Bulgaria bus bomb 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria might be the last straw that pushes the
European Union to put the group on its terrorism list, European diplomatic
sources told the London-based daily Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday.
speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s and possible evidence from last
July’s bombing of Israelis in Bulgaria were cited as reasons contributing to
the possible move by the EU, the report said.
The Europeans are
considering three options – First, to sanction individuals from the organization
by stopping their funds and not allowing them to enter the EU. Second, banning
the military wing of the organization as it does with Hamas and third, which is
the option favored by the United States and Israel, putting the entire
organization on the terror list.
The sources said that the issue would be
on the agenda in the next meeting of the EU foreign ministers that will deal
with arming the Syrian opposition, which they want to settle by the end of the
According to the sources, it “would be difficult” to continue
defending the reasoning that Hezbollah is a political entity that contributes to
stability when it is involved in the fighting in Syria and threatening to
increase its involvement.
The results from the Burgas suicide bombing –
in which five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian were killed – are supposed to
prove Hezbollah’s involvement but have not been provided yet. They could push
the 27 member-states of the EU to vote unanimously to list the organization on
its terror list.
The report also said that if the evidence from the
Burgas bombing and recent terror plots in Cyprus is convincing, it could even
sway France, which has been reluctant to add Hezbollah to the list.
most likely move for a reluctant EU would seem to be option one or two, as many European governments try to envision that the military wing of the organization is separate
from the political wing.
Matthew Levitt, a senior fellow and director of
the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Stein Program on
Counter-terrorism and Intelligence, and the former deputy assistant secretary for
intelligence and analysis at the US Department of the Treasury, demonstrates in
his research that Hezbollah, like Hamas, are fully coordinated organizations,
where the political and military wings are not separate, but
In his book, Terrorism Financing and State Responses: a
Comparative Perspective, the chapter titled “Hezbollah Finances: Funding the
Party of God” shows that funds for its political and social branches also serve
the military wing.
“Hezbollah funds are spent primarily on furthering the
group’s overall agenda of establishing a Shia entity in Lebanon and radicalizing
Muslims against the West,” Levitt wrote.
“To that end, the majority of
its funds finance social welfare and political activities that finance terror in
a more indirect fashion [e.g., by freeing funds for other purposes, radicalizing
and spotting future recruits, serving as a financial and logistical support
network for the group’s clandestine guerrilla and terrorist
Furthermore, Levitt notes that the group supports the
families of killed or captured fighters as well as finding jobs for its members
in the group’s social welfare network and political organization.