The European Union (EU) has been reluctant to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, principally for reasons of cowardice and intimidation (the Netherlands is the only state do so. Britain has targeted Hezbollah’s military arm but failed to ban its social and political arm.) Germany’s foreign policy spokesman in the Bundestag, Philipp Missfelder, has called for a full-blown ban of Hezbollah. “The EU must act now and use its instruments to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.” Missfelder added that if the EU cannot reach a consensus, the Federal Republic of Germany should unilaterally sanction Hezbollah.
In the meantime, however, Europe and Germany in particular, have become lucrative arenas for Hezbollah’s fund raising through the sale of illicit drugs. Simultaneously, the EU has permitted Hezbollah’s vile propaganda through its TV network Al-Manar. The station disseminates anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda, and glorifies suicide bombing to millions of viewers in Europe around the clock, seven days a week.
Much has been revealed about Hezbollah’s terror and conspiracy operations in Europe following last July’s tourist bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria, which resulted in the killing of five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver, and severely injuring 32 Israelis. Just two weeks earlier, Cypriot authorities arrested a dual Lebanese-Swedish citizen, a self-confessed Hezbollah member named Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, for plotting to murder Israeli tourists in Cyprus, an EU member state. An 80-page report by a three judge panel in late March, 2013, related to Yaacoub’s conviction, exposed the reach of Hezbollah’s activities across Europe.
During his visit to Israel last month, U.S. President Barack Obama declared in Jerusalem every country that values justice should call Hezbollah what it truly is, a terrorist organization. Obama aimed his remark at the EU, which has declined to place Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations
While the “mighty” EU states ponder the issue of designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, the tiny Arab Gulf Sheikdom of Bahrain did just that: it outlawed Hezbollah, and named it a terrorist organization. Bahrain has become the first Arab state to blacklist Hezbollah.
The government of Bahrain claimed to have proof that Hezbollah provided logistical and material support to subversive groups in Bahrain that have attempted to unseat the Sunni dominated government. Al Arabiya reported that Bahraini MP Abdul Halim Murad cited Hezbollah and Iran as conspiring against Bahrain.
To many of the Gulf Arab states and Sunni-Muslim leadership of Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) in particular, Hezbollah has been seen correctly as the sub-contractor for their Iranian Shiite co-religionists and sponsors. At an Arab League meeting of Interior ministers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 13, 2013, Bahrain’s Interior minister Rashid Bin Abdullah al Khalifa, referring to Iranian sponsored troubles in his country (Iranian inspired uprising took place in February 2011) said: “ This requires an Arab stance that is more than condemnation – to take active measures to protect Arab security through the protection of the security of member countries.” Al Khalifa added that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was involved in training and supporting Shiite insurgents.
A-Siyassa, a Kuwaiti Newspaper, reported on March 8, 2013, that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are preparing for a crackdown on Iranian supporters. GCC states were drawing up lists of thousands of Lebanese (Shiites) and other nationals targeted for deportation.
Since 2011 and before, the UAE has been expelling Lebanese Shiites from the Emirates claiming “security reasons” for their action. The common factor among all those expelled is that they are all Shiites and as such, are part of a community that “supports the resistance,” a reference to Hezbollah and Iran according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) story. In early April, 2011, Bahrain expelled 16 Lebanese Shiites over “security concerns” during ongoing unrest in the tiny state. Bahrain’s foreign minister accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah of backing Shiite protesters against the Sunni monarchy.
The BBC (December 8, 2010) reported that Saudi Arabia proposed an Arab-led military force to destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon according to a U.S. diplomatic cable revealed by Wikileaks. At a 2008 meeting between David Satterfield, a senior State Department official and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi prince urged the U.S. and NATO to provide transport and logistical support as well as naval and air cover for an Arab force to take over Beirut and prevent an Iranian victory in Lebanon through Hezbollah.
According to the leaked cable, al-Faisal argued that a Hezbollah victory against Sunni-Muslim Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government “combined with Iranian actions in Iraq and on the Palestinian front would be a disaster for the U.S. and the entire region.” Al-Faisal intimated that the Arab force will include troops from peripheral states, and that Fouad Siniora supported the plan.
The so-called “Arab Spring” did not bring with it a flowering of democracy to the Arab world, nor did it induce calm to the turmoil that is the Middle East. It did however, sharpen the conflict between the two branches of Islam, and it has intensified the rivalry and fear in the Gulf between the GCC Sunni led states headed by Saudi Arabia, and Shiite Iran. And as Arab Iraq and Lebanon have come under Shiite control, and Syria is being contested pitting the Alawi (Shiite affiliated) Assad regime against the Sunni rebels, a strange undeclared alliance had emerged between the Sunni Arab Gulf states and Israel. It is not yet a love affair, but common interests in preventing Iran from going nuclear, and opposition to Hezbollah has put the U.S., Israel, and the Gulf states in the same camp.
Hezbollah’s trail of blood extends back to its creation in the early 1980’s by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Already in April, 1983, Hezbollah, under Iranian orders bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. Six months later, Hezbollah used a massive truck bomb to destroy the U.S. and French army barracks outside Beirut, killing 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French soldiers. And, throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s Hezbollah engaged in kidnappings and aircraft hijackings. In 1984, Iran and Hezbollah perpetrated the bombing of the Israeli Embassy, and the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. Other Hezbollah attacks occurred in Paris and Bangkok. Hezbollah engineered the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen. In 1997, the State Department designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
As it gained politically within Lebanon, Hezbollah tried to obscure its terrorist nature and present itself as a social welfare provider, and as a national liberation movement against Israeli occupation (which ended in May 2000) but cynically ignored Syrian occupation of all of Lebanon. Hezbollah is currently engaged in the Syrian civil war on behalf of Iran, supporting the Assad regime. Its meddling throughout the Sunni Middle East has caused the expulsion of Lebanese Shiites (suspected of affiliation of Hezbollah) from Egypt, Libya and of course, the Arab Gulf States. Tiny Bahrain mustered the courage to ban Hezbollah and had it blacklisted as a terrorist organization. It is now high time for the EU to emulate Bahrain and do the same.
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