Skip to main content

Hezbollah slams EU's blacklisting of its military arm

By Saad Abedine. Nick Paton Walsh and Joe Sterling, CNN
July 23, 2013 -- Updated 1008 GMT (1808 HKT)
Women hold Hezbollah flags and a picture of the movement's chief, Hassan Nasrallah, in Lebanon on May 25.
Women hold Hezbollah flags and a picture of the movement's chief, Hassan Nasrallah, in Lebanon on May 25.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hezbollah: The EU's decision was "written by American hands using Israeli ink"
  • The Lebanese Shiite group has been supporting the Syrian regime
  • A Syrian opposition group says praises the EU's decision but says it can go further
  • Kerry: The move will allow European agencies to crack down on Hezbollah's fundraising

(CNN) -- Hezbollah denounced the European Union's decision to list its military wing as a terrorist organization, calling the move "aggressive and imbalanced."

The Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite group is already viewed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel. In recent months, it has joined forces with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's ongoing civil war.

Hezbollah issued a statement Tuesday saying the EU's decision Monday was "written by American hands using Israeli ink" and that "all (that) was left for the Europeans to do was to sign the document and approve the legislation."

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he hoped that the European Union had read data and facts about Hezbollah more thoroughly before making the decision, the state-run National News Agency reported. The report did not specify what data about Hezbollah the prime minister was referring to.

Hezbollah leader acknowledges fighters' presence in Syria town

The EU move

The European Union agreed to target just the military component, a European diplomat told CNN. Critics of such an approach say designating part of an entity isn't effective or practical.

But Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's spokeswoman called the decision "correct and just," adding that it "puts an end to the wrong argument" that Hezbollah's military activities are absolved by the group's political status.

"Even if Hezbollah is a political party, that does not whitewash and make legitimate their terrorist activities," the spokeswoman said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the move "will have a significant impact on Hezbollah's ability to operate freely in Europe by enabling European law enforcement agencies to crack down on Hezbollah's fundraising, logistical activity and terrorist plotting."

"As Hezbollah has deepened its support for the brutal Assad regime and worked to expand its global reach through increased involvement in international criminal schemes and terrorist plots around the world, a growing number of governments are recognizing Hezbollah as the dangerous and destabilizing terrorist organization that it is," Kerry said.

The Syrian National Coalition, an affiliation of Syrian dissident groups, praised the EU's move -- but said the group could do more.

"We urge the European Union to extend their decision to include all of Hezbollah political officials who are part of the decision making" of the party's military wing, the SNC said in a statement Tuesday.

The SNC also called for "the trial of all of Hezbollah's officials for their crimes of terrorism committed against our Syrian people and on our soil."

Donilon: Hezbollah not a 'responsible political actor'

Hezbollah was formed after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 to go after the Palestine Liberation Organization. The group has been accused of high-profile terror attacks over the years.

Opinion: Time for G8 to make Hezbollah statement

"Hezbollah first gained notoriety in 1983 after it bombed the United States Embassy in Beirut -- an attack that killed 63 people," wrote Tom Donilon, President Barack Obama's former national security adviser, in a New York Times column this year.

"Shortly thereafter, Hezbollah bombed the American and French Marine Barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans and 58 French service members with one of the largest explosive devices ever detonated during a terrorist attack."

The group also conducted a series of kidnappings, airplane hijackings and bombings in the 1980s and 1990s, Donilon wrote.

He said the group has tried to portray itself as a political entity focused on social services and defending the country.

"But it is an illusion to speak of Hezbollah as a responsible political actor," Donilon said. "Hezbollah remains a terrorist organization and a destabilizing force across the Middle East."

CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0937 GMT (1737 HKT)
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0144 GMT (0944 HKT)
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT