France: Put Hezbollah armed wing on EU’s terror list

Diplomatic source tells 'Post' that France has been hesitant to take steps against Hezbollah because of French “interests” in Lebanon.

By JOSEPH STRICH JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
May 24, 2013 01:28
2 minute read.
Hezbollah supporters march in Beirut’s suburbs

Hezbollah Beirut 370. (photo credit: Archive)

PARIS – The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced late Wednesday that France is now proposing that Hezbollah be added to the European Union list of terrorist organizations.

According to an official at the Quai d’Orsay, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that his country wants to add “the military branch” of the pro- Iranian Shi’ite movement in Lebanon. The action was taken, he said, “taking into account Hezbollah’s decisions.”

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Fabius was apparently alluding to the growing involvement of Hezbollah on the side of the Assad regime in the Syrian conflict.

According to Le Figaro, the initiative came originally from London. The British government proposed this step in a letter to its European partners at the beginning of the week. UK Prime Minister David Cameron also raised the issue in his talks with President François Hollande on Wednesday at the Elysée Palace, but without getting any immediate answer from the French President.

Following a Bulgarian commission’s findings of Hezbollah involvement in the attack in Burgas on July 18 last year, which killed six – five of whom were Israeli tourists – the British have demanded a “robust collective answer” by the Europeans.

In the UK the military branch of Hezbollah is already included on the national list of terrorist organizations, but in order to successfully hinder Hezbollah activities in Europe, a pan- European decision is needed.

A diplomatic source in Paris explained to The Jerusalem Post that until now France has been hesitant to take steps against Hezbollah because of French “interests” in Lebanon, where 870 French troops are stationed who might become the target for retaliatory attacks.

“The distinction between the military branch and other branches of Hezbollah is stupid,” claimed this diplomat.

Speaking in Netanya on Wednesday, former president Nicolas Sarkozy said: “It would be right that Hezbollah should be on the list of terrorist organizations of the European Union.”

French media compared the terrorist attack in London this Thursday to the one that occurred in Toulouse in the south of France in March 2012.

Mathieu Guidere, a professor of Islamic studies at Toulouse University, explained to Le Parisien that “there is a new al-Qaida strategy to attack symbolic targets such as soldiers, policemen, intelligence services agents, to film the action and then put it on the Web.”

“The doctrine was published on the Web after the [Mohamed] Merah affair,” Guidere said.


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