As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeatedly made clear, it is a fiction to believe a difference exists between the “military” and “political” wings of the terrorist group Hezbollah.
“This is a unitarian entity. This is a terrorist organization,” he said. “It is underwritten by the Islamic Republic of Iran. And it in its entirety must be designated as a terrorist entity, and we should make sure that all of those involved and connected to Hezbollah should fall under sanctions.””
In the past several years, many nations in the international community, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Lithuania, Kosovo, Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay have recognized the whole of Hezbollah, and not just its military wing, as a terrorist organization.
Now another European country, Serbia, intends to join the growing list. As part of the historic agreement between Serbia and Kosovo to normalize economic ties, Serbia announced it will designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist entity. Kosovo did so in June. Unfortunately, other countries, as well as the European Union, have failed to do so, designating only Hezbollah’s military wing.
The United States welcomed the commitment by Serbia. Secretary of State Pompeo called it “another significant step limiting this Iranian-backed terrorist group’s ability to operate in Europe.”
Such limitation on what the U.S. State Department has called “Iran’s primary terrorist proxy” is needed, in light, for example, of the 2012 terrorist attack by Hezbollah in Bulgaria which killed six people, and a similar foiled plot in Cyprus the same year.
In addition, as the State Department’s most recent annual terrorism report noted, “As in past years, the Iranian government continued supporting terrorist plots to attack Iranian dissidents in several countries in continental Europe. In recent years, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Albania have all either arrested or expelled Iranian government officials implicated in various terrorist plots in their respective territories.”
Hailing Serbia’s decision, Secretary of State Pompeo said, “There is no doubt that the dominoes are falling on Hezbollah’s European operations.”
“The United States continues to call on the European Union and European nations to designate or ban Hezbollah in its entirety,” said Secretary Pompeo, “and recognize the reality that it is a terrorist organization and branch with no distinctions between its so-called ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings. We urge all countries in Europe and elsewhere to take whatever action they can to prevent Hezbollah operatives, recruiters and financiers from operation on their territories.”