Last week, the UK designated both the military and political wings of Hezbollah as terrorist groups, joining the US, Canada, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and Israel in recognising that there is no distinction between the two wings; something that even Hezbollah admits.
UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilize the fragile situation in the Middle East, and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to prescribe the group in its entirety.”
There is no denying that Hezbollah should have been designated as a terror group a long time ago, after all, it has been involved in terrorism since the 1983 bombing of the US marine barracks in Lebanon. Since then it has been involved in the 1984 US Embassy annex bombing in Beirut, the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, the 9/11 attacks in the US, a 2009 plot in Egypt, a 2012 bus bombing in Bulgaria, and many more besides. But we must ask at whose direction were these plots carried out?
The answer to that is the Iranian Regime, specifically it Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which spends billions of dollars every year to prop up the terror group in order to use them to achieve Iran’s ideological and political objectives.
The UK’s decision to list Hezbollah as a terrorist group is a huge step towards peace and stability in the Middle East, but a more effective policy would put pressure on the Iranian Regime and weaken them as well because this would cut off the flow of funds to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah admitted in 2016, when the US levied sanctions against them, that all of Hezbollah’s budget from wages of fighters to food to weapons comes from Iran, so Hezbollah would “not be affected”.
Therefore, the most effective policy to counter Hezbollah would be to impose financial sanctions on Iran, but the UK seems unwilling to do that and is actively appeasing the Iranian Regime by maintaining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) through a payment channel designed to help Iran evade US sanctions.
Rafizadeh wrote: “If the UK and other European countries join the US in putting tangible pressure on the Iranian regime, Tehran will find it extremely difficult to continue sponsoring, arming and financing Hezbollah. In order to pressure Hezbollah, the Iranian regime must be weakened. As long as Iran enjoys high revenues and trade on the global stage, Hezbollah will continue to expand its power and terror activities.”