The EU fails to ban Hezbollah

23 July 2013

As though the sunny weather and the royal baby were not enough, here comes yet more good news. The European Union has finally banned the military wing of Hezbollah.

This is something I have argued for often, including here, here, and here. After recent trials of Hezbollah operatives and Hezbollah operations – including the Bulgaria bombing – on European soil the decision did seem inevitable.

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Yet there is a cloud on the silver lining – which is that the EU, in somewhat characteristic fashion, has only managed to do a partly good thing. While they have banned the ‘military wing’ of Hezbollah they continue to allow the ‘political’ wing to fundraise and recruit in Europe. In this way they perpetuate the idiotic fiction of a separation of powers within Hezbollah. That is, they continue to pretend – like the British Foreign Office – that Hezbollah is not a unified political-military organisation under the leadership of Hassan Nasrallah and his paymasters in Iran, but rather an organisation with two wholly separate entities – a ‘political’ wing and a ‘military’ wing.

As I have pointed out many times, nobody among Hezbollah’s backers in Iran thinks that such a division of power or responsibility exists. Nobody in Lebanon thinks such a division exists. Nobody in Hezbollah believes that such a division exists. Yet still the pretence continues in the Foreign Office and the EU.

A couple of years back, Hassan Nasrallah said that a proscription of his group’s activities in the EU would ‘destroy’ the organisation. If that happened, he said, ‘[t]he sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political and material support will be destroyed.’ Sadly it seems that the EU, like the British government, does not see that as the invitation it so obviously is.

Still – at least we can look forward to watching this unfold in the coming months and years. I almost look forward to British and EU officials trying to explain whether it is the political or military wing of Hezbollah which is currently massacring non-Shiites in Syria. And in a way I will relish watching them trying to explain why future suicide bombings like that in Bulgaria come from an organisation called ‘Hezbollah’ and not an organisation called ‘Hezbollah’.

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  • Michael Clark

    Um, no, Nasrallah did NOT say “that a proscription of his group’s activities in the EU would ‘destroy’ the organisation… ‘[t]he sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political and material support will be destroyed'”. Nor did he say what was later printed as a correction to the initial shoddy NYT journalism, that such a move would “dry up the sources of funding; end moral, political and material support, stifle voices, whether they are the voices of the resistance or the voices which support the resistance, pressure states which protect the resistance in one way and another, and pressure the Lebanese state, Iran and Iraq, but especially the Lebanese state, in order to classify it as a state which supports terrorism.” In fact, if you consult the ORIGINAL Arabic source, namely the transcript of the speech or the speech itself, you will see quite clearly that Nasrallah talks about what the Israelis are trying to do and what they think the effects will be. He says, and here I translate and I paraphrase, that the Israelis are seeking to turn the EU against Hezbollah, because they believe that success in this venture would end moral, political and material support and put pressure various resistance states, and ultimately silence resistance voices. He finds this belief to be preposterous, and so his speech states the DIRECT OPPOSITE of what you and many other poorly informed journalists have reported. The Middle East is not Eurocentric; the EU’s policy towards Hezbollah are not top of its list of priorities; it is scornful of the idea that EU policy will affect it much at all. Moreover, sarcasm is widely found in Lebanon, and Nasrallah’s speeches are usually dripping with it.

    Michael Clark
    University of Cambridge

  • global city

    They are not that stupid. This is quite deliberate. They support Hezbollah’s aims. We are tied in with these bad people, and our foreign policy will be dictated more and more by them as long as we remain in the EU.

    Imagine the irony of being sucked into a war of the EU’s making?

  • David Lindsay

    Why now? Why choose this moment for the EU to classify Hezbollah’s military wing, with which Israel will still be in contact, as a terrorist organisation? Why choose Hezbollah among all the other possibilities in the world, in the Middle East, in Lebanon?

    Within hours, the CIA’s operations in support of the Syrian jihadi, against whom Hezbollah is fighting with and for the secular and pluralist regime, became so enormous that that Agency even had to go through the motions of seeking Congressional approval for them.

    Well, there you are, then.

    • jjjj

      The most abysmal comment I have read in a long time.

      • David Lindsay


        • jjjj

          Because the three paragraphs in your comment have no theme. It starts off with the usual ‘cui bono’ type of comment so beloved of those that see the hand of ‘Zionism’ behind everything then a paragraph with no real idea and ending with a paragraph containing no relevant information.

