World View: Arab League Brands Lebanon’s Hezbollah a Terrorist Organization

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The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Arab League brands Lebanon’s Hezbollah a terrorist organization
  • U.S. blames Iran for cyber attack on a New York dam

Arab League brands Lebanon’s Hezbollah a terrorist organization

Arab League meeting on January 10 (AP)
Arab League meeting on January 10 (AP)

Sectarian tensions in the Mideast took another surge on Friday, when the Arab League in Cairo declared Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization. As we recently reported, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) made the same declaration last week. The GCC is an organization of Arab nations (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)) on the Arabian Gulf. Friday’s decision extends the designation to the Arab League, with 22 members, reaching as far as Morocco and Algeria in northwest Africa.

The Arab League decision was not unanimous, according to a statement issued after the meeting, which said that Lebanon and Iraq had “expressed reservations.”

The objections were much stronger than mere reservations. Lebanon, of course, Sunni and Shia power centers, the latter represented by Hezbollah, with large militias well-funded by Iran. And Iraq’s government is also well-funded by Iran, and is heavily engaged in a war with the country’s Sunni majority, including the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

In fact, the Saudi delegation stormed out of the Arab League meeting when Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari praised Hezbollah, along with the Iraqi Popular Mobilization forces (PMF):

PMF and Hezbollah preserved the dignity of the Arabs and whoever accuses them of terrorism they are themselves terrorists.

Syria would undoubtedly have also opposed the Arab League declaration, but Syria was expelled from the League in November 2011.

It had been reported several days ago that Morocco and Algeria did not support the GCC decision, but there was no indication that they opposed Friday’s Arab League decisions.

The GCC and Arab League declarations firmly polarize the entire Mideast along sectarian lives. For years, the Arab world was largely unified on most issues, especially in support of the Palestinians against Israel. But that is no longer true, with the Sunni Arab world is firmly aligned with Saudi Arabia, leaving most of the Shia Arab world aligned with Iran.

Even in the years since 2011 when the Syrian civil war began, there have been political differences, but the Arabs were able to paper them over, or kept secret. Israel’s 67 day war with Hamas in Gaza in 2014 caused a temporary breach in Arab relations, but those differences were largely resolved.

But now the Arab world is clearly coming apart along sectarian lines, especially after two events in the last year that have substantially destabilized the entire Mideast. One is Iran’s nuclear deal with the West, which is widely regarded in Saudi Arabia as America and the West siding with Iran against the Saudis. And the second was Russia’s military intervention in Syria, reinforcing Bashar al-Assad genocidal extermination of Sunnis, and reviving memories of Russia’s war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The storming and firebombing of the Saudi embassy in Tehran in early January, causing Saudi Arabia and several Arab countries to terminate relations with Iran, indicates that a point of no return has pretty much been reached.

After the Arab League meeting, Saudi’s ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Kattan said that the Gulf states would be taking further measures against Hezbollah:

We will deal with Hezbollah as we deal with any terrorist organization. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries have begun preparing measures it will take against that terrorist party and they will be announced at the right time.

According to reports, the Obama administration has been warning Saudi Arabia not to “overreact” in Lebanon, and risk destabilizing the country. However, after the Obama administration has treated the Saudis largely with contempt for most of the past seven years, it’s unlikely that they’ll pay any attention.

There are a lot of people who think that somebody is going to wave a magic wand and things will return to the “normal” of ten years ago, but in this generational Crisis era, that’s not going to happen. AP and Reuters and Al Manar (Lebanon/Hezbollah)

U.S. blames Iran for cyber attack on a New York dam

A probe by the Justice Department has determined that Iran was responsible for a 2013 cyberattack on the Bowman Avenue Dam, a small structure in Rye Brook, about 20 miles north of New York City. The dam is used for flood control. An indictment is expected in the next few weeks. It wasn’t clear whether the indictment would charge specific people within the Iranian government, or Iran itself.

Reports conflict as to whether the hackers accessed the control system, or only back office systems that are not part of the operational systems of the dam. CNN and AP and Washington Post

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, UAE, Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, Hezbollah, Iran, Algeria, Morocco, Arab League, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Iraqi Popular Mobilization forces, PMF, Egypt, Ahmed Kattan, Bowman Avenue Dam, Rye Brook
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