Public Affairs Intern Daniel Jacobs writes about the campaign to push the EU to proscribe Hizballah.
The long and frustrating battle for the EU to recognise and proscribe Hizballah as a terrorist organisation has been gaining significant momentum. Intense lobbying by the UK, US and Israeli governments, plus a concerted push by the JLC and its member organisations has finally started to take effect. On 22nd March 2013, after a significant increase in rhetoric against Hizballah being issued by both MPs and Peers, the UK formally requested that the EU proscribe Hizballah. Those who oppose terror should be grateful to the UK for taking this first bold step.
We should not however be complacent. Although the UK is now supported by both Germany and France, two vital players, there are still many obstacles to face. Many EU nations are reluctant to proscribe Hizballah, believing that such a move will further damage the incredibly complex, unstable and fractious political environment within Lebanon and beyond. They fear retaliation attacks against UNIFIL troops stationed on its border and of terror attacks in Europe.
We only have to look at the recent history of Lebanon to realise that Hizballah is instrumental in its destabilisation. The tragic civil war which is raging in Syria is further damning proof of Hizballah’s true nature. To ensure that President Assad’s Syria – a major supplier and facilitator of weapons coming from Iran – survives, Hizballah has openly declared war against the rebel opposition, sending thousands of troops across the border.
The Arab world has finally realised that Hizballah is far from the resistance group it had previously gained credibility for, but an armed resistance group working at the behest of Iran, murdering fellow Arabs and Muslims.
Beyond the 2012 Burgas terror attack which killed six people and injured many more, the prosecution of Hossam Yaacoub in Cyprus, and Hizballah’s meddling in Syria means that if the EU doesn’t act conclusively, it will face the accusation of complicity not just with terrorism, but with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The world is watching.