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Britain, and the EU, Must End the Appeasement of Hizballah

Jan. 25 2018

Today the British parliament debates a motion to do away with the fictitious distinction, also embraced by the EU, between Hizballah’s “military wing” and its “political wing” and a concomitant law that, while sanctioning the former, allows the latter to operate freely. Although he is not hopeful, Richard Kemp urges both London and Brussels to change course and outlaw Hizballah outright:

Hizballah, a creation of Iran, emerged onto the world stage in Beirut in 1983, killing 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French paratroopers in the most devastating terrorist attack before 9/11. Since then it has attacked in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East and planned strikes from Cyprus to Singapore. Last summer, U.S. authorities charged two Hizballah terrorists with planning attacks in New York and Panama. Hizballah is fighting to keep Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria and maintains an arsenal of 100,000 rockets in Lebanon, pointed at Israel.

During the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hizballah was involved in Iranian-directed bombings that killed well over 1,000 British and U.S. servicemen. Despite this, in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, Hizballah can freely raise funds for terrorism. Its supporters flaunt their assault-rifle emblazoned flags on [British] streets. They maintain sleeper cells in [the UK]: planning, preparing, and lying in wait for orders to attack.

When I worked for [Britain’s] Joint Intelligence Committee I monitored Hizballah’s activities. I knew there was no division into peaceful and warlike elements. . . . In 2009, its deputy secretary-general confirmed that it was one unified organization. British intelligence knows this, and so do the prime minister and home secretary. So why maintain this dangerous fiction? The Foreign Office deludes itself that by appeasing Hizballah it can influence the organization and that it will do its killing elsewhere. Instead this gives legitimacy to Hizballah. . . .

What would EU-wide proscription do to Hizballah? We know the answer from the words of its secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah: “The sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political, and material support will be destroyed.”

Read more at Colonel Richard Kemp

More about: European Union, Hizballah, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, United Kingdom

How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen