The EU blacklisted Hezbollah’s military wing. Does it mean something?

Read few comments.

Questions:

1. What kind of impact, if any,  this decision may have on Hezbollah, but also on Lebanon and Syria, in your opinion?

2. I do not necessary want to stay in black and white categories, but is it a right or wrong decision by the EU?

Answers:

Jonathan SchanzerVice President of Research, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

1. I think the impact of this will be negligible. The EU will not have an easy time identifying individuals or assets associated with Hezbollah’s terrorist operations. This is primarily due to the fact that the EU does not have a significant counter-terrorism finance bureaucracy to accomplish this.

2. The decision by the EU perpetuates a false distinction. Hezbollah doesn’t have two separate arms. It operates as one in Lebanon, and it operates as one abroad. In my view, the decision to bifurcate the faction in the eyes of the law will only make Hezbollah more difficult to counter.

James DenselowWriter on Middle East politics and security issues

1. The decision is more symbolic than practical considering the separation between Hezbollah’s military and diplomatic wing but is a recognition of Europe’s anger at operations conducted on its soil and the decision by Hezbollah to go ‘all in’ in the Syria conflict.

As the UK Ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, tweeted soon after – this won’t have any direct consequence on EU members dealings with Lebanon.

2. Considering the diplomatic wiggle room that European diplomats still have in engaging in Lebanon it is hard to see whether this decision is of particular controversy beyond signalling anger at attacks linked to Hezbollah. The test of the policy will be in how the EU classifies and deals with the grey area between the movements fighter and its politicians.

Phillip SmythMiddle East Research Fellow

1. The EU’s decision will impact little in Lebanon or Syria.

2. It was right in terms of putting Hizballah on notice and restricting some of their activities in Europe. However, it was wrong in terms of creating a “Military wing”, which is essentially a fantasy organization created by policy makers to take half-measures and continue practicing fantasy policies.

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