Bankrupting the World's Most Dangerous Charity
It's time to put Hezbollah out of business.
BY RON PROSOR
Six months after the smoke cleared from the bus bombing in Burgas, the deadliest terror attack on European soil since 2005, the Bulgarian authorities bravely identified the Hezbollah terrorist organization as the culprit. In response, the United States has called on the international community to take "proactive" and "immediate action to crack down on Hezbollah."
While most of the world suspected Hezbollah's involvement in the Burgas bombing from the start, the Shiite militant group continues to remain conspicuously absent from the European Union's list of recognized terror organizations. Not since Napoleon invaded Russia has the European continent seen such an astonishing lack of foresight.
Over the past 30 years, Hezbollah has murdered scores of men, women, and children with the blessing of its patron saint, Iran. Its agents have carried out terrorist attacks on all five continents, wreaking havoc everywhere from Kenya to Argentina to Greece to Thailand. U.S. servicemen have also figured prominently in Hezbollah's crosshairs, including the 1983 bombing of a U.S. marine barracks in Lebanon, which left 241 Americans dead.
Astonishingly, despite all evidence to the contrary, the EU continues to treat Hezbollah as a charitable organization -- on par with groups like Oxfam and the Red Cross. This designation greatly hinders international efforts to counter Hezbollah's terrorist activities and provides the organization with a veritable washing machine to launder its drug profits from around the world.
Some European lawmakers continue to argue that Hezbollah is primarily a social-services organization because it spends money on ordinary Lebanese citizens. This is like calling al Qaeda an urban-planning organization because of its desire to level tall buildings. Hezbollah uses its funds to purchase Iranian weaponry and transform the Lebanese state into an outpost for terror. Hezbollah's idea of investing in the next generation is to acquire 50,000 missiles -- more than many NATO members -- and stockpile them in the immediate vicinity of schools and playgrounds. It doesn't take a Nobel Peace Prize laureate to realize that this isn't a selfless humanitarian organization.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently claimed that a large, private, and independent army is necessary to defend Lebanon against Israel. On the streets of Homs, Aleppo, and Damascus, however, we see that this army is far more preoccupied with butchering its Arab brothers and sisters in Syria. Hezbollah commanders have advised the Syrian military on how to slaughter civilians more effectively -- providing arms, training, and logistical support for tens of thousands of Bashar al-Assad's men.
Hezbollah proudly serves as an Iranian proxy, helping to prop up the brutal Assad regime. Both Nasrallah and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sit on Assad's advisory council, which supplies guidance on how best to crack down on dissidents. Together, these men form a trio of terror that threatens thousands of innocent people around the world.
The evidence is overwhelming that those who differentiate between Hezbollah's military and political wings are guilty of propagating a false dichotomy. This organization's sole purpose is to commit terrorist acts both inside and outside the Middle East.
How many more lives must be lost before the EU finally takes a stand? Nasrallah himself has claimed that a blacklist by the EU would "dry up" Hezbollah's primary source of income and definitively "end [its] moral, political and material support." The EU should be running to add Hezbollah to its list of terror organizations, but instead it's dragging its feet.
The recent attack in Bulgaria is a chilling reminder that the clock is ticking. Every day that passes before the EU takes firm and decisive action against Hezbollah's activities on its soil is another day that civilians across the globe are being put at risk -- from families on vacation to peacekeepers sleeping in their barracks.
The voices of the victims of terror call on us to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are denied the means to inflict more harm. One can only hope that the EU will finally find the moral courage to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization -- and seize the opportunity to bankrupt the world's most dangerous "charity."