A recent report coming out of Bulgaria has —as expected— confirmed Hezbollah’s role in orchestrating the deadly bus bombings against innocent Israeli tourists looking to catch some R&R in the resort town of Burgas. After more than six months of investigations, Bulgarian interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has finally announced,conclusively, that the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization was responsible for the bombing which left five Israeli tourists dead, including their Bulgarian bus driver and the bomber himself. Beyond that, the EU is facing increasing pressure towards classifying the entire Hezbollah organization as a terrorist entity, following a historical reluctance with regards to determining their so-called “social” and “political” branches as indirectly complicit in the murder of civilians in Israel and abroad.
Hezbollah, which can be directly translated as “the Party of Allah”, first emerged as a response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 after the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war. Besides claiming to be a legitimate “resistance” organization on the behalf of all Lebanese citizens, the brutal group unequivocally directed attacks on Lebanese Sunnis and Maronite Christians throughout the Civil War. Moreover, Hezbollah also directed attacks on Western targets, including against stationed French and U.S peacekeepers in the infamous Beirut barrack bombings of 1983, which left 241 servicemen dead.
Ultimately becoming the masters of tactical suicide attacks and targeted assassinations, Hezbollah continued with impunity after the Taif agreement in 1990, procuring arms from Iran and Syria despite calls for disarmament in the aftermath of the Lebanese Civil War. Hezbollah continued its heinous acts with attacks on innocent civilians throughout much of the 1990s and early 2000s, including the bombings of an Argentinian Jewish community center in 1992, and the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2005 in the aftermath of the Cedar Revolution—an event that effectively deposed Lebanon of Syrian influence.
Having emerged as a “political” organization apparently attuned to the interests of the Lebanese state, Hezbollah continues to undertake a massive Western-focused PR campaign aimed at disguising their true intentions under the veil of “resistance”, which remains a euphemism for supporting Iranian interests in against the Jewish state. Largely drawing inspiration from Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979, Hezbollah “spiritual” leader Hassan Nasrallah has often adopted similar anti-Semitic rhetoric commonly used by Iranian leaders today. Prominent journalists like The Atlantic staff writer Jeffery Goldberg and scholar Robert Wistrich have noted Hezbollah’s distinct blend of classical Islamic anti-Judaism, Arab nationalist Anti-Zionism and some old-school Western conspiracy about Jewish world domination.
To show just how absurd Hezbollah’s anti-Semitic ideology really is one mustn’t look to far; in 1996 the terrorist organization actually called for a boycott on the movie ‘Independence Day’ in Lebanon on the basis that it was “propaganda for the so-called genius of the Jews and their alleged concern for humanity”. This was due to the presence of a Jewish scientist played by actor Jeff Goldblum who happens to, along with actor Will Smith, fictionally save the world from evil aliens.
With the onset of Syria’s civil war, and the potential threat of a future Sunni-dominated regime, Hezbollah seems to be increasingly worried about losing significant amounts of funding—and more importantly, a key access root for Iranian weapons. Since the end of the Lebanese Civil War, Hezbollah has been continually accused of lacking a raison d’être. Hezbollah’s usual response has been to justify its existence through the “buying” of Shiite Lebanese votes with social services under the façade of Iranian “kindness” or using the occupied Sheeba farms in the Golan Heights as a pittance for their “resistance” activities despite Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.
That being said, the importance of brandishing Hezbollah lies exactly in what was just mentioned—funding. If the EU does manage to scrape together a little bit of courage with regards to the ‘FULL’ terrorist label, Hezbollah will be ostensibly weakened due to diminishing Western funding from individual Europeans sympathetic to the goals of this terrorist organization. It is doubtful for one to believe that Hezbollah keeps strict budgetary divisions between their social and terrorist or “military” wings, which remains a common excuse used by states like France against labeling the entire organization as a terrorist entity. More importantly, the effects of the terrorist label on Hezbollah would prompt European states to seize all assets possessed by the terrorist organization on European soil. Now let’s see if the EU can actually live up to its ideals.
– Cody Levine
(Featured photo: looking4poetry, Creative Commons, Flickr)