Though sober voices in Europe choose to deny this enlargement of the Hezbollah terror footprint, people closer to the action know better. As we noted here, the parliament of Bahrain, for instance, decided two months ago
to label the Lebanese militia a terrorist organization, the Lebanon-based news outlet Now Lebanon reported. Tensions have been high since Bahrain accused Hezbollah of seeking to overthrow its government in 2011 [“26-Mar-13: Hezbollah is declared “terrorist group” by Bahrain’s parliament“]
Also in March, a criminal court in Cyprus convicted a Hezbollah man on terrorism charges [“21-Mar-13: First conviction of Hezbollah terrorist in a European court”].
And last week, the editorial writers at (wait for this) the Saudi Gazette, said Hezbollah needs to be seen for the ruthless terrorist organization that it really is which we think wraps things up quite accurately.
But, sadly, not for the Europeans. A few days ago
A British request to blacklist the armed wing of Hezbollah ran into opposition in the European Union on Tuesday, with several governments expressing concern that such a move would increase instability in the Middle East [Reuters].
It goes on to say that “several EU governments questioned whether there was sufficient evidence to link Hezbollah to the attack in Bulgaria” and that there were
“concerns that such a move would complicate the EU’s contacts with Lebanon, where Hezbollah is part of the coalition government, and could increase turmoil in a country already suffering a spillover of civil war from Syria… More discussions on the issue will be held in Brussels in the next two weeks, with a decision possibly taken by the end of the month, diplomats said.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Emma Bonino says her government needs more evidence from Bulgaria. Also, that it is concerned for “the fragility of Lebanon”, which may surprise some Italians. According to Herb Keinon at the Jerusalem Post, Israeli officials said last week that the Irish are playing a dominant role in the effort to protect Hezbollah. Ireland currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency. In last Tuesday’s working group discussion, the Irish pro-Hezbollah position was backed by Sweden and Finland.
Note that France, which has for years been one of the group covering Hezbollah’s back in these efforts to outlaw the terrorists, has lately stopped objecting to blacklisting them. The French have said (presumably because they see the reports that many others do, including the Lebanese report we quoted above) that thousands of Hezbollah men are fighting alongside the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They are up to their arm-pits in gore and murder.
As for the Bulgarians, Jonathan Tobin writing in Commentary Magazine a few days ago [“Hezbollah’s European Appeasers”], says
The new Bulgarian government, which is led by the country’s former Communist party, is now claiming they are no longer certain that Hezbollah was responsible for the Burgas attack. It should be noted that the Bulgarian switch is not the result of the emergence of new evidence about the attack or even a change of heart by Hezbollah, whose terrorist cadres are now fighting in Syria to try and save the faltering Bashar Assad regime, another Iranian ally. There is no more doubt today that Burgas was the work of Hezbollah than there was in the days after the attack when the identities of the terrorists were revealed. It is simply the result of a political party coming to power that is hostile to the United States and friendlier to Russia and therefore determined to undermine any effort to forge a united European response to Middle East-based Islamist terror.
Tobin makes articulately a point that we wish we had written:
International unity on terrorism is illusory. The willingness of some Europeans, whether acting out of sympathy for the Islamists or antipathy for Israel and the Untied States, to treat Hezbollah terrorists as somehow belonging to a different, less awful category of criminal than those who might primarily target other Westerners is a victory for the Islamists… The effort to appease Hezbollah is not only a sign of Russian influence but also a signal to Iran that many in Europe are untroubled by its terrorist campaign against Israel. That alone is worrisome. But, as history teaches us, the costs of appeasement are far-reaching. Those who are untroubled by Hezbollah’s murders of Jews in Bulgaria or Cyprus may soon find that the vipers they seek to ignore will one day bite them too.
Or to paraphrase Chamberlain’s successor as prime minister, Winston Churchill: Europe has a choice between terrorism and shame. Choosing shame, it is likely to get terrorism too.