EU Names Hezbollah Terrorist Group

The foreign ministers of the European Union have officially designated the military wing of the Lebanese Shi’ite organization Hezbollah as a terrorist group:

(Reuters) – The European Union agreed on Monday to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist, a move driven by concerns over the Lebanese militant group’s roles in a bus bombing in Bulgaria and the Syrian war.

The powerful Lebanese Shi’ite movement, an ally of Iran, has attracted concern in Europe and around the world in recent months for its role sending thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, an intervention that turned the tide of a two-year-old civil war.

Britain and the Netherlands have long pressed their EU peers to impose sanctions on the Shi’ite Muslim group, citing evidence it was behind an attack in the coastal Bulgarian city of Burgas a year ago, which killed five Israelis and their driver.

Until now, many EU governments had resisted lobbying from Washington and Israel to blacklist the group, warning such a move could fuel instability in Lebanon and add to tensions in the Middle East.

It’s unclear to me what the practical import of this move might be. Putting Hezbollah on the terrorism blacklist would prevent European governments from contributing to the organization and Hezbollah would be prohibited from raising funds privately in Europe. However, European governments aren’t backing Hezbollah as it is and Hezbollah’s most significant foreign support comes either from Iran or the Tri-Border area of South America, where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay come together. Tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars are estimated to flow from that region to various Islamist terrorist groups annually.

Some critics of the move in the Middle East are saying that the EU is just knuckling under to U. S. and Israeli pressure. I doubt it. While nominally being a belated response to the Hezbollah-attributed bombing that took place in Bulgaria a little over a year ago, I suspect that this is mostly a symbolic move, signaling that the EU members who are capable of projecting power are inching towards a more active role in the civil war in Syria, in which Hezbollah has been taking part in support of the Assad government.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. JohnMcC says:

    The weary and cynical might note that Hezbullah has also recently begun fighting on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria and until a few weeks ago the EU was anxious (or at least willing) to aid his rebel enemies.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Cf. my last paragraph above.

  3. Jenos Idanian says:

    Wow. Next, the EU will proclaim that water is wet.