What could go wrong? Eurabia Update: “Despite Alarm by U.S., Europe Lets Hezbollah Operate Openly,” by Nicholas Kulish for the New York Times, August 15 (thanks to Lachlan):
BERLIN “” As American officials sound the alarm over what they call a resurgent threat from the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, thousands of its members and supporters operate with few restrictions in Europe, raising money that is funneled to the group”s leadership in Lebanon.
Israeli and American officials have blamed Hezbollah and Iran for last month’s deadly Bulgarian bus bombing.
Washington and Jerusalem insist that Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terrorist organization with bloody hands, and that it is working closely with Tehran to train, arm and finance the Syrian military”s lethal repression of the uprising there. Yet, the European Union continues to treat it foremost as a Lebanese political and social movement.
As Israel heightens fears of a pre-emptive strike on Iran”s nuclear sites, intelligence analysts warn that Iran and Hezbollah would respond with attacks of their own on targets abroad. Israeli and American officials have attributed the Bulgarian bus bombing last month that killed six people, including five Israeli tourists, to Hezbollah and Iran, saying it was part of a clandestine offensive that has included plots in Thailand, India, Cyprus and elsewhere.
While the group is believed to operate all over the Continent, Germany is a center of activity, with 950 members and supporters last year, up from 900 in 2010, Germany”s domestic intelligence agency said in its annual threat report. On Saturday, Hezbollah supporters and others will march here for the annual Jerusalem Day event, a protest against Israeli control of that city. Organizers told the Berlin police that the event would attract 1,000 marchers, and that two counterdemonstrations were also likely.
Hezbollah has maintained a low profile in Europe since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, quietly holding meetings and raising money that goes to Lebanon, where officials use it for an array of activities “” building schools and clinics, delivering social services and, Western intelligence agencies say, carrying out terrorist attacks.
European security services keep tabs on the group”s political supporters, but experts say they are ineffective when it comes to tracking the sleeper cells that pose the most danger. “They have real, trained operatives in Europe that have not been used in a long time, but if they wanted them to become active, they could,” said Alexander Ritzmann, a policy adviser at the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels, who has testified before Congress on Hezbollah.
The European Union”s unwillingness to place the group on its list of terrorist organizations is also complicating the West”s efforts to deal with the Bulgarian bus bombing and the Syrian conflict. The week after the attack in Bulgaria, Israel”s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, traveled to Brussels for a regular meeting with European officials, where he called for the European Union to include Hezbollah on the list. But his pleas fell on deaf ears.
“There is no consensus among the E.U. member states for putting Hezbollah in the terrorist-related list of the organizations,” Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the foreign minister of Cyprus, which holds the European Union”s rotating presidency, said at the time. “Should there be tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism, the E.U. would consider listing the organization.”…
The Netherlands declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 2004, saying that it did not distinguish between the group”s political and terrorist wings. Britain distinguishes between the parts, listing only the militant wing….
That’s like considering the National Socialists benign because they ran soup kitchens.