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Blogs

The EU fails to ban Hezbollah

23 July 2013

8:34 PM

23 July 2013

8:34 PM

As though the sunny weather and the royal baby were not enough, here comes yet more good news. The European Union has finally banned the military wing of Hezbollah.

This is something I have argued for often, including here, here, and here. After recent trials of Hezbollah operatives and Hezbollah operations – including the Bulgaria bombing – on European soil the decision did seem inevitable.


Yet there is a cloud on the silver lining – which is that the EU, in somewhat characteristic fashion, has only managed to do a partly good thing. While they have banned the ‘military wing’ of Hezbollah they continue to allow the ‘political’ wing to fundraise and recruit in Europe. In this way they perpetuate the idiotic fiction of a separation of powers within Hezbollah. That is, they continue to pretend – like the British Foreign Office – that Hezbollah is not a unified political-military organisation under the leadership of Hassan Nasrallah and his paymasters in Iran, but rather an organisation with two wholly separate entities – a ‘political’ wing and a ‘military’ wing.

As I have pointed out many times, nobody among Hezbollah’s backers in Iran thinks that such a division of power or responsibility exists. Nobody in Lebanon thinks such a division exists. Nobody in Hezbollah believes that such a division exists. Yet still the pretence continues in the Foreign Office and the EU.

A couple of years back, Hassan Nasrallah said that a proscription of his group’s activities in the EU would ‘destroy’ the organisation. If that happened, he said, ‘[t]he sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political and material support will be destroyed.’ Sadly it seems that the EU, like the British government, does not see that as the invitation it so obviously is.

Still – at least we can look forward to watching this unfold in the coming months and years. I almost look forward to British and EU officials trying to explain whether it is the political or military wing of Hezbollah which is currently massacring non-Shiites in Syria. And in a way I will relish watching them trying to explain why future suicide bombings like that in Bulgaria come from an organisation called ‘Hezbollah’ and not an organisation called ‘Hezbollah’.

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