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Gaza & Lebanon: Wary of Shia Iran, Sunni Arab League removes terror-tag from Hezbollah

Gaza & Lebanon: Wary of Shia Iran, Sunni Arab League removes terror-tag from Hezbollah

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: Wary of a Shia Iran’s influence increasing in the Middle East in case the Tehran-supported Hezbollah militia clashes directly with Israel on the Gaza issue, the Arab League has cautiously decided to remove the Lebanon-based terror outfit from the blacklist, the media reported on Monday.

Hezbollah was stripped of its terror tag as ‘conditions for establishing relations with the Lebanese resistance movement have been met” according to the Anadolu Agency.

With this step, the Arab League is trying to prevent the Gaza War from spilling over to other areas of the Middle East and persuade Hezbollah to mend fences with Israel for a larger, West-led peace agreement with Gaza.

Hezbollah (“Party of Allah”) is a Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and paramilitary group, led since 1992 by its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.

In a statement aired on Egyptian Al-Qahera News, Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki said the member states “agreed that the label of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization should no longer be employed.”

“In previous Arab League decisions, Hezbollah was designated as a terrorist organization, and it was reflected in the resolutions, leading to the severing of communication based on these decisions.”

In March 2016, the Arab League accused Hezbollah of “promoting extremism and sectarianism”, and “meddling in the internal affairs of countries”. Lebanon and Iraq rejected these claims.

On Friday, Lebanon’s media reported that Zaki held a meeting with Muhammad Raad, the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc in the Lebanese capital Beirut, marking the first contact between the Arab League and the resistance movement in over a decade.

According to Haaretz, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said, “While he prefers to reach a diplomatic agreement with Hezbollah, Israel’s defense establishment is preparing for a potential attack in Lebanon.”

Gallant added: “Our choices are significant, and we’re ready for each one. We are preparing our defensive and offensive capabilities — and this whole thing can happen very quickly.”

On the other hand, Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called to take immediate steps to tackle the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as its proxies, including a “sharp, quick war” against Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, the Perma¬nent Represen¬tative of the State of Palestine to the League of Arab States, Ambassador Muhannad Al-Aklouk, on Sunday announced that his country has submitted a request to convene an extraordinary session of the Council of the Arab League at the level of permanent representatives, according to the Saudi Press Agency.


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