Finally - EU puts Hezb'allah militia on terror list
The military wing of Hezb'allah has been declared a terrorist organization by the European Union. The US declared the entire organization a terrorist outfit in 2005.
The EU has been balking for years in declaring Hezb'allah a terrorst group because it's political wing takes part in the Lebanese election process and carries out social service activities in the desperately poor Shia areas of southern Lebanon.
But recent evidence of terrorist activities as well as the militia's role in the Syrian civil war has convinced the EU to change its tune.
The Bulgarians cited evidence that Hezbollah's military wing was involved in a terror attack last year killing five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver. In Cyprus earlier this year, a court found a Hezbollah member guilty of assisting in the planning of an attack on Israel. Lately, its fighters have sided with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's civil war.
The European Union agreed to target just the military component, the diplomat said. Critics of such an approach say designating part of an entity isn't effective or practical.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's spokeswomen called the decision "correct and just." It "puts an end to the wrong argument" that Hezbollah's military activities are absolved by the group's political status. "Even if Hezbollah is a political party, that does not whitewash and make legitimate their terrorist activities," the spokeswoman said.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the agreement sends "a clear message" that the European Union "stands united against terrorism."
"It shows that no organization can carry out terrorist acts on European soil, such as the appalling attack in Bulgaria one year ago, without facing the consequences. European nations have rightly come together in response," he said.
This is a blow to Hezb'allah leader Hassan Nasrallah's efforts to try and maintain some kind of international legitimacy for the terrorist group, but it's less important than the EU is claiming. By failing to designate the entire organization as terrorists, it legitimizes Hezb'allah's strong arm tactics in Lebanon that allows it to dominate the government despite winning few seats in parliament. Nasrallah has always used the threat of his well armed. well trained militia to cow the opposition into backing down, while maintaining a pro-Syrian government with other political parties.
Nasrallah's decision to back Assad in the Syrian civil war may end up costing him more than he can afford to pay.