What’s a Hezbollah operative got to do to get some attention around here?
Britain tried this week to get the European Union to label the “Party of God” a terrorist organization, but Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, and others demurred. Previously reluctant countries like France and Germany finally hopped on board, but because the vote needs to be unanimous, Hezbollah remains a political group and not a terrorist actor in the eyes of Europe. Reuters reports:
Britain’s request was discussed for a second time by a special European Union group following an inconclusive meeting on June 4, but British diplomats failed to win over a number of skeptical governments. […]
Britain has argued that the militant Shi’ite Muslim group should face European sanctions because of evidence that it was behind a bus bombing in Bulgaria last July that killed five Israelis and their driver. Hezbollah denies any involvement. […]
Blacklisting the group would mark a major policy shift for the European Union, which has resisted pressure from Israel and Washington to do so for years.
Hezbollah has tried its level best to convince the world that it’s a bona fide terrorist organization, bombing the US embassy in Beirut (1983), killing 241 US Marines (1983), hijacking an international flight (1985), bombing the Buenos Aires Jewish community Center (1994), assassinating the Lebanese Prime Minister (2005), attempting attacks on Egyptian and Israeli targets (2009), blowing up an Israeli tourist bust on European soil (2012), and seeking worldwide surveillance of Jews (2013), all while operating an international drug cartel.
But the masters of subtle distinction in some European capitals know a proper terrorist group when they see one, and Hezbollah doesn’t make the cut.
Some EU countries seem dead set against rocking the boat, but the larger Hezbollah’s international presence becomes, the harder it is to keep the barque steady. If Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah is right that the 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,” then Europe will have a lot to answer for when all is said and done.
[Hezbollah flag image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]