Millennium Post

EU blacklits Hezbollah’s military wing

The European Union placed the military wing of the Lebanese party Hezbollah on its terror list on Monday in a major policy change toward the middle east. The EU’s 28 foreign ministers reached the decision unanimously at their monthly meeting, swiftly swaying the last nations that had any doubts.

It came after prolonged diplomatic pressure from the United States and Israel, who both consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization.  ‘The EU has sent a clear message that it stands united against terrorism,’ said British Foreign Secretary William Hague. ‘It shows that no organization can carry out terrorist acts on European soil.’

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle also emphasized European unity. ‘We will not stand for terror in Europe. From no one,’ he said. The blacklisting entails asset freezes and paves the way for possible travel bans on individuals belonging to the military wing.

‘I’m satisfied that we took this important step today, by dealing with the military wing of Hezbollah, freezing its assets, hindering its fundraising and thereby limiting its capacity to act,’ said Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans.

However, implementation promises to be complicated as officials will have to unravel the links between the different wings within Hezbollah’s organizational network and see who could be targeted for belonging to the military wing. Diplomats on late Monday were working on pinpointing the entities and organizations that make up the military wing. Because of this legal uncertainty it was unclear how many assets could be involved, and how many individuals could be eventually be targeted.

The Iranian-backed group plays a pivotal role in Lebanese politics, dominating the government since 2011. It has since sent its members to bolster Syria’s President Bashar Assad forces in their assault of rebel-held areas.
Walid Sukariyeh, a pro-Hezbollah legislator who belongs to the group’s bloc, said the European decision came as a result of American pressure. ‘Europe tried to have an independent stance away from America’s diction but I believe by this stance it has abandoned its independence and the independence of its policy,’ he said.
‘Hezbollah did not carry out any terrorist attacks, neither in Europe nor outside Europe. Hezbollah is a resistance movement that fought to liberate occupied land from the Israeli enemy,’ Sukariyeh said.

Israel welcomed the European decision. It fought a bitter month-long war with Hezbollah in 2006 and does not differentiate between the group’s political and military wings. Israel has accused Hezbollah of carrying out attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets around the world. Hezbollah has denied involvement in some and not commented on others.

‘Finally, after years of deliberation, the claim that Hezbollah is a legitimate political party has rightfully failed. Now it is clear to the entire world that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization,’ said Israel’s justice minister Tzipi Livni.
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