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House Foreign Affairs Chair Calls on EU to Ban Hezbollah

5:20 PM, Aug 17, 2012 • By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
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Berlin
On the eve of al Quds day, when supporters of the Iranian-led resistance bloc plan to march throughout European cities, U.S. representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has written a letter to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, urging the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

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Don’t expect the Europeans to move too quickly on this issue. Even though U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials believe Iran and Hezbollah are behind the suicide bombing last month in Bulgaria’s Black Sea resort town of Burgas that killed five Israelis tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver, the EU seems to be turning a deaf ear to the idea Hezbollah was involved at all. Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov declined to name Hezbollah and Iran as responsible for the attack. “We do not want to get involved in this long-standing conflict,” he said, “as we are very vulnerable.” Neither he nor anyone from his government attended the funeral for the Bulgarian citizen killed in the attack, bus driver, Mustafa Kyosev.

In late July, Cypriot foreign minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country now occupies the presidency of the 26-member EU, said there is “no consensus among the EU member states for putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list of the organization.” She claimed there is “no tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism.”

In 2005, the EU parliament passed a resolution that it “considers that clear evidence exists of terrorist activities on the part of Hezbollah and that the Council should take all necessary steps to curtail them.”

Some European countries have made admirable attempts to cut off Hezbollah’s oxygen and deliver a one-two punch to both terror organizations. In late 2009, the Dutch parliament advanced a resolution calling on the EU to ban Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which “has played a leading role during the bloody suppression of the recent popular protests [against the fixed reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad]” and “is increasingly active in facilitating international terrorism, among which support to Hamas, Hezbollah and anti-Western militias in Iraq.”

How many dead Europeans will it take for the EU to stand up to the groups who kill them?

Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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