Nasrallah: EU decision on Hezbollah makes it a ‘full partner’ in any Israeli attack

Hezbollah leader asks why the military wing of the Israeli army was not also on the terror list as the EU itself admits that Israel occupies Arab land.

Nasarallah adresses crowd in Beirut (photo credit: REUTERS)
Nasarallah adresses crowd in Beirut
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Responding to this week’s European Union decision labeling the Hezbollah military wing a terrorist entity, the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said late Wednesday the EU would be “a full partner” in any Israeli attacks against Lebanon.
According to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar website, Nasrallah’s speech took place at the annual iftar ceremony held by the Women’s Committee of Islamic Resistance Support Association.
He asked why the military wing of the Israeli army was not also on the terror list as the EU itself admits that Israel occupies Arab land, does not abide by international law, and that the “whole world witnessed the Israeli massacres.”
The comment linking the EU with a future Israeli attack may mean that the organization could target European interests in the future, such as member states participating in the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.
Nasrallah dismissed the notion that the move would harm his group, stating that his organization did not have any money in Europe. He added, jokingly, that the next Hezbollah ministers in the Lebanese government would be from the military wing.
Nasrallah concluded by saying that the Resistance would stay steadfast and “would be victorious, by Allah’s will.”
Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the bombing last July of an Israeli tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria – in which five Israelis and their Bulgarian driver died – and says the EU surrendered to US and Israeli pressure to call the group a terrorist entity. The Bulgarian interior minister said last week Sofia had no doubt Hezbollah was behind the attack.
Hezbollah has a dozen of its members in parliament and two ministers in Lebanon’s caretaker cabinet, as well as thousands of armed fighters. It says it is a unified movement and makes no distinction between military or political wings.
An article in the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar stated that the EU was also pressured by Saudi Arabia in its decision, because the kingdom is angry at the group for supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Chuck Freilich, a senior fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former deputy national security adviser in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post that Hezbollah now faces its biggest crisis ever.
He says that if Assad falls it would be a dramatic strategic setback for Hezbollah and Iran.
Iran would lose its “direct foothold on the conflict with Israel, which it wants both to advance its efforts to fight and destroy Israel” and to “promote its leadership of the Arab world.”
It would also make supplying Hezbollah that much harder, said Freilich.
This is a “make or break situation,” said Freilich adding that a failure by the Shi’ites to keep the Allawite Assad in power would dramatically change the dynamics of the regional Sunni-Shi’ite struggle.
The organization’s domestic situation has also deteriorated, it has not launched an attack against Israel in the past seven years because of the deterrence created in the 2006 Lebanon war, Freilich said.
“Sooner or later there will be another round with Israel, but for now the group is focused elsewhere.”
To reduce the rocket threat from the north, Israel could take advantage of a distracted Hezbollah – with its forces embroiled in Syria and battling sectarian conflict at home – to further weaken the group before a possible attack against Iran’s nuclear installations.
Yet a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah may not be needed, as these same distractions make any significant attack against Israel unlikely.Reuters contributed to this report.