News, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, that the UK intends to extend its proscription of Hezbollah as a terrorist group to include its entire military wing is a long overdue step in the right direction. The proscription means that it will soon be a crime to be a member or supporter of the military wing of this violent entity, which has supported terrorist acts on both coalition forces and civilians in Iraq.
It’s now time for the EU to follow suit and add Hezbollah to its common list of terrorist organizations, which would see their assets frozen and member states providing mutual judicial and legal cooperation and assistance to combat Hezbollah’s activities. Hezbollah is a violent international terrorist organization that has repeatedly targeted Europe in the past. In fact, the United States, Great Britain and the European Union should coordinate their lists of foreign terrorist organizations as closely as possible. As a symbolic gesture alone, it sends a powerful message that the West is united in defeating the enemies of freedom and liberty, but it also acts as a powerful financial sanction against the free flow of terrorist finances.
In testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe, Heritage’s James Phillips discussed Hezbollah’s terrorist threat to the European Union. In Phillips’ own words, “despite al-Qaeda’s increased visibility since then, Hezbollah remains a bigger, better equipped, better organized, and potentially more dangerous terrorist organization.”
Since the 1980s, when many Lebanese citizens came to Europe to flee the civil war in Lebanon and the clashes between Israelis and Palestinian terrorists in Lebanese refugee camps, Hezbollah’s influence and numbers have been growing throughout Europe. An unknown number of Lebanese Shiite immigrants have embraced Hezbollah throughout the continent. In the past three decades, Hezbollah has committed numerous terrorist attacks against European nations, such as the bombing of the French Embassy in Kuwait in 1983 and the attempted assassination of a British novelist in 1989.
Now, the threat level is rising once again as multiple European countries commit troops to the peace keeping forces in Lebanon, making themselves possible targets of Hezbollah attacks. There never hasbeen a better time for the UK’s actions and for the EU to consider adding Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations.