The UK Finally Cracks Down on Hezbollah
The United Kingdom is finally on the path to ban the Iranian-backed, Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah in its entirety. Home Secretary Sajid Javid plans to certify Hezbollah as an illegal entity and extend the current ban to the “political wing” of the group later this year, according to a senior Conservative Party source.
The development comes days after pro-Hezbollah protesters marched once again through the streets of London on the annual Al-Quds Day. Israel “should be wiped off the map,” a leading speaker at the rally demanded. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” the crowd enthusiastically responded, advocating for the total annihilation of the Jewish state — under the waving flag of Hezbollah.
This absurd spectacle has been going on for far too long. The United Kingdom has suffered more than enough terrorist attacks over the last few decades, and every time that a terrorist flag is hoisted on our soil, it’s a grotesque insult to the victims, their families — and, indeed, the entire country.
While the international community has focused on Al Qaeda and ISIS, another terrorist organization has dangerously expanded its operational capability. It doesn’t matter that, unlike the other leading terrorist groups, Hezbollah isn’t Sunni. The Shiite organization shares with them the violent Islamist ideology dedicated to our destruction.
Hezbollah is not a legitimate political actor. It is a military organization, funded and trained by the mullah regime in Iran for terrorist operations abroad. The group openly advocates for a pan-Islamic state led by an Islamic clergy based on the principles of the leader of the Revolution of 1979, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said in 2002 that if all the world’s Jews were to gather “in one place,” this would make it easier to kill them in a “final and decisive battle.”
Hezbollah’s operational focus is the Middle East: Launching rockets at Israel. Supporting the mass slaughter of the Assad regime in Syria. Training Shiite militia groups in Iraq. Sending weapons to the Houthis in Yemen.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that Hezbollah’s wrath is restricted to the Middle East. They are just as committed to see us bleed.
Nasrallah vowed in September 2002, that, “Death to America will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan.” A year earlier, he encouraged his followers to export his ideology. “I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide. Don’t be shy about it. Martyrdom operations, suicide bombings, should be exported.”
If similar threats had been made by Al Qaeda, the intelligence and political community would have been up in arms. Why not with Hezbollah? The group has a long track record of terrorist activity abroad, spanning from Asia to South America and Europe.
Hezbollah bombed the US embassy and marine barracks in Lebanon in the 1980’s. The group was behind a failed 1994 operation to blow up the Israeli embassy in Thailand. It was Hezbollah that, together with Iranian operatives, was directly responsible for the 1994 suicide bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, the country’s largest Jewish institution. And it was Hezbollah that Bulgaria says killed five Israelis and a bus driver in Burgas in 2012.
In the United Kingdom, the Terrorism Act 2000 gives the Home Secretary the power to designate an organization as a terrorist entity if it is “concerned in terrorism.” However, despite Hezbollah’s complicity in terrorist operations worldwide, only the group’s “military wing” has been proscribed since 2008.
Let’s be clear: The distinction between Hezbollah’s so-called “military” and “political” wings is entirely fictional. It has been mocked by the group’s leadership, and the terrorist organization has repeatedly rejected the notion that there are two distinct entities. To them, their members are all Hezbollah.
An early Hezbollah document said: “Our military apparatus is not separate from our overall social fabric. Each of us is a fighting soldier.” In 2002, Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah Sheikh Naim Qassem observed: “Hezbollah has one single leadership. … It manages the political activity, the jihad activity, the cultural and the social activities … we have one leadership, with one administration.”
A decade later, the group was saying the same thing.
In 2013, Hezbollah’s political affairs official Ammar Moussawi said: “Everyone is aware of the fact that Hezbollah is one body. … Its military and political wings are unified.” The sentiment was echoed by Nasrallah: “However, jokingly I will say — though I disagree on such separation or division — that I suggest that our ministers in the upcoming Lebanese government be from the military wing of Hezbollah!”
For many years, politicians from across the aisle have called on the UK government to proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety. There is no good and bad Hezbollah. There’s only Hezbollah, a vicious terrorist organization. Home Secretary Sajid Javid deserves credit for finally taking the terror group on.
The writer is a senior fellow at The Israel Project.