AFP reports that the European Union declines to consider Hezbollah as a terrorist organization:
The European Union turned down a request on Tuesday by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to blacklist Hezbollah as a terror group after last week’s deadly bombing in Bulgaria.
“There is no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organisations,” said Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
[ . . . ] Kozakou-Marcoullis said Hezbollah was an organisation comprising a party as well as an armed wing and was “active in Lebanese politics”.
The rationale is elaborated upon by Kozakou-Marcoullis in the Jerusalem Post:
“The Lebanese Hezbollah is an organization that comprises a political party, social services network as well as an armed wing,” she said. “Hezbollah is active in Lebanese politics, including the parliament and the government, and plays a specific role with regard to the status quo in Lebanon.”
Thankfully, she left the door open for a change in policy if anybody could find some “tangible evidence” that this well-meaning group of social workers had actually done anything wrong.
Apparently word has not reached the European Union about some of Hezbollah’s past activities. Perhaps officials might like to look into some of the following:
- The 1983 US Embassy Bombing in Beirut, which killed 63 people, including American officials and 8 members of the CIA.
- The 1983 Beirut Barracks Attacks in Beirut, the deadliest terrorist assault on a US target prior to 9/11, which killed 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers and wounded over 100 others.
- The 1985 Hijacking of TWA Flight 847
- The 1994 Bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, which killed 80 and injured over 300.
- The indictment of Hezbollah leaders by a United Nations tribunal for the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
- Attempted 2009 attacks on Egyptian and Israeli targets, foiled by Egyptian security (with similar incidents in Thailand and elsewhere this year).
Before making a final determination, the terrorism sleuths at the EU might want check and see if any friendly intelligence organizations have files on Hezbollah that could help. The United States, United Kingdom and Canada have all listed Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Perhaps there are reasons. Worth following up with a phone call, anyway.
But the EU has at least provided a new answer to an old question.
Q: What do you call something if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck?
A: A political wing.
Reports suggest that France, with its historically close ties to Lebanon, where Hezbollah is a member of the ruling coalition and has good relations with pro-French Christian groups (this week, anyway), is the country preventing the EU from placing the organization on the terror list. Whatever the reason, the EU should fix this and fast; it is follies like this that discredit international institutions and make it look as though crude politics trumps common moral sense within them.
And we all know that’s just not true.