Hizballah Officials Reject Targeting of “Wings”

by John Rossomando:

Europe’s Hezbollah Dilemma

hezby MARK  SILVERBERG:

The long-awaited results of the Bulgarian investigation into the Burgas  terrorist bombing last July 18th  has placed enormous pressure  on the European  Union to proscribe Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – a classification  repeatedly called for by the US, Canada and Israel, but so far rejected by EU member states except the  Netherlands.

Hezbollah’s involvement in the Burgas tragedy should make European leaders  rethink the standard excuses they have made to rationalize their lack of action  against Hezbollah. One often-quoted EU excuse maintains that since Hezbollah in  Lebanon has both a military aspect and a political/social aspect, clamping down  on the former would cripple the latter and destabilize the Hezbollah-dominated  government of the country.

While this hair splitting gives Hezbollah the wiggle room it needs to carry  on its nefarious activities in Europe, the argument has no validity given that the EU’s terror list already includes Hamas, which won the  Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, as well as the Communist Party of the  Philippines, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other radical organizations  that are involved in their countries’ political systems. And given that the EU  has already sanctioned individuals and entities “responsible for the violent  repression against the civilian population in Syria”, there is no logical reason  to exclude Hezbollah as it clearly falls into this category given its continuing  support of the Assad regime.

This argument is especially vacuous given that Hezbollah’s second-in-command  Naim Qassem has already rejected the British separation of his organization into  political and military wings. Qassem told the Los Angeles Times in  2009: “The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work  (in Lebanon) also leads jihad actions in the struggle against  Israel.”

Stripping away all this double-speak, EU member states, most notably France  and Germany, fear that proscribing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization could  potentially lead to the activation of Hezbollah terror cells across the  continent. According to Matthew Levitt, the Director of the Washington Institute  for Near East Policy’s counterterrorism and intelligence program, the Europeans  are afraid to stir up a hornet’s nest. “Hezbollah” he writes, “is not very  active in Europe and the Europeans feel that if you poke Hezbollah or Iran in  the eye, they will do the same to you. If you leave them alone, then maybe they  will leave you alone.”

France is particularly apprehensive given the exposure of its UNIFIL forces  in Lebanon to Hezbollah fire, and it is even more concerned that designating  Hezbollah as a terrorist organization would, once again, bring  Hezbollah/Iranian-directed terrorism back to its streets.

Read more at Family Security Matters

Mark Silverberg is an attorney with a  Masters Degree in Political Science and International Relations from the  University of Manitoba, Canada. A former member of the Canadian Justice  Department and a past Director of the Canadian Jewish Congress (Western Office)  based in Vancouver, he served as a Consultant to the Secretary General of the  Jewish Agency in Jerusalem during the first Palestinian intifada. He is a member  of Hadassah’s National Academic Advisory Board, a foreign policy analyst with  the Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel) and the International Analyst  Network (U.S.), and has been interviewed on Israel National Radio as an  authority on American foreign policy in the Middle East. His editorials and  articles on Middle East affairs have appeared in the NATIV Journal of the Ariel  Center for Policy Research (Israel), Israel Insider, the Conservative Voice,  Family Security Matters, Israel Unity Coalition, The Intelligence Summit,  Midstream and Outpost magazines and Arutz Sheva (Israel National News). He has  lectured extensively on subjects of counterterrorism, jihadism, homeland  security issues and intelligence matters and is a Featured Writer with the New  Media Journal (Chicago). He is the author of “The Quartermasters of Terror:  Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Jihad (Wyndham Hall Press, 2005). His  articles and book have been archived under http://www.marksilverberg.com/.

‘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