News / Middle East

Lebanon Unhappy With Hezbollah Blacklisting

A car bomb explodes on July 9 in Beirut's southern suburbs, stronghold of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, one of several attacks linked to Hezbollah's role in the Syrian civil war.
A car bomb explodes on July 9 in Beirut's southern suburbs, stronghold of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, one of several attacks linked to Hezbollah's role in the Syrian civil war.
The European Union now considers much of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement a terrorist organization and that is complicating efforts to form a new government in Beirut, according to Lebanese officials.
 
The blacklisting of Hezbollah’s military wing came after months of lobbying by Britain and the Netherlands and with the encouragement of the United States. The EU decision, which also follows Hezbollah’s forceful intervention in the Syrian civil war, went ahead this week despite diplomatic efforts by Lebanese officials to head it off.
 
Lebanese officials had warned the EU that the timing of the terror designation would be unhelpful to prime minister-designate Tamman Salam’s efforts to form a new cabinet.
 
The Lebanese were also worried that the terror designation could cause further troubles between Lebanon’s Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities, which have clashed repeatedly because of Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria.
  
In a bid to defuse Shiite anger over the blacklisting, some of Hezbollah’s main Sunni critics have been especially cautious about the EU move, not wishing to add to political tensions. The Future Movement, Hezbollah’s main Sunni rival, expressed “extreme regret and concern” at the EU decision.
 
In a statement, the Future Movement praised Hezbollah for its role in defending Lebanese territory from Israel and said the Shiite group was an “essential Lebanese faction that represents a significant slice of the Lebanese.” Even so, it called on Hezbollah to end its military support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to withdraw its fighters from Syria.
 
Syria intervention was key factor
 
Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, told Al-Arabiya TV that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria was a key reason for the blacklisting. EU countries that supported the move say also there is compelling evidence that Hezbollah was behind a bomb attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year in which six people died. The group denies any involvement.
 
Syrian troops roll into the center of Qusair June 5, 2013, after capturing the stragegic town with key help from Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.Syrian troops roll into the center of Qusair June 5, 2013, after capturing the stragegic town with key help from Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.
x
Syrian troops roll into the center of Qusair June 5, 2013, after capturing the stragegic town with key help from Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.
Syrian troops roll into the center of Qusair June 5, 2013, after capturing the stragegic town with key help from Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.
Lebanon’s President, Michel Sleiman, has urged the European Union to reconsider its decision to list Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group.
 
Negotiations over the formation of a new cabinet have been prolonged and difficult and the country is now being run by a caretaker government.
 
The Future Movement-led March 14th bloc has backed a bid by Salam, the prime minister-designate, to form a non-partisan government. For its part, the Hezbollah-led March 8th alliance wants a cabinet lineup that represents the political parties according to their size in Parliament – a formula that would allow the Shiite party to dominate the next government as much as it did the last one.
 
“The EU’s decision has now almost guaranteed Hezbollah intransigence,” said an adviser to the Future Movement. “Hezbollah will not only stick to its demand for veto power on any major decisions by a future government, but it will also want to dominate the next cabinet to make a point to the Europeans and to force the Europeans to have to deal with Hezbollah politicians and those aligned with the movement.
 
“The message will be to emphasize Hezbollah’s power in Lebanon” the adviser said.
 
U.S. made similar move
 
In its condemnation of the EU decision, Hezbollah appeared to hint that it intends to adopt just such an approach and to embarrass the EU. It warned that when the United States made a similar move against Hezbollah, “that only generated further failures and disappointments” for the West.
 
The blacklisting raises many questions about how EU countries plan to deal with Lebanon. European officials and diplomats have stressed since the blacklisting was announced that the terror designation only applies to Hezbollah’s military wing and not to the movement’s political arm or to its social and welfare work running hospitals and clinics and providing aid to the jobless or Syrian refugees.
 
British Ambassador Tom Fletcher said on his Twitter feed that the organization’s blacklisting of Hezbollah would not affect dealings with the party’s political wing. It “does not alter cooperation with Lebanon [government], nor EU contact with political [representatives],” Fletcher said.
 
In meetings this week, the EU’s ambassador in Lebanon, Angelina Eichhorst, has carried the same message, arguing the Europeans had to show that “acts of terrorism are unacceptable irrespective of the perpetrators,” but insisting it would “not prevent the continuation of dialogue with all political parties in Lebanon and would not affect the EU’s financial support to Lebanon including humanitarian assistance.”
 
“The EU will work with any cabinet that represents all parties and even if Hezbollah was part of it,” Eichhorst told reporters following a meeting with caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour.
 
Critics of the terrorist designation say dividing up Hezbollah between politicians and fighters is meaningless. Most analysts agree, arguing it is impossible to distinguish between the different wings, with the same personnel functioning in both. British Foreign Secretary William Hague appeared to concede that in his remarks welcoming the EU move, saying, “we will have to distinguish as best we can” between the group’s various parts.
 
Supporters of the blacklisting argue that the fine print and distinctions don’t matter. They say the terrorist designation is meant only as a warning to Hezbollah, an effort to persuade the movement’s leaders to pull back from defending Assad, and to refrain from any repeat on European soil of last year’s bombing in Bulgaria.
 
Matthew Levitt, a former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Treasury Department, believes the EU blacklisting could prove successful as an exercise in making Hezbollah think twice before repeating anything like the Bulgarian bombing.

“It is very likely that Hezbollah will curtail the amount of its activities in Europe having to do with militancy or fundraising,” Levitt said.
 
That is also the position of the influential Daily Star newspaper in Beirut. In an editorial, it argued that “the EU has so far been magnanimous toward Lebanon by differentiating between the military and political wings of Hezbollah. This act of charity will spare Lebanon – whose fate is so intertwined with the resistance party – the immediate, devastating consequences that could have come” if the entire movement had been blacklisted.
 
It urges Hezbollah “to reflect,” arguing, “if Hezbollah doubles down on its fighting in Syria, the decision can just as easily be amended to cover all Hezbollah members.”

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: karrar zaidi from: lucknow,India
July 25, 2013 12:26 PM
E.U.,instead of toeing the U.S.and Canada should formulate their own policies to suit their political ends.They have already lost a case in Syria where Russia and China combine has forced them out of the play field.In Lebanon it is impossible to identify military and political wings of Hezbollah separately.Hezbollah is an inseparable part of Lebanon politic and any attempt to divide them is bound to fail.At most they can invite Lebanon to go to Russia-Chino fold.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 25, 2013 11:39 AM
What is the bickering about, and what is the double speak by the EU to straightway say Hezbollah is a terrorist organization? Asking Hezbollah to curtail its terrorist activities on EU soil does not make it any less a terrorist. This shows the double standard of European politics. So if Hezbollah strikes in South America or Africa, it will not be recorded as a terrorist act. It is a shame that Lebanon is fighting for Hezbollah instead of using the opportunity to disband or reform it. As far away as Nigeria, Hezbollah's terrorist activities keep people sleepless. For fronting for Hezbollah, Lebanon should itself be blacklisted until the whole country finds ways round being an Iranian stooge to terrorize the world.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid