Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabia this week implemented the first financial sanctions on Hezbollah’s commercial activities within the Kingdom, part of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) move to target the Lebanese militia’s interests abroad.
The Saudi Interior Ministry withdrew the business license of a Lebanese national with ties to Hezbollah, part of a larger campaign to crack down on the financial activities of the Lebanese militia in Saudi Arabia, a source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Interior Ministry will also beef up its security procedures surrounding the issuance of financial and commercial licenses, in a move targeting Hezbollah’s commercial and financial activities in the Kingdom, the source added.
This comes after the GCC agreed to designate the Lebanese militia a terrorist group in mid-2013 over its presence in Syria and assistance to the Assad regime. Speaking last year, GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani confirmed that the Gulf body would seek to target “individuals affiliated to Hezbollah, as well as its financial and commercial affairs.”
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry formally called on all state licensors to implement stringent security checks on all foreign nationals applying for financial or commercial licenses, including asking detailed questions about applicants’ identities and political affiliations. These increased security measures will also be applied to work permit and residency renewals, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.