For Europe, Greed and Cowardice Trump Security and Justice
The news that the EU designated Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization made headlines in the U.S. and Europe. Missing from most reports was the fact that this fictitious distinction between “military” and “political” wings was the result of a compromise.
The EU demands unanimity on such policy decisions. But only 22 of the 28 member states reluctantly agreed to list all of Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Thus, the compromise was to designate only the “military wing” as a terrorist organization. However, Hezbollah, like all terrorist organizations, does not make such a distinction between its political and military activities. They are one for all and all for one.
Moreover, Hezbollah has publicly denied such a division. In October 2012, Hezbollah’s second-in-command, Naim Qassem, declared in Beirut: “We don’t have a military wing and a political one. We don’t have Hezbollah on one hand and the resistance party on the other. Every element of Hezbollah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities are in the service of the resistance and we have nothing but the resistance as a priority.”
The EU’s willful blindness towards jihadist organizations, be they Sunni or Shia, is nothing new and seems to be motivated largely by greed. Buying Iranian oil and gas and selling Iran “dual use” products, which are sanctioned by the U.S., has always taken a priority over security. The Europeans accepted Hezbollah for more than 30 years. Only after last year’s bombing in Bulgaria, and a plot to assassinate Israeli and other diplomats in Cyprus, when the danger seemed closer to home, have they decided to send a message to the Iranian sponsored jihadi organization by designating Hezbollah’s “military wing” as terrorists.
Publicly, Hezbollah and Iran denounce the designation, stating, “It appears that the decision was written with an American hand in Zionist ink.” Privately, they must be celebrating the EU’s stand against the U.S. pressure to ban all the activities of the organization. Indeed, Hezbollah members and sympathizers, now licensed by the EU to continue fundraising in Europe, must be laughing on their way to the banks to deposit money to pay for their “military wing’s” activities. None of this, however, made any headlines.
Similarly, an important EU report regarding jihadi terrorism received no media coverage in Europe or the U.S.
The lengthy report, “The Involvement of Salafism/Wahhabism in the Support and Supply of Arms to Rebel Groups Around the World,” was published last month by the Policy Department of the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for External Policies.
Incredibly, the European Parliament had a eureka moment that led to the public admission that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Sates are responsible for the enormous flow of funds and arms to terrorists worldwide. It is unclear what led to this report at this time. Europe’s close proximity to the Muslim world, and its tens of millions of unassimilated Muslim immigrants, undoubtedly factored into the Europeans’ decades-long failure to admit the Islamist threat. Europe falsely believed it could keep jihadists at bay by denying their existence.
Does the European Parliament report signal a shift in European mentality? Doubtful. To the best of our knowledge, the report was not ballyhooed in the slightest. It will most likely be buried and, more or less, officially ignored. The principal clue to this prediction is the EU’s recent action regarding Hezbollah.
And the Saudi/ Wahhabi influence isn’t limited to Europe. Murtaza Haider, a Canadian writing for Pakistan’s Dawn, describes how the infusion of Saudi money contributed to the expansion of Saudi/Wahhabi influence in Pakistan.
Millions of Pakistani families, as well as their government, have been dependent for decades on remittances sent by relatives who found jobs in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, “the migrant workers returned to Pakistan after being radicalized during their stay in Saudi. They became the brand ambassadors for the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi flavors of Islam, thus expediting the pace of radicalization in Pakistan,” according to Haider. He details how Saudi and Gulf charities used natural disasters that hit Pakistan in 2005, 2010, and 2011 “to channel millions of dollars in aid, of which an unknown amount was used to fund militant organizations who have broadened their reach in Pakistan resulting in over 45,000 violent deaths in the past few years alone.”
Haider points out that,” Despite the overt threats emerging from the oil-rich Arab states, governments across the globe continue to ignore the security imperative and instead are busy exploiting the oil, and at time times, blood-soaked riches” of these countries. One finds it hard to disagree with his conclusion that Europe, as well as the U.S., are willing to sacrifice their security in favor of wrongheaded self-interests.