Despite repeated American claims that Hezbollah is assisting Butcher Assad in Syria and preparing attacks abroad, the EU continues its refusal to mark the Lebanese group down as a terrorist organization. To defend their position, EU officials claim that because Hezbollah’s is a political party in addition to a militant group, it should not be classified as a terrorist group. The NYT reports:
The stark difference in views reflects the many roles that Hezbollah has played since it emerged in Lebanon after the Israeli invasion in 1982. Hezbollah’s militant wing was responsible for a string of kidnappings and for sophisticated bombings at home and has been accused of bombings abroad. But the group also became a source of social services that the shattered Lebanese government was incapable of providing, and has evolved since then into a political force with two cabinet ministers and a dozen seats in Parliament.
“They are quite professional in this, and this is something some Western donors are admitting that has a positive impression on some Western politicians,” said Stephan Rosiny, a research fellow at the Institute of Middle East Studies at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg.
Current EU President and Cypriot foreign minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis says that if tangible evidence of Hezbollah terror plots are laid bare, “the E.U. would consider listing the organization.” One wonders what would be left to consider if the proof of terrorism were provided, but as Via Meadia has noted, this cautious approach toward Hezbollah is nothing new in Europe. So long as Hezbollah and its donors don’t cause any trouble west of the Bosporus, European politicians don’t see a need to rock the boat and bar these political associations.
Buried halfway through the Times piece, and straight from the mouth of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, is the reason an EU blacklisting really matters:
From all indications to date, it is an arrangement that Hezbollah is eager to preserve. The group’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, has said that a European blacklist would “destroy Hezbollah. The sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral political and material support will be destroyed.”
It’s hard to imagine why Nasrallah would be making all that up, and even harder to imagine a good reason why the EU should keep ignoring all that fundraising for the Hezbollah club within its borders—as the Assad regime, the group’s sugar daddy, is dragged kicking and screaming off this earth, we might just see its proxy’s military wing dust off its armaments (and maybe acquire some new chemical ones.)
And the fact is, even if one designates Hezbollah as both a political and military wing, it’s not always so easy to discern where the one ends and the other begins.