Analysis: Why won't EU call Hezbollah terrorists
BERLIN – Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s diplomatic push last week in Brussels to convince the EU to designate the Lebanese-based Hezbollah group as a terror entity was met with robust resistance.
Liberman sought to inject new life into the drive to outlaw Hezbollah because of the murders of five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver on July 18. Israeli and US intelligence agencies believe Hezbollah carried out the suicide bombing at Bulgaria's Burgas airport.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country heads the 26-member EU presidency, said there is "no consensus among the EU member states for putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list of the organization,” and claimed there is "no tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism.”
Counter-terrorism blogs and experts on both sides of the Atlantic were immediately awash with reactions that quickly mounted overwhelming evidence to refute Kozakou-Marcoullis’s contentions.
Jacob Campbell, a research fellow at the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy in the United Kingdom, and author of a report in late June on the EU "Helping Hezbollah,” told The Jerusalem Post on Friday, "Within just days of the Burgas bombing – almost undoubtedly perpetrated by Hezbollah – the Presidency of the EU Council explicitly ruled out the possibility of listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, insisting that there is no ‘tangible evidence’ to link Hezbollah to terrorism. This ludicrous statement was made despite an earlier resolution adopted by the European Parliament, which cites ‘clear evidence’ of terrorist acts committed by Hezbollah. On this issue, as in so many others, Brussels appears to have its head buried firmly in the sand.”
The United States classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Writing on his World Affairs blog, the US Mideast expert Michael J. Totten wrote that Hezbollah’s "first act of terrorism was the destruction of the US Embassy in Beirut in 1983. I could sit here all day and list all the incidents between then and now, but I won’t. European officials know perfectly well what Hezbollah has done. Their refusal to blacklist it has nothing to do with their ignorance or with Hezbollah’s innocence.” (...)