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July 22, 2013

The EU on Hezbollah: What are the Consequences

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The European Union included Hezbollah’s "armed wing" on the list of terrorist organizations. But... only the “armed wing.”

Given this stated limitation, several questions arise.

1. What will Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah be considered – a terrorist or a political figure?

2. Who will decide the boundary between "armed" and "political"Hezbollah and how will they decide?

3. Will the 'political arm' continue to obtain its financing in Europe, using European banks?

The EU seems to have found a formula to make itself appear hard on terrorism without defining or undertaking anything at all. The 1990 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, states:

Recalling General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, paragraph 3, subparagraph (f), in which the Assembly called upon all States to take steps to prevent and counteract, through appropriate domestic measures, the financing of terrorists and terrorist organizations, whether such financing is direct or indirect through organizations which also have or claim to have charitable, social or cultural goals or which are also engaged in unlawful activities such as illicit arms trafficking, drug dealing and racketeering, including the exploitation of persons for purposes of funding terrorist activities, and in particular to consider, where appropriate, adopting regulatory measures to prevent and counteract movements of funds suspected to be intended for terrorist purposes without impeding in any way the freedom of legitimate capital movements and to intensify the exchange of information concerning international movements of such funds.

But the EU is doing exactly that – leaving the funding door wide open. In that sense, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that:

The main consequence [of Hezbollah’s inclusion on the terrorist list] is the freezing of any asset that might have on Community territory. However, diplomatic sources admit that it is difficult to delimit if these assets belong to the branch of the military or the civil courts. Beyond the practical implications, the decision that the ministers took today is more a political message in the line of which Europe not tolerate terrorist activities in their own territory without punishing the perpetrators.

What is also striking is the timing of the EU decision to veto cooperation with Israel concerning the so-called "occupied territories" and the inclusion of Hezbollah’s "armed wing" on the list of terrorist organizations. The second decision appears to be an attempt by the EU to toss out a consolation prize that costs it nothing.

-- Marcelo Wio

Posted by RH at July 22, 2013 03:57 PM

Comments

I wonder if the EU of today would have sanctioned only the military wing of the Nazis? It's bizarre that the EU has created a military wing distinction for an organization which doesn't itself recognize the military function as differentiated from the whole.

Posted by: Michael Perloff at July 23, 2013 09:06 AM

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