German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
(photo credit: REUTERS/WOLFGANG RATTAY)
WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of four US House representatives sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel urging Germany to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Currently, only the military wing of the terrorist group is named as such. Last week, the Bundestag failed to pass a resolution that would refer to the entire organization as a terrorist group.
The four, Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Grace Meng (D, NY-6), Ted Deutch (D, FL-22), and Gus Bilirakis (R, FL-12) wrote to Merkel that they wish to “express concern” over the recent failed vote in the Bundestag.
“We appreciate your government’s commitment to fighting terrorism, and we believe that taking the step to designate the political wing of Hezbollah [as terrorist] will have a significant impact on Hezbollah’s activity in Europe and around the globe,” they added.
“Since 2016, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and United Kingdom have labeled Hezbollah’s political and military wing as a terrorist organization,” they wrote, noting Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy with a significant political and military influence in Lebanon that poses a geostrategic threat to Israel.
“Iran has provided Hezbollah with approximately $800 million annually for military equipment, and supplied over 100,000 missiles in southern Lebanon, including the capability of building more missiles,” the four continued. “Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has clearly expressed his intent to spread jihad and wipe Israel off the map. The threatening influence of Hezbollah extends beyond Israel and poses a tremendous risk to the security interests of Europe as a whole.
“As you know, your intelligence service has detailed that the number of Hezbollah members and supporters has increased to 1,050 in 2018,” they wrote. “The growth of support for Hezbollah will also contribute to the rise of antisemitism in Europe, which has already resulted in deadly attacks against Jews. That is why we strongly urge Germany to take substantive action against Hezbollah through sanctions and other means that will hamper their ability to project influence in the region.”
They expressed their support for the steps that Germany has already taken by designating Hezbollah’s military wing as terrorist, adding they believe that, “it is critical that Germany take into full consideration the impact that designating Hezbollah’s political wing will have on the terrorist organization’s dangerous activities.
“The alliance between our two countries, whether for combating terrorism or supporting democracy, has been a cornerstone of the transatlantic relationship and NATO alliance, and our coordinated efforts have been critical to our collective national security. That is why we hope that Germany will consider this decision to, once and for all, fully designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”
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