Bahrain on Tuesday became the first Arab country to officially blacklist the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, the Al Arabiya network reported.
Bahrain based its decision on statements made by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, which the Gulf state viewed as an intervention in its internal affairs.
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Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq has recently warned of fresh protests across the Sunni-ruled kingdom unless a national dialogue with the regime leads to real reforms, namely a constitutional monarchy.
Two years ago, during the wave of "Arab Spring" riots, Bahrain declared a state of emergency, giving the military authority to quell pro-democracy protests with the backing of 2000 troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Dozens of people were killed during clashes in the capital Manama between security forces and protesters. The king referred to the events as an "attempted coup."
Clashes in Bahrain, 2011 (Archive photo: Reuters)
Bahraini MP Adil Asoumi told Al Arabiya there is evidence that Hezbollah is instigating violence against the government, adding that the decision to blacklist the group was a "measure is to protect Bahrain's security and stability from Hezbollah’s threats."
According to Asoumi, intelligence has been gathered from defected Syrian soldiers, who had previously "trained Bahraini cells, with Hezbollah's backing, to carry out terrorist operations in the country."
According to the MP, Hezbollah is a threat not only to Bahrain, but to the rest of the Gulf region as well, so "we call on our Gulf brethren to confront the terrorist organization to secure Gulf security."
In 2009 senior Egyptian officials called Hezbollah a "terror organizations" after cells it had operated in the country were exposed.
The issue of classifying Hezbollah as a terror organization resurfaced following the terror attack on a bus in Burgas, which killed five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver. Sofia accused Hezbollah of being behind the attack, which took place on European Union soil.
Among the EU states, Holland is the only one that has classified Hezbollah as a terror group. Britain considers the Shiite movement's armed wing to be a terror organization. Washington also classifies Hezbollah as a terror organization, and during his recent visit to Israel, President Barack Obama urged the EU to follow suit.
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