          • David Lindsay

            The hand of Zionism? Well, if that is who wants us to go to war on the jihadi side in Syria, which it turns out (to no one’s surprise) that America already is on an enormous scale, then yes. Whoever wants that, wanted this. And has got it.

          • ProffessorPlum

            “Because the three paragraphs in your comment have no theme. ”

            The theme is why now? look:

            “Why now? Why choose this moment……..”

            • independent_voice1

              Can anyone explain this posting?

    • ProffessorPlum

      “Why now? Why choose this moment”

      Good question. Perhaps Israel is looking for an excuse to start bombing Lebanon again.

      With the water problem becoming more serious by the year Israel will be forced to reduce the number of people dependent on it, or pack up shop and head back to the Pale or Brooklyn

      • independent_voice1

        What has this article got to do with Israel?

        • ProffessorPlum

          “What has this article got to do with Israel?”

          Hezbollah ia Lebanese resistance group that Israel would like to wipe out. Israel does not like reisistance to expansion or military incursions.

          By deeming Hezbollah a terrorist group the EU has given Israel the legal right to bomb Lebanon. Perhaps just for fun or perhaps to aid AlQaeda in Syria or perhaps to pave the way for a new occupation of Southern Lebanon.

          • independent_voice1

            Total rubbish and based on what?

            • Arturaski

              Ignore Plum; he has an agenda.

  • ProffessorPlum

    “A picture of the Bulgarian bus bomb, carried out by Hezbollah.”

    You mean : claimed by Isarel of being carried out by Hezbollah.

    I wonder if Britain hadn’t given up the Palestinian mandate, whether the zionists would have been able to have Britain declared a terrorist state.

    Resistance is futile, as the Borg used to say.

    • jjjj

      I would say that resisting you is the easiest thing in the world.

    • Augustus

      “You mean : claimed by Isarel (sic) of being carried out by Hezbollah.”

      Wrong! It was American officials who last year identified the suicide bomber responsible for the deadly attack on Israeli tourists as a member of a Hezbollah cell that was operating in Bulgaria and looking for such targets, and therefore corroborating Israel’s assertions.

      • ProffessorPlum

        “Wrong! It was American officials”

        Same diference. Israel tells the Americans to blame it on Hezbollah.
        It was probably a false flag attack.

        As there is nothing to link Hezbollah of terrorism Israel had to come up with a reason.

        And if the Americans knew there was a Hezbollah cell working in Bulgaria, surely the authorities could have arrested one of them.

        • independent_voice1

          What has this article got to do with Israel?

          “nothing to link Hezbollah to terrorism”
          What newspapers do you read? The EU has done just that.

          • ProffessorPlum

            “What newspapers do you read? The EU has done just that.”

            Based on what evidence. What terrorist attacks have Hezbollah carried out?

            • independent_voice1

              Not worth discussing with you. As another poster claims with his avatar, plum is an idiot. I agre.

              • ProffessorPlum

                “Not worth discussing with you. ”

                i would expect the reason is that Hezbollah hasn’t carried out any terrorist attacks; if they had you would be only too willing to posts details of them.

    • independent_voice1

      What has this article got to do with Israel?

  • Drakken

    Looks like Mossad has a target rich environment to rid us of these savages in our midst since these spineless EU minions don’t have a clue. The only good Islamic organization is a one that no longer exists. Go Mossad!

  • Peter Stroud

    Surely it is now time for the UK government to take the lead, and ban both wings of this awful organisation.

  • andy_gill

    I agree Douglas. But it’s still heart-warming to see Hezbollah getting a slap in the face.

  • IvanTudorWho

    The EU may just be jealous of Hezbollah for having a military wing at all …

    • jzsnake


  • Austin Barry

    The EU is just following the UK’s absurd precedent of pretending that PIRA wasn’t Sinn Féin in a balaclava.

    Curiously, this precedent has been applied retrospectively to accommodate more politically correct historical perspectives; for example, it’s not unusual for WWII to be portrayed as a war with the Nazis, the militant wing of a befuddled, confused but otherwise benign Germany.

  • judyk113

    Imagine the ridicule there would be if the UK government firmly declared that it would have nothing to do with the Syrian army, it being the “armed wing” of the Syrian regime, but it would of course be business as usual with its political wing. That’s friend Assad. That’s the exact equivalent of this EU bit of window dressing about “banning Hezbollah’s military wing” as a terrorist organisation whilst its “political wing”is deemed to be a separate entity, rather than what it is and proudly declares itself to be– the head of the snake.

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