This week, the parliament of Bahrain voted unanimously to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization. “It is time we join the world in outlawing this group, which has terrorized the region enough and has been instrumental in spreading evil among us,” said lawmaker Shaikh Jassim Al Saeedi, a sponsor of the bill. It is high time Europeans, too, got on board and faced the truth about Hezbollah.
The vote in Bahrain is an example of a confluence of interest between the United States, Israel, and Arabs. At issue is the threat of Hezbollah terrorism and its state sponsor Iran, which is regarded with growing suspicion and disapproval among its Middle Eastern neighbors.
According to a newly released poll by Zogby Research Services, conducted among 20,000 citizens in 17 Arab countries and three other non-Arab Muslim countries (Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan), views of Iran have dropped over the past six years from 75 percent approval to a mere 25 percent today.
The U.S. State Department designates Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The government of Bahrain, for its part, has been at odds with Hezbollah since 2011, when Hezbollah attempted to topple the ruling family of the country. The Bahraini legislation cites Hezbollah’s attempts to destabilize the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council and accuses Hezbollah of murdering innocent Syrians in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Even the Europeans may be inching closer to dealing with Hezbollah, which fundraises within Europe largely with impunity among its sizable immigrant populations. Last week in Cyprus, a court found Hezbollah operative Hassam Taleb Yaacoub guilty of a terrorist plot to attack Israeli tourists on the island. The week before, a Bulgarian investigation into a terrorist attack in Bulgaria that killed six Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian determined that Hezbollah was responsible. Hezbollah is spilling innocent blood within the EU.
The European Union, however, has been dragging its feet on listing Hezbollah a terrorist organization—so it is up to individual countries to take legal action.
Meanwhile, the only country in Europe that has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization is the Netherlands, which has seen its share of Muslim terrorism and acted accordingly in a clear-eyed manner to outlaw Hezbollah’s presence.
Britain has targeted the military arm of Hezbollah, but stopped short of issuing a designation of its social and political arm as well. As was the case with the Irish Republican Army, a more familiar terrorist group for the British, this is a distinction without meaning.
Money given to the political side of such a group ends up funding the terrorist plots of its militants. Exposing Hezbollah in Europe could help shut down the lifeblood of its fundraising operations there. And it could save many innocent lives.