In the wake of a move last Wednesday by Gulf states declaring the Iran-proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon a terrorist organization, members of Congress called on the European Union (EU) on Thursday to do likewise and designate all branches of Hezbollah as a terror group.
The call was made by US Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Grace Meng (D-NY), in the form a letter sent to EU Ambassador to the US David O'Sullivan which can be viewed in full here.
In their letter, Roskam and Meng noted that the EU previously labeled Hezbollah's military arm as a terrorist organization, but did not do likewise with the political wing of the Shi'ite terror movement that holds great sway over Lebanon.
They noted that in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) designation last week, the Gulf states made no distinction between the military and political arms of Hezbollah, blacklisting the entire organization.
"While the 2013 EU designation of Hezbollah’s military wing was a step in the right direction, distinguishing between Hezbollah’s military and political arms is a distinction without a difference,” wrote the lawmakers.
"Hezbollah can easily transfer money within its organization, rendering EU attempts to effectively sanction its terrorist activities meaningless. The entire organization is implicated in Hezbollah’s nefarious activities.”
Noting on the wider scope of the war on terror, they wrote, "the European Union is a vital partner to the United States in addressing global issues. Given our collective importance to the global financial system, a unified approach to countering terrorist financing would be a formidable obstacle for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah."
"We urge the European Union to immediately designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and work to oppose their global terrorist ambitions," concluded Meng and Roskam.
Just prior to the GCC designation, Saudi Arabia halted a $3 billion program funding equipment for Lebanese security forces and urged Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon in response to "hostile" positions linked to Hezbollah.
The GCC states – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, and Oman – noted in making the terrorist designation that they did so because Hezbollah was recruiting terrorists and smuggling weapons within their borders.
In an ironic development, Israeli Arab MKs from the Joint List party issued statements condemning the terror designation and supporting Hezbollah on Monday. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded by mocking the Arab MKs, noting that Hezbollah's missiles do not distinguish between Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens.