‘EU to mull listing Hezbollah as terror group’

Photo: REUTERS

By Benjamin Weinthal

BERLIN – A discussion is under way within the EU about possibly listing  Hezbollah as a terrorist group, Austria’s Foreign Ministry informed The  Jerusalem Post on Saturday.

Austria appears to be the first EU country to  acknowledge that that the 27- member body has begun a process to designate the  Lebanese Shi’ite group as a terrorist organization.

He noted that  Hezbollah is not only represented in Lebanon’s parliament but is part of its  government, with two ministers in the cabinet.

“A listing of the  Hezbollah could, therefore, have immediate effects on the security of the  country and the stability of the government,” Schallenberg continued.

He  noted that Lebanon President Michel Suleiman seeks to create a “national  dialogue” in his country, with the goal of, for example, integrating Hezbollah’s  fighters and weapons into the state’s security forces. Schallenberg said that  the EU has up until now clearly supported Suleiman’s efforts.

He stressed  that it is important that the EU find a “joint position, especially in light of  the situation in Syria.”

News organizations reported that Hezbollah’s  militias joined forces with Syria’s regime to suppress the Syrian  rebellion.

The division among EU countries revolves around whether to  designate the entire Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, or just parts of  it.

Michel Malherbe, a spokesman for the Belgium Foreign Ministry, told  the Post on Thursday: “We believe that it could make sense, instead of qualifying Hezbollah  as a whole, to isolate armed subgroups, or individuals. This method has proven  its merits, and deserves a try.”

Critics of this approach (treating armed  wings separately from political branches) point to a statement from Hezbollah’s  No. 2 leader, Naim Qassem, who said in 2009: “Hezbollah has a single  leadership,” and “All political, social and jihad work is tied to the decisions  of this leadership.”

Qassem added, “The same leadership that directs the  parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle  against Israel.”

The United Kingdom classifies Hezbollah’s military wing  as a terrorist organization, but recognizes its political wing as a legitimate  political party. The Netherlands designated Hezbollah as whole to be a terrorist  group. Both Dutch and British foreign ministers have urged their EU counterparts  to place Hezbollah on the EU terror list.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

One thought on “‘EU to mull listing Hezbollah as terror group’

Comments are closed.