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February 17, 2005
EU Won't Recognize Hezbollah As Terrorist Group

The New York Times reports today that the European Union has resisted the Bush administration's efforts to get long-time terror group Hezbollah recognized as such in order to cut off its overseas funding. In a further indication of EU weakness on confronting terror, so-called "Old Europe" nations, especially France, want to open dialogue with the masters of Iranian terror efforts in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East:

As rising instability in Lebanon increases tensions in the Middle East, the Bush administration is arguing with European governments over whether they should designate the Lebanon-based Shiite group Hezbollah a terrorist organization, American and European officials say.

The United States is already stepping up pressure on Iran and Syria, Hezbollah's main sponsors. The American rift with Syria deepened this week, with suspicions that Syria might have been behind the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister in Beirut on Monday. ...

In the past two weeks, the officials said, France has rebuffed appeals by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which would prevent it from raising money in Europe through charity groups. The United States has long called Hezbollah a terrorist organization, but the French, American and European officials said, have opposed doing so, and argue that making such a designation now would be unwise, given the new turbulence in Lebanon.

Israeli and American officials say that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has told them that he, too, regards Hezbollah as a destructive force in the Middle East, one determined to undermine peace talks by supporting militant groups that attack Israelis.

Now that should truly embarass EU officials, although the French appear impervious to shame after blatantly undermining the Iraqi sanctions regime while being the primary arguer for their continuation. When Mahmoud Abbas recognizes an Islamic terror group for what it is ahead of the French while Europe stands on the sidelines. we know that the leaders of the EU have truly lost their moral compass.

Look, this is really rather simple. Does Hezbollah spend its money on terror attacks targeting civilians? Everyone agrees they do. That should be the end of the debate, but instead, the French insist that since they also conduct charitable works and participate in local politics, they should be given a pass:

The Europeans are not solidly opposed to listing Hezbollah as a terrorist group, the officials said. The Netherlands, Italy and Poland support the Bush administration's view, several officials said, while Germany and Britain believe the issue is moot unless the French change their minds. One European diplomat said other countries were "hiding behind" France on the issue.

Hezbollah, which is based in the Bekaa region in Lebanon, gets much of its financial support from Syria and Iran, American officials say. But besides carrying out attacks on civilians and opposing Israel, Hezbollah also provides social services to thousands of Lebanese Shiites and has political representatives in Lebanon's Parliament.

I suspect the true reason for the reluctance comes not from the "delicate" nature of Lebanese politics, but from the relationship between Hezbollah and the Iranians. The EU has tried for the past two years to appease the Iranian mullahs into giving up their nuclear-weapons ambitions to little avail. They don't want to rock the boat now by attempting to starve out the mullahs' terror agent that conducts the proxy attacks against Israel that Iran cannot afford to do itself openly.

The Times article makes plain that several European nations would love to follow the Bush Administration's lead, but that France won't budge and without France, neither will Germany or Britain. With the EU-3 -- the same nations taking the lead on Iranian nukes -- firmly set in their appeasement strategy, Hezbollah can continue its terror attacks unimpeded by any coherent international opposition.

Remind me again how Europe is supposed to be such a vital partner in the war on terror ...

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 17, 2005 7:18 AM

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» France: I Wanna Talk About Me from DOUBL E TOOTHPICKS
France: Forget about Rafik Hariri! Let's talk about ME (and the U.N.)! The U.N. and France have done nothing substantive to help the Lebanese or end the GWOT. Now, they prove it. [Read More]

Tracked on February 17, 2005 8:15 AM

» Calling a duck a duck from Conservative Friends
So the EU refuse to call Hezbollah terrorists. What exactly do you call them, then? It's getting near time to just stop even trying to work with these morons. Let's just go do what we've got to do and deal with the French and Germans when it's all over. [Read More]

Tracked on February 17, 2005 10:32 AM

» France & Terrorism from Flopping Aces
Gotta hate the French, I really don't think there is anything good you can say about the French anymore, they are a waste and a joke of a government. [Read More]

Tracked on February 17, 2005 3:09 PM

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