory to its ally President Bashar Assad in Syria’s civil war.

The Gulf Cooperation Council 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.

Hezbollah and its patron Iran are seen by Bahrain and other Sunni Gulf states as 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.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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