Why is Iran salty over the UK banning Hezbollah as terrorists? طلحة عبد الرزاق: لماذا إيران منزعجة جداً من بريطانيا لوضعها حزب الله بجناحيه على قائمة الإرهاب
Tallha Abdulrazaq/The Arab Weekly/March 10/19
Why is Iran salty over the UK banning Hezbollah as terrorists?
Britain is right to be concerned about a terrorist organisation controlling state resources.
As if it was not already obvious enough, Iran has made it even clearer that the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah is its favoured child in the Middle East.
Tehran came out swinging against the United Kingdom, branding the British government as being “irresponsible” for blacklisting the entirety of Hezbollah as terrorists.
Until then, only the military wing of the group was listed as a terrorist organisation but it is now a criminal offence in the United Kingdom to be a member of or invite support for Hezbollah at any level.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid was absolutely correct when he said the distinction between Hezbollah’s political and military wings was blurred to the point it couldn’t be told where one started and the other ended.
Bahram Ghasemi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, declared Britain’s decision was a “wrong move” and said Hezbollah “defends the territorial integrity of Lebanon and fights terrorism.”
Anyone who has been a victim of Hezbollah’s rabidly sectarian violence would laugh at that statement were it not for the fact that the person has likely lost family members, loved ones and even freedom because of Hezbollah’s actions and its loyal service to the fanatical Iranian regime rather than showing loyalty to even the concept of Lebanese sovereignty.
Hezbollah has been used by Tehran to not only conduct brutal sectarian massacres, particularly in Syria, but it has trained offshoot organisations in Iraq and Yemen that have perpetrated some of the worst and most savage sectarian abuses in memory.
Britain’s move is in line with others around the world. The United States has recognised Hezbollah as a terrorist group since 1997 and the Arab countries of the wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council blacklisted the group in 2016. This is no surprise considering Hezbollah’s active involvement in the laughter of the Syrian people simply for entertaining the idea of allowing someone other than Bashar Assad to lead them on the world stage, heaven forbid.
For such a “religious” organisation, Hezbollah is also actively involved in the smuggling and trafficking of illicit contraband, including narcotics, around the world. In 2017, Politico exposed the former US administration of Barack Obama for having hushed up and then-mothballed a Drug Enforcement Agency operation targeting Hezbollah drug traffickers.
Hezbollah has a drug pipeline extending from Afghanistan into the Middle East and beyond onto the shores of West Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean to Latin America. Hezbollah does not like to play with the little stuff either, preferring to deal with hard-core, community- and home-destroying substances such as cocaine from some of the most brutal drug lords in South America.
Obama hushed this up to make sure the Iranians would not walk away from the disastrous nuclear deal the Trump administration sagaciously walked away from.
Politically, Hezbollah controls ministries in the Lebanese government with the ability to access state budgets for its own illicit ends, just as Iran controls Iraqi ministries through its proxies there.
Britain is right to be concerned about a terrorist organisation controlling state resources, yet the pro-Iran lobby in the United Kingdom has been in overdrive publishing article after article to try to change the government’s mind.
The pro-Iran lobby and their activists are right to be concerned because the next time they turn up to a pro-Palestinian event to hijack the cause, they cannot hold Hezbollah flags aloft as “banners of resistance” like they normally do. If they make that foolish mistake, they may find themselves prosecuted for supporting a proscribed group.
That would be the least they deserve for supporting an organisation that has slaughtered its way to power for decades while shamelessly serving the agenda of a foreign master at the expense of the people of the region.
*Tallha Abdulrazaq is a researcher at the University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute in England.