Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Inclusion of the "Military Arm" of Hezbollah in the European Union's List of Terrorist Organizations

Bullet points put out by the Israeli Consulate in light of the EU's declaration today regarding Hezbollah's  so-called military wing.

A.   Main points:

1.    Hezbollah, by its leaders' own admission, is a single organization without any separation between the different "arms": The Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Naim Qassem, said in an interview on the Lebanese al-Mayadeen television network (May 24): "We (Hezbollah) have no military arm without a political arm."

2.    The U.S. as well does not make a distinction between the different parts of the organization: State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell recently said (May 21, AGF) that "the United States does not distinguish between the political arm and the military and terrorist arm of Hezbollah. All the organization's arms and branches have a single leadership and joint financing."

3.    Since its establishment Hezbollah has been a terrorist organization operating under Iranian sponsorship and serving Iranian interests in the Middle East and throughout the world: Such was the case when it carried out attacks against Israel on foreign soil, and such is the case today, when it is attempting to carry out attacks in the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.

4.    Hezbollah is a murderous terrorist organization with a modern army's destruction capabilities: The organization's armed militants are playing a direct and declared role in the horrendous bloodletting that is taking place in Syria and aiding Assad's armed forces.

5.    The Iran and Hezbollah terror offensive, which has accelerated in recent years around the world, poses a direct threat to all Western countries, and especially to Israeli and Jewish envoys, diplomats and tourists all over the world.

B.   Major implications arising from the inclusion of the military arm of Hezbollah in the European Union's list of terrorist organizations:

Political implications:

1.    Political isolation of Hezbollah, in light of the European Union's practice of not engaging in dialogue with entities that are included in the list of terrorist organizations.

2.    Weakening of Hezbollah's standing in the internal Lebanese arena.

Economic implications:
1.    Freezing of assets and funds – Following the inclusion of Hezbollah's military arm in the list of terrorist organizations, it will be possible to freeze all its assets and funds in Europe and to take a series of actions to cut off the organization's sources of funding.

2.    Obligation of financial entities to cooperate with enforcement agencies against Hezbollah's military arm and to provide any necessary information for the purpose of cutting off funding to the military arm.

3.    Effect on fundraising capacity – This announcement has the potential to affect the military arm's ability to raise funds in Europe though charitable organizations and societies operating in Europe.

4.    Deepening of the rift between Hezbollah and Lebanese banks – Such an announcement, coupled with the U.S. announcement from the 1990s regarding the organization and the pressure which in any case is being exerted on the Lebanese government in the field of banking regulation, could theoretically deepen the rift between the Lebanese banks and Hezbollah.

Criminal implications:

1.    Increased enforcement against Hezbollah in the criminal sphere, mainly as regards such aspects of terror financing and money laundering as drug running, counterfeiting of medicines, smuggling or illicit transfers of capital, etc.

For further background: http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20436
Thanks to Leonard Kristal

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