The EU’s Hezbollah fixation
Israel. Europe permits a dormant terrorist potential to thrive in its midst, and it knows so, its denials notwithstanding.
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah speaks to supporters Photo: REUTERS
The good news is that the European Union has ramped up its sanctions against
Iran and Syria. The bad news is Europe’s ongoing recalcitrant indulgence toward
Hezbollah, the proxy that obligingly serves masters in both Tehran and
This is akin to tightening the siege but leaving the enemy a
The EU’s crackdown is significant as it freezes the
assets of more than 30 Iranian firms and institutions, among them the National
Iranian Oil Company and the National Iranian Tanker Company, both crucial to
earning the ayatollah regime foreign currency. This is sure to render Iran even
more cash-strapped than thus far and acutely restrict its ability to do even
subterranean business with the West. Also banned are transactions with NIOC
subsidiaries, the National Iranian Gas Company, National Iranian Oil Refining
and Distribution and various banks. The broader aim is to also prevent
cooperation by European interests with Iranian maritime concerns and obstruct
Iranian oil exports to customers outside the EU.
Concurrently, the EU has
imposed a freeze on assets and travel bans on 28 additional Syrian higher-ups
and two commercial firms. This raises the number of Syrians blacklisted by EU
countries to 181 and the number of companies to 54.
Just as all this was
happening, the US had at long belated last admitted that Hezbollah continuously
escalates its pro-Assad intervention in the Syrian civil war and has in fact
become no less than a component of President Bashar Assad’s killing machine.
Speaking at the UN Security Council’s monthly meeting on the Mideast, US
Ambassador Susan Rice added that Hezbollah leaders, in cahoots with Iran, also
keep conjuring up new stratagems to keep Assad in power.
There can be no
more smug obfuscation of the picture – Hezbollah is not just a major force in
Lebanon but a potent ideological/religious mercenary whose fighters, among other
assignments, play a key role in perpetuating Assad’s grip on power and raining
terror on Syria’s populace.
Yet back in EU headquarters, Hezbollah is
confoundingly still regarded as a social movement, part of Lebanon’s legitimate
civic and political structure, rather than the Iranian-backed terrorism-exporter
that it is. Europe inexplicably remains impervious to Hezbollah’s exceptionally
bloody record and ongoing war crimes.
The emerging situation is one in
which Europe is ostensibly seen to be doing the right thing vis-à-vis both rogue
Mideastern regimes – Iran and Syria – while simultaneously turning a blind eye
to the actions of their enabler, Hezbollah. At the very least this would
appear to contradict and undermine the good intentions.
It gets even
stranger. While official Europe strains itself to hinder trade with Iran and to
punish given upper-echelon Syrians, it allows Hezbollah to raise funds quite
boldly within the EU itself. Hezbollah boasts many adherents among Europe’s
burgeoning Muslim communities, most notably in Germany. Hezbollah emissaries
visit their European adjuncts (and often also sleeper cells) and openly solicit
contributions there. The cover story – in keeping with the EU’s formal
perception of the organization – is that the money is earmarked for
social-welfare and educational projects in Lebanon. However, intelligence
organizations worldwide agree that money from Europe help to plug shortfalls and
to bankroll terrorist operations.
The mounting and very tangible evidence
of critical Hezbollah complicity in the mass murder of Syrian civilians has not
dented the EU’s disinclination to include the group on its list of terrorist
organizations. Israel has frequently urged the EU to label Hezbollah as
terrorist, yet these entreaties fall on deaf ears. Europe appears insistent on
seeing only Hezbollah’s charitable front, though such fraudulent facades are
part and parcel of the modus operandi of most terrorist outfits, a fact that
should not surprise or have escaped the attention of Europe’s movers and
The paradox is that while Europe clamps down on financial and
commercial transactions with Iran and selected Assad sidekicks, it allows
Hezbollah to do business that circumvents EU sanctions.
By no means is
this an inconsistency that exclusively affects Israel. Europe permits a dormant
terrorist potential to thrive in its midst, and it knows so, its denials