From the Hesitating On the Moral Precipice Department. From Lebanonwire, with thanks to RB:
European legislators on Thursday branded the radical Lebanese Hizbollah group a “terrorist” organization and urged EU governments to place the group on their terrorist blacklists, as the bloc did with the Palestinian Hamas group in 2003.
“[EU] Parliament considers that clear evidence exists of terrorist activities by Hizbollah. The [EU] Council should take all necessary steps to curtail them,” legislators said in a non-binding resolution adopted during a session in Strasburg, France on Thursday. EU lawmakers also called on Syria to withdraw its troops and intelligence services from Lebanon.
EU countries are under pressure from the US administration and Israel to add the Iranian-backed Hizbollah organization to its list of outlawed terrorist organizations, obliging member states to seize its assets and take action against its members.
So far, France, Spain, and Britain have been reluctant to include Hizbollah on the list, fearing that such a move would further damage the prospects for Middle East peace talks….
Meanwhile, more mixed signals on another front:
In related news, Washington has refuted a story in the New York Times earlier this week, according to which the US was softening its stance towards Hizbollah and might be ready to recognize it as a legitimate political party in Lebanon. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday that the US stance towards Hizbollah had not changed and that the administration of US President George Bush would accept a political role for Hizbollah only if it disarmed. Rice said that did not reflect a shift in Washington’s stance, but it did reflect recognition of the political clout of the militant Shi”ite Muslim organization in Lebanon.
In remarks to reporters, Rice carefully avoided the stock US phrase that Hizbollah is a terrorist organization. Her statements come two days after Hizbollah showed its political power by drawing hundreds of thousands of people to central Beirut for a pro-Syrian rally to counter the effect of two weeks of anti-Syrian rallies following the 14 February assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri….
Two days ago, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the international community to understand that Hizbollah was a force to be reckoned with in implementing the UN Security Council resolution calling for the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon and the disarming of all militia groups. “[W]e need to recognize that they are a force in society that one will have to factor in as we implement the resolution,” Annan said.
Yeah, Hitler was a force in society too. I know Annan is long gone, and now it looks as if Rice is on the verge of losing her mind as well. Don’t they see at State how this kind of thing worked out with Arafat? Do we really want to usher in another endless cycle of conflict in Lebanon? If the Bush Administration really understood the jihad ideology, they would never consider negotiating with Hizballah, even if it disarms — after all, this would still be an organization committed to agreeing to a truce only to gather strength to fight more effectively in the future (as per traditional Islamic law). But nary a soul in Washington, on either side of the aisle, seems to have a clue